NHL Hitz 20-03
While we in Europe tend to be hooked on soccer, those living across the Atlantic ocean are more fond on hockey and one can see their point. Hockey is filled with action, has players fighting over a puck and tremendous fast gameplay.
NHL Hitz 20-03 is the latest game bringing the ruthless ice-skating game to our computers and it does that with a flair of violence and extreme speed.
While EA’s NHL 2003 is a minor update of last year’s version, Midway has made huge improvements on Hitz. You get a Franchise mode, Full seasons, tourney’s, etc. You can pick any team from the official NHL league and if you want, you can even create your own. When creating your own you can choose about anything going from jersey color, speed and shooting percentages, to even facial expressions.
The graphics are splendid. Facial animations are really good, I didn’t notice any slowdowns and everything has a teflon sheen like you would notice on a real court. The models are real to life and a nice feature is the fighting mode when 2 players get angry at each other. Here you go to a Tekken-like side view where you can beat the crap out of your opponent until one player’s energy returns to zero and both players have to leave the ice with a penalty.
Another graphical beauty is when your players are “on fire”. While attacking and defending, you gather some kind of “energy” and once you’ve got enough you can either put a full team “on fire” or just a single player. This way your players will get faster and more aggressive in their actions. To make sure everybody sees the difference, the players will get fire floating around them and I can tell you that this is really well-done.
The soundtrack is nice with accompanying music from Rob Zombie, Hoobastank and Incubus and the commentary is not too annoying.
Now we come to the part where things start being really important, the gameplay.
You choose a team, select 3 players and a keeper and you’re off for a game of action-packed and breath-taking hockey !
The AI of your team members and opponents is good. You won’t be swearing at your co-players because they are running around like chickens without a head but that also goes for your adversaries. They are good and won’t make it easy for you to score. Of course, that only adds to the joy of the game. Who would want a game that’s simple to win, right ?
The gameplay is pretty simple and that’s what makes this game enjoyable and adds to the speed. If you’ve got the puck, you can shoot, deke, shield or pass. When you don’t have it you can kick the hell out of your opponent to get it back. You don’t have a full team at your disposal but that adds to the overall playability as you get more room to maneuver and improves the dynamics of the game.
If all this wasn’t enough, you get a whole bunch of extra’s which you can unlock including items that improve your player’s statistics or even alligator heads for your custom made players, and of course there’s the pile of stats and info on all team members.
Anyway, I’m getting carried away here so let’s just say that NHL Hitz 20-03 is the best hockey game I’ve ever played and a must-have for anyone who is looking for a nice action sports game where you don’t have to think too much.