Sunday, September 26, 2010

Game Review (NHL 11 - 360)

Graphics: 4.25/5 Pretty good looking game - with just a few flaws. First off, when playing with classic/action/overhead/etc. camera angles, at the bottom of the ice/screen, the game will lag - online or off. Not terribly, but it's an annoyance. Another thing I noticed was that the character models are terrible. Even the big-name players hardly resemble their real-life counterparts. The ice looks nice, especially with the scratches from skates and the reflections. For ONCE in an NHL game, the fans look actually very good, and interact. For instance, if up against the boards, they stand up and bang on them. If you're the home team and leading, they stand and wave towels.

Sound: 4.25/5 The commentary in this game is about average - you will hear the same lines ad nauseum before too long. However, all the sounds on the ice, as well as the soundtrack in this game, are pretty excellent.

Control: 3.75/5 For the love of god, this nearly ruins the game. The controls are extremely precise - which is great for experienced players - but if you're just starting out, expect a frustrating experience if you try using the right stick for shooting/deking and what-not.

Fun: 4.25/5 While this game is superbly frustrating much of the time, it is still fun - scoring a goal in a hockey game has never felt more rewarding - it's just that much work to get one in the net. Anyways - back to the frustrations. When playing online right out of the gate, you have a skater with an overall rating of about 70. While online, you will encounter a lot of douche bags, on different levels. You will have the douche bags that love to go offsides even though there's a warning on-screen, the douche bags that don't know how to pass, the douche bags that play as goalie but could't catch a snail, and, of course, the douche bags that play this game 24 hours a day, 8 days a week, and are impossible to defend against with their 100 skater rating and insta-goal capabilities. This, coupled with the fact that good team mates are hard to come by, make NHL 11 one of the more frustrating games I have ever played. Online or off, expect a lot of unfairness. If I've learned one thing from this game, it's that, it doesn't matter how great of an offense or defense you have - it's about how good your goalie is. You can have a 99 offense and 99 defense, but if your goalie is below a 75, say hello to a giant deficit by the end of the first. As I play this game more and more, I will either enjoy it more, or just want to get rid of it. As of now, it's a love/hate thing for me. Ah, yes, and I'd also like to point out that the difficulty levels aren't very well done. Pro is far too easy for the most part, while Superstar - or whatever the next difficulty level up is - is just too hard most of the time. This is more of a rant than a review, and I could go on for paragraphs, but I'll sum it up for the ninety-third time; NHL 11 is well worth playing for its My Player mode, as well as its Card Team dealie, if you can get past the many frustrations along the way.


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