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ESPN NHL 2K5 Review - Xbox

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Ice hockey games have been a great genre since the days of "Ice Hockey" on the NES. We've seen some great games fly past including the EA Sports series every year, and classics like Wayne Gretzky's 3D Hockey which not only came out on the Nintendo 64, but also on Playstation, Sega Saturn, and even on Arcade machines around the world… but none of them can truly proudly claim themselves as the king of ice hockey games. ESPN NHL 2K5 is a new addition to the genre, and it's full of big hits, plenty of players and a whole heap more. Read on to find out why we’ve been playing ESPN NHL 2K5 non-stop for about four days straight.

Gameplay

This game is huge. There are so many different options at the menu screen that you won't know where to begin. Quick Game, four Party Modes, Exhibition, Season, Playoffs, Franchise, Tournament, Dream Team, Skills, and a variety of extras, not to forget the massive rosters and the Skybox with over 150 unlockables, you’ll be in Ice-Hockey heaven when you slide ESPN NHL 2K5 into your Xbox. The actual hockey handles quite similar to all the other NHL games, but there's just so much more to the game to be enjoyed that it really separates itself from other games of this generation.

In season mode, you can select between forty-two or eighty matches, which is just like the real NHL and will keep you playing the game for many, many hours. If playing hockey is not your thing, you can simply manage your team and trade players, enhancing your side to become undefeatable. ESPN NHL 2K5 allows you to watch players as they take on different skills to see what areas they are better in, and then you can rotate your players around in the rink to create the best layout possible. The options are endless in ESPN NHL 2K5, and it doesn’t stop there.

There's an all new fighting system which doesn't really rival fighting games that are out today, but makes for a more interesting fight if one breaks out. It's fully 3D, and you can do all sorts of moves from grappling to uppercuts. The fighting only lasts for about 20 seconds though, and it just cuts out and goes back to play if the fight isn’t over. If you manage to get knocked down or if you knock down your opponent, then it will go to a short variable cut scene of two grown men jumping on each other and rolling along the ice… but don’t worry, Ice Hockey is very masculine!

There are loads of mini-games in ESPN NHL 2K5 to keep you entertained for many hours. Mini-games include such enjoyable ones as "Breakout" where it's two on two, and you have to pass it to your partner while they are in a certain circle which then opens up the doors to score a goal, but wait, then ... (continued next page)