Once the top of the hockey sim heap, the 2K series has morphed into a casual-friendly, arcade-style game. Hockey purists might not like the change, but lets face it, hardcore fans of anything only make up the minority and the rest are more casual. NHL 2K10 delivers that casual experience perfectly. High scoring. Fast pace. Easy to pick up and play. And most of all, fun. Find out all of the details in our full NHL 2K10 review.
- Publisher: 2K Sports
- Developer: Visual Concepts
- ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone
- Genre: Hockey
- Pros: Great for casual fans; high scoring; good Achievements; coverboy Ovechkin
- Cons: So-so graphics & sound; feature set hasn’t changed much
NHL 2K10 has all the features and modes we’ve come to expect from the series. Quick play, season, dynasty, playoffs, International teams – it is all here. Likewise, the pond hockey and mini rink modes are back and, like I said last year, as boring and unnecessary as ever. One nifty feature I quite like is that you can play the Winter Classic New Years Day game outdoors at Wrigley Field, which is pretty cool. Overall, though, the feature set hasn’t changed much from last year. Not a complaint, just something to think about.
Multiplayer has been given some much-need love. Local play is always great, but online has been beefed up. Essentially, when you start the game you’re already in “online mode”. With the press of a button at the matchup screen you can send out friend invites or jump right into a ranked online match. Or, of course, you can do nothing and just play the A.I. The way it is hard baked into every aspect of the game makes multiplayer quick and easy to get into whether you want a quick game or a full league.
Another aspect of the game that has definitely changed for the better is the menu system. We weren’t fans of 2K’s menu system the last few years. The overlapping menus and unintuitive menu navigation controls were awful. This year, the menu is a lot more straightforward and easy to use.
The gameplay, as mentioned above, is fast and easy to get into. It doesn’t require a hockey PhD just to figure out how to score like that other
NHL game, and instead offers high scoring, hard hitting hockey that is easy to pick up and play for novice and hardcore fans alike. The gameplay has seen some improvements over last year, most notably in the speed of the game and responsiveness of the controls. It just plain feels better to play than 2K9. There are still some things that could use tweaking, however. The A.I. is pretty poor as players are consistently out of position and defenders do a pretty poor job of actually defending. Quite often the defenders screen their own goalie so you can get a lot of easy slapshot goals from the blue line. There is also a sort of loose feeling with everything, like there is a split second delay between pressing a button and seeing the result. This makes passes and shots not behave like you expect them to. You do get used to it, but tightening up the controls and everything else would make a big difference.
In spite of these things, the game always manages to be fun, which is really the most important part. Is it as satisfying as a more sim-based game can be? No. But if you have a group of friends around and want a fun, easy game to play, NHL 2K10 is going to be a party favorite.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically, NHL 2K10 is an improvement over previous games in the series, but still lags behind other hockey titles. Everything definitely looks better – player models and faces in particular are a vast improvement – but the animation, ice, and arenas could use a little more work.
The sound’s only real claim to fame is that it doesn’t feature a punk/metal/rock soundtrack like so many other sports games do. The on-ice sound effects are fine, but the commentary is repetitive and kind of obnoxious.
All in all, NHL 2K10 is a definite improvement over 2K9 and a solid game of arcade-style hockey. For casual fans or people that just want an easy to pick up and play sports game, NHL 2K10 is a solid pick up. Are hockey purists going to love, it? Probably not, but personally, I like having the option between one die-hard sim series and one lighter arcade-style hockey series. 2K10 makes hockey accessible for the masses, and that is a good thing. Give it a rental at least, but if you know what you want going in (high scoring and accessibility), NHL 2K10 is a decent purchase.