NHL2K6 Xbox 360 Review

NHL2K6 Xbox 360 Review

A console hasn’t really arrived until you get a complete sports line up for it, for some consoles this takes longer than others, but not the Xbox 360. When it is first came into market, In the first six months we have been spoiled for choice in sporting franchises. 2K Sports was the one stepped up to the plate again to bring us another big name sports game.

On first glance there’s not a lot of difference between the Xbox 360 version of the game and it’s last generation counterparts. Character models are reasonably well detailed for the players, but not being such a mainstream sport you aren’t going to find them easily identifiable.

NHL2K6 Xbox 360 Review

Poor Models

Spectator models on the other hand are less than impressive, It’s nice they’ve gone with a full 3D crowd rather than cardboard cut outs, but they needn’t have bothered with the quality of character models they’re using here. It wouldn’t be such a big deal, but they use crowd shots a lot in replays and time outs and the like and just generally brings the game down. Graphics also take a hit with the lighting effects, or rather lack of them, basically either something or someone is in the light or it isn’t, again it’s no big deal normally, but this is next generation here, and this game just doesn’t cut it on the graphics front for a next-gen game.

Whilst the visual side of the game is less than stellar, they make up for it a bit with some reasonable audio, sound effects although nothing special are realistic enough and add to the games atmosphere. But the free flowing commentary really brings the game to life. On top of that you get some cheesy rock music over the menus but it’s really nothing to write home about.

NHL2K6 Xbox 360 Graphics

Slick on Ice

But, even though the game isn’t anything special presentation wise what it does do is play a good game of Ice Hockey. You get the standard options of exhibition, career mode and multiplayer for your money. Exhibition mode is your standard pick-up and play mode, but different from other games of it’s kind can be played in multiplayer. Four players can play in exhibition mode, either split on to teams or all can play for the same team if they like.

Career mode is the real meat of the game though and you get plenty of different play options on hand. As well as just playing through your career match by match there’s plenty of other distractions. You can head up to your sky box to check out your trophy cabinet, take a look at your stats, check out what you’ve unlocked or play some games. The sky boxes mini-games are typically American, no pool or darts here, what you get are a trivia game, air hockey and shuffleboard, so nothing to get too excited about.

NHL2K6 Xbox 360 Gameplay

Career Me Do

Once you get in to your matches though everything is pretty easy to pick up, your basic controls are easy to get to grips with, with just your ‘A’ button to pass and ‘X’ button to shoot and your shoulder triggers giving your player a bit of a boost. There are some more advanced controls which give you managerial control using the D pad but you don’t really have to worry about these when you’re starting out.

The career mode is rather extensive, you get a good few matches a month and a good few years per career, so there’s plenty to get your teeth in to. Like the game's exhibition mode you can also play any career game with up to four players, which is nice, it means career mode doesn’t have to be the solitary experience that it is in most sports titles.

NHL2K6 Xbox 360

Fun For All

Then there’s the games multiplayer mode, which again can be played by up to four players per Xbox 360.You can either play two on two at home or take it online for up to four on four over Xbox Live. It can get pretty frantic playing with that many players, combined with the games pick up and playability makes for a pretty good party game, or at least something to have a bash on after the pub. That combined with the gargantuan career mode means you get plenty of gameplay for your money here.

And it’s not just for Ice Hockey aficionados, the easy to pick up gameplay means it can be fun for anyone. Overall what you have is a reasonable sports simulation that’s fun for fans and non fans alike. It’s a real pity they couldn’t have done more with the 360 version though, as apart from a slight bump in the graphics department and a couple of new moves it’s pretty much identical to the Xbox and PS2 versions. If you don’t own either of those consoles and you’re a fan of ice hockey then this is going to be a must have for you. For anyone else, you’d be better off, financially anyway, picking up one of the other versions, or at least giving it a rental.

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