Even though the real-world NHL season has been all but scuppered, there's plenty of competition in the hockey-game arena. Three weeks after Sega and Take-Two released ESPN NHL 2K5, its competition has skated onto the ice. Today, Electronic Arts released its own puckster, NHL 2005, for the PC, Xbox, GameCube, and PlayStation 2. Like most sports sims, it is rated "E" for Everyone and will retail for $49.99 for consoles and $39.99 for the PC.
NHL 2005 sports all 30 National Hockey League teams, as well as 60 international teams, including the Swedish, Finnish, and German Elite Leagues that many locked-out NHL players have temporarily joined. NHL 2005's Dynasty Mode offers more detailed relationships between managers and owners, allowing players to foster intraclub disputes of their own.
NHL 2005 features a refined control system and a "completely overhauled skating engine," according to EA Sports. It also sports "Open Ice Control," which will provide players with more rapid and flexible defensive and offensive options. NHL 2005 also lets players apply strategy to puck drops with the addition of face-off formations. All versions except the GameCube have online functionality, and the Xbox edition of the game will support Xbox Live for the first time.
GameSpot already spent several periods in the rink with NHL 2005, so be sure to read Alex Navarro's review to learn more about the game.