Sega's upcoming Dreamcast hockey title, NHL 2K, is fast approaching its February release, and the early developer's build of the game currently runs quite slow, as the pace of the action on the ice just doesn't feel fast enough. And so far, there is no game-speed setting like the one found in the Dreamcast's current football title, NFL 2K, that lets you increase the speed of the game. Whether or not this will change is unknown, but we'd like to see a way to increase the game's speed.
Visually, NHL 2K isn't quite as jaw dropping as NFL 2K or NBA 2K, even though player models are said to be more detailed with 1,500 polygons per model and player animations for skating, shooting, and moving in general are very smooth. And like any good game, warriors need their big arenas, and NHL 2K shows off with sharp-looking rinks and arenas that feature reflections off the ice and the degenerative shaving of ice effect caused by the players' skates during gameplay.
Right now, the game's AI and overall feel seem on target, although we'll have to spend more time with it before commenting.
In the audio department, the game is fairly impressive, with such audio features as the crisp sound of skates cutting into the ice, proper arena music, and crowd sounds. Announcers Bob Cole and Harry Neale also make their debuts on the Dreamcast extremely detailed by actually calling play-by-play action using individual player names.
While the game has many promising features, we hope to report a more refined game later on because NHL 2K feels a little disappointing in its current state. We hope Sega will bump up the speed of the game or at least offer players the option.