Thursday, September 27, 2007


NHL08 Looks Damn Impressive

Last night, I had the fortune of trying out EA Sports's NHL08 for the PS3 on a massive flat-screen HDTV.

Talk about impressive. Damn!! Nothing has ever come so close to mimicking the look, sound, and feel of an NHL game, as this game does.

Now, I've played a lot of NHL07, and it was far from the best in the series. Despite the addition of European leagues (a HUGE plus), the game had way too many setbacks.

  • All little guys were fast and all tall guys were slow. Yes, a 6'5" giant with 99 speed would always skate like he had a 50lbs weight on his back. The 5'5" guys were all little rockets.

  • The physics looked bad, especially for goaltenders. During slow motion replays, the goalies had the worst looking movements and the game just didn't look impressive for the year it was released.

  • Defensive AI = headless chickens. No matter what strategy you chose, you could be sure that your team would skate around and do very little defensively. It was frustrating trying to stop opposing attackers when you had to do everything yourself.

    NHL 2008 seems to have improved on the first two elements with a giant leap forward. The goaltending physics, even on slo-mo replays, were just spectacular and very real. Even Luongo's 'style' seems to have been imported into the game, and it really felt like it was him saving my bacon (I beat Calgary 2-1...neener neener).
    The control of goaltenders was the best it's ever been, and the players seemed to be more 'real' in their skating, forechecking, and puckhandling. Getting rid of the stupid speed burst, too, is something that is much welcomed.

    I have to say, in the 45 minutes that I got to spend with the game, that I was awestruck, impressed, and jealous all at the same time. NHL07, and many previous incarnations, didn't leave me all that impressed. Many of them felt like the same game with more cartoony bullshit and different rosters.

    NHL08, kids, is a giant leap forward in hockey gaming technology. Damn, if only I had $600 for a PS3 and the game. Maybe I should start taking donations.
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    Judging by the pic above - they've even got Brind'amours 1/2 tuck jersey thing right.
    If you have ~$370 to spend, get an Xbox 360 and NHL 08 instead. I know you were impressed by the PS3 version, but the 360 version runs twice as smooth -- 60 framed per second vs. 30.
    I've heard that the XBox360 version is superior, but I don't want to donate any money to the Microsoft Collective ..ugh

    Besides, I'm a Wii man :)
    Hah... if it makes you feel better, Microsoft technically loses money on every Xbox 360 they sell. You're hurting them if all you do is buy a 360 and NHL 08. ;-)
    I thought the most annoying flaw by far in NHL 2007 (at least with the original XBox version) was the terrible salary cap logic in franchise mode that left more than half of the league's top performers languishing in free agency from the third season on because their salary expectations put them beyond every team's budget.

    Has this been addressed at all? Or was it even a problem in the 360/PS3 versions?
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