Sunday, September 13, 2009

NHL 10: An early review

NHL 2010 reviewTuesday is one of the biggest days on an NHL fan's calendar: the release of NHL 10, the latest version of EA Sports' NHL series.

It goes without saying that a blogger as important and popular as I am would be sent an advance reviewer's copy. I had a chance to give it a try over the weekend, and the results were mixed.

Bugs
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. I'm not sure if this game was rushed onto shelves without enough time for testing, but there are a ton of bugs that simply should have been caught.

  • Simming ahead several years in franchise mode can lead to unrealistic results. For example, I simmed ahead to 2011, and the game listed one of the teams as playing in "Phoenix".

  • In Front Office mode, the "fire general manager" option is permanently greyed out for the New York Rangers.

  • Somebody at EA needs to seriously prune the roster file to clear out guys who haven't even been in skates for years. This year's game still has guys like Jason Allison and Theo Fleury kicking around.

  • While the post-whistle scrums are a nice addition, they don't feel realistic because announcer Jim Hughson fails to break into an overwrought lecture about how terrible they are.

  • The financial AI is just terrible. Teams like Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia kept signing players to contracts that would clearly ruin their long-term salary cap situation.

  • AI-controlled teams occasionally make roster moves they'd never make in real life. For example, in one sim I noticed the Leafs had signed another team's RFA, which of course is ridiculous since Brian Burke hates when teams do that.

  • While experimenting with the GM mode, I attempted to trade a star player to Edmonton. The deal was accepted, but when I checked the Oilers roster immediately afterwards, the star player was there.
Cheats
What major video game release these days doesn't come with a few cheats and easter eggs? Sure enough, NHL 2010 has its share.

  • When you're prompted to enter your name on the opening screen, type in "Jim Balsillie" to unlock an extended slideshow of Gary Bettman giving you the finger.

  • If you manage to win the Stanley Cup, hit "exit" before the handshake line finishes. When you enter the off-season, the game's musical soundtrack will be replaced by the sound of Red Wings fans crying. (Note: there is apparently no undo for this feature.)

  • Enter your name as "Howard Berger" on the opening screen, and then sim a season. All 82 of your games will be scheduled during the month of November.

  • Inspired by the legendary NBA Jam series, NHL 10 includes a hilarious "tiny mode" in which all the regular players on a team are comically shrunk down to a fraction of their normal size. To enable this mode, go to the Team Select screen and choose "Montreal Canadiens".
New features
Now for the good stuff. As fans have come to expect, this year's version comes packed with new and enhanced features.
  • The much-hyped "first person fighting" mode is every bit as good as advertised. When you throw a perfectly timed uppercut that connects with your unsuspecting opponent's face, you can actually see the blood splatter onto the cab's dashboard.

  • The game includes an interesting new feature called "Ask Burkie". You can type in any hockey question, and a simulated Brian Burke will provide an answer. Unfortunately, due to an apparent programming error the screen lacks an "exit" button, and Burke just keeps talking and talking non-stop. Even removing the CD and unplugging the system doesn't help. I eventually had to burn my Xbox and bury the ashes in the backyard to get him to be quiet.

  • In a neat bit of crossover promotion, the game will check your hard drive for any Resident Evil saved game files. If it finds any, it will replace the final zombie boss with Chris Chelios.

  • The "Be A Player" mode is super realistic. In my first game against Toronto I lightly nudged one of the Leafs' skill players, and the game immediately cut to a full-motion video montage of my funeral.

  • The all new board play is great fun. You can get a puck to an open teammate by using the new "kick-pass" button. In addition, when controlling Martin Havlat you can also use the "kick-groin" button.

  • Players can now snatch a puck out of the air with their glove hand (note: feature does not apply to Andrew Raycroft).

  • Finally, the game features an intriguing new mode in which two teams can play each other up to seven consecutive times, with the first team to win four games advancing on to play a different team. As a Leaf fan I thought this was really unqiue and creative, and hope the real NHL implements something similar in the future.



If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:




65 comments:

  1. Found another bug: retired players don't always disappear from the game. In some cases they actually remain on free agent lists for an indeterminate amount of time, free to sign with any team. So far I've only noticed the bug with Neidermayer, Selanne, and some Swedish guy who wears #13.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Was hoping for the GM option where you can ask Bryan Murray before signing or drafting any player, if that's the player he wants.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Man that was hilarious. The Jim Balsillie crack was brilliant.

    When playing as Luke Schenn against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tyler Kennedy and Evgeni Malkin are game time scratches and can be found in a corner of the Penguins locker room curled up in balls and clutching their Stanley cup rings.

    ReplyDelete
  4. On the same lines as above:

    -There is no bodycheck option for Luke Schenn when playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. Opposing team players immediately curl up on the ice and cry when he is on the ice.

    NHL 10 is going to be awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  5. when playing as Jason Blake you automatically shot a weak wrister once you cross the blue line

    ReplyDelete
  6. This post was terrible. All of those cracks and not a single one calling Kyle Wellwood fat or a midget.

    Did you blow your stockpile of jokes on the podcast?

    ReplyDelete
  7. The best part about the end of summer is a recharged, refuelled, and re-inspired Down Goes goddamn Brown.

    'Ask Burkie' had me in stitches!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Every one was killer. The tiny player mode made me fall to the ground in laughter and re-open a scab on my knee. So, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. hahahah! Great post once again! I love the "7 consecutive games against the same team" one. I look forward to seeing this for myself!

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Dany Heatley mode: If you cause Heatley to retreat into his own end at any time during a game, he will be deleted from your team's roster and end up on a randomly-generated, non-Edmonton destination team."

    Good stuff; and I'm totally stealing Cheat #4 for Project C'est Something Nice.

    ReplyDelete
  11. when playing as Jason Blake you automatically shot a weak wrister once you cross the blue line

    I think I used that one last year.

    ReplyDelete
  12. CLASSIC!!! I always enjoy rips on Berger...

    Good thing you posted this now however, when it still matters

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nicely done, DGB. The Raycroft quip has to be my favourite.

    I'm getting my copy tonight. Can't wait.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hilarious! I should probably stop reading this blog at work, because DGB had me laughing so hard my boss came by to make sure I was OK.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This was gold. Even Habsfan93 would like this one.

    The Jim Hughson one was especially bang on.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Absolutely brilliant. Classic DGB.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I thought this review was very stupid,and narrow minded, not funny in the least.Oh yeah, I think the shallow leafs are going to lose again,as alway's.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Brilliant!

    Also, Kyle Wellwood has reportedly gotten into great shape for this year, down to 180 pounds.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yep, when I read it the first thing I thought was "narrow minded."

    I also enjoy using apostrophes when they aren't necessary.

    The Godfather was so boring, lol.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Funny as hell, Keep up the great writing. You do need some more Kyle Wellwood jokes though, I was needing my daily fix and I am now left wanting. One more bug I found, I entered the word Truculence and Mike Komisarek came along and shot my team captain.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Best hockey blog post evar!!1!

    Absolutely chock full of comedic gold.

    ReplyDelete
  22. There's is also a mode where if you beat a Blackhawk in a fight for the rest of the game he becomes Cam Russell. Also Ryan Hollweg gets suspended every few games regardless of whether or not he was actually playing.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Signing Kyle Wellwood puts your team over the cap. The cap of "team weight under 6 metric tonnes", that is.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Well just to let you know theoren fleury is doing a training camp(St-Louis). Maybe THATS the reason why he is still there!

    ReplyDelete
  25. If Leafs Sens meet in the playoffs, suddenly the screen changes to leafs in the next round.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great post. Raycroft's glove hand and "tiny mode" had me laughing out loud.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hahahahahha. This is beautiful.

    By the way, the Kyle Wellwood fat jokes apparently aren't applicable anymore. The announcers last night indicated that he weighed in at 181 this year.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is hilarious.

    Well thought out!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Tiny Mode becomes deactivates if Kyle Wellwood is on the roster for the Canadiens roster.

    ReplyDelete
  30. No, Wellwood is still tiny...just in a Danny DeVito kind of way.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great read.

    I also hear that if you play the season mode that Tampa ends the season with a completely different roster than they had at the start. And that if you play the GM mode as the Isles and somehow acquire a team of the top players, you still lose every game if you simulate them.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Sooo how long before Puck Daddy puts you on payroll?

    ReplyDelete
  33. You sir, are FREAKING BRILLIANT!

    I am still cracking up 10 minutes later!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Most entertaining article of the offseason. I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

    Awesome stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Wow...simply wow.

    Justin
    @hockeycardshow

    ReplyDelete
  36. Ok I just have to say I've read a few of your blogs, you are down right hilarious and brilliant.
    Legitimately. You're talented. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  37. found another one apparently in gm mode you can design a new arena for your team but if it gets denied you automatically move to Kansas City

    ReplyDelete
  38. Wellwood was on the Littlest Loser TV show...he's back in the thin....

    ReplyDelete
  39. In the Be a GM mode, if you enter Garth Snow as your name, you can only sign backup goalies to your team

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm a nucks fan and this had me laughing

    ReplyDelete
  41. Of course the feature that everyone wants to know about:

    Can you make Gretzky's head bleed?

    ReplyDelete
  42. The Jonathan Toews was by far the best

    ReplyDelete
  43. How Cito Gaston Got His Groove BackSeptember 18, 2009 at 10:16 AM

    You my friend, have cracked Deadspin with this brilliant post.

    http://deadspin.com/5362161/how-nhl-10-explains-the-real-thing

    Congrats.

    ReplyDelete
  44. If you try and sign Sean Avery to the stars, he complains about joining a team of "sloppy second hand players"

    ReplyDelete
  45. It's funny. You don't hear Red Wings fans crying that much. Must be because their team is always winning. Jealous any?

    ReplyDelete
  46. I shed some tears from laughing so hard.

    ReplyDelete
  47. The crying Red Wings fan soundtrack. The Habs "tiny mode". "...you can actually see the blood splatter onto the cab's dashboard." Brilliant, just brilliant. I don't even play video games, at all, but this had me crying-laughing.

    @ James: Perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  48. There was a lot of comedy in this post.

    ReplyDelete
  49. just so you know Allison and Theo Fleury are trying for roster spots, so its not outdated

    ReplyDelete
  50. There is no body check control option when playing as Dion Phaneuf. His body check control makes him jump and throw a flying elbow to the head of the opposing player.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Excellent!

    Also found on "Be A GM" :

    Easiest tasks:

    Have five mediocre seasons as a GM or as a coach, do not advance your team more than the first round and still get the confidence vote from the new owners. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Freaking hilarious, read this awhile ago, read it again as too damn funny.... Good job on ya mate! Half the comments damn funny too... Bloody brilliant all around!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  53. What's your gamertag?

    ReplyDelete