Wednesday, September 15, 2010

NHL Slapshot | Review

Synopsis: Wii gamers and hockey fans alike, this review is for you. EA Sports has provided us with a review copy of the NHL Slapshot Bundle, which includes a hockey stick peripheral to shoot, pass, and check from the comfort of your living room, but without the missing teeth. Multiple game modes are available depending on what type of gamer you are with three different options available and a handful of mini games. The main gameplay modes available if you are looking for depth are season and Peewee to the Pros, season allows you to play through the hockey season as your favorite team where Peewee to the Pros allows you to create your own players and start in a neighborhood ice rink playing 3-on-3 and work your way up to the pros playing 5-on-5. This is EA’s first NHL release for the Wii console, so let’s take a look at how they did.

Praise: To preface, I am not one that big into sports games and definitely not into counting down the days for release, but there is one sport that each year I look forward to picking up and playing but somehow gets forgotten amidst the review rush and that is hockey. Well this year we have the opportunity to review, and though I am not a huge fan of gaming on the Wii, I was strangely surprised as to how engaging NHL Slapshot is once you start playing. Playing both game modes, I was more a fan of the normal season mode as I was able to change the player to move as opposed to only controlling the created hockey kid. The main feature from Peewee to the Pros that kept me coming back for more is building up your player as you see fit, and then being able to equip earned power ups to give yourself that edge over others on the ice. Graphics are a lot more than I had expected to be for a Wii title and the control with the hockey stick accessory are surprisingly forgiving and makes gameplay more fun than just playing with the remote and nunchuk.

Gripes: Where the game succeeds, it definitely has its downfalls, especially with the hockey stick peripheral. Though I did say it was forgiving and actually pretty fun to use, you pretty much have to use it standing in front of the TV, whereas playing with just the remote and nunchuk can still be done from the couch. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having to play standing in front of the TV, but I am the type of game that likes to play for about two or three hours at a time and when standing in one place for the time, it makes it hard to play for long periods of time. This is a realistic hockey game, which means realistic penalties, and with the amount of “M” rated games I play, let’s just say I spent a lot of time in the penalty box giving the opposing team power plays, lots of power plays, until I turned off the penalties before starting the next game.

Overall, NHL Slapshot is a lot of fun to play through whether you are playing Peewee to the Pros, the season play, or the mini games with a friend. Though when trying to take advantage of the full experience with the additional hockey stick controller, it may get tiresome after a couple of games, but it is extremely engaging, and easy to catch yourself doing slapshots and checks a lot harder than necessary just because of a little plastic controller in your hands and the big smile from ear to ear every time I laid someone out on the ice. As someone that is not a big sports gaming fan and still being able to appreciate playing this title, shows that EA Sports is trying to reach outside of the hardcore sports demographic and it looks like it worked, as it is as fun and it is strategic. gives NHL Slapshot an 9 out of 10.

NHL Slapshot is available now for the Nintendo Wii.

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