Over the past decade, the NHL 2K series has been the standard for which all other hockey games have graded on. Unmatched in levels of computer intelligence and in-game depth, the NHL 2K series has consistently dominated EA’s NHL series, until 2007.
Playing more like last year’s game on a Starbucks high, NHL 2K7 for the Playstation 2, while still having a high level of gameplay and a ton of unlockable options, fails to deliver the presentation, graphics, and offensive showboating ability that makes NHL 07 so much fun to play.
That’s not to say that NHL 2K7 is a bad game however. Sticking with the same control scheme, while adding in a few features such as “The Enforcer,” which gives each team’s tough guy a chance to change the game with bone-jarring hits and “Pro Control,” which gives players even more options in defending against the oppositions best players, NHL 2K7’s gameplay is without a doubt its strong point.
Also, the presentation, despite not being anywhere near as solid as NHL 07, offers camera views of the on-ice action that can’t be found on any other hockey game available. While the camera views in the game add depth to the gameplay experience, the commentating however, performed by the legendary tandem of Harry Neale and Bob Cole is absolutely atrocious. After playing a few games with the same teams, players will be forced to sit and listen to the same mumblings over and over again, eventually preferring to play with the sound off.
Despite the mediocre presentation, NHL 2K7’s in game action sets it apart from the competition. Focusing heavily on the defensive side of the game, NHL 2K7 plays like a game of hot potato, relying on quick shots and passes in order to score on the tough defenses that relentlessly poke-check and hit anything in its way. This element will attract the most zealous hockey fans, as it forces them to think quickly and captures the essence of speed that hockey is known for. However, casual hockey fans may not want such a heavy emphasis on the defensive side of the game, opting rather for an offensively-minded game that focuses more on the most talented players, a-la NHL 07.
In the end, the choice is a simple one. Those who wish to play a more realistic game of hockey with a ton of options should pickup NHL 2K7, while those looking for a prettier game that gives them more room to score with their favorite players should settle on NHL 07 or something else.