At first it is probably best to get a feel of the game and what it is all about, so the quick game mode is perfect for this, to get an insight into the world of ice hockey. As you begin to play you will find that the graphics are smooth and impressive, giving a realistic feel to the game. The presentation of the game is also very slick and if you enjoy watching hockey on the TV, I think you will agree the ESPN commentator is very life like and accurate. Also all the players and characters in the game are all from the professional world of ice hockey. On many occasions the players are accompanied with their pictures and all of their stats, which are realistic and easy to read.
At first you may find the game play very fast and in some cases hard to master, but once you do learn and get to grips with all the moves and controls you will soon find yourself slamming the pucks into the goals with ease. As the game is very realistic all of the rules in the game are identical to those in real like ice hockey, if you don't know the rules of the real game don't worry because you will soon learn and pick them up the more you play the game. Once you feel you are getting to grips with the game its time to try one of the more detailed game options. From the games match options you can select Exhibition, Season or Playoff which are all great when you have got the hang of things, but if you haven't don't just expect to pick up the joypad and play, because these matches are much more difficult than the quick games. If you are an avid ice hockey fan the Franchise mode will be a must, you can assemble your own squad and lead your team on an epic journey through the NHL leagues. In this mode you are faced with an interesting array of statistics, draft picks and loads of other factors that will keep you amused for hours upon end.
As accurate and attractive as this game is, if you haven't been bitten by the ice hockey bug it is unlikely to win you over. There is however, huge pick up and play value, especially in multiplayer mode, but the bewildering array of options is probably too complex for the casual gamer. Overall this is a very in-depth ice hockey simulation that looks and sounds fantastic; it will win the heart of the ice hockey fan.
6.5 out of 10