If you're an actual hockey fan, I dunno... but if you just want to have some arcade-style fun on the ice, buy this game.

User Rating: 8.1 | NHL 06 PC
I've been wanting to buy a hockey game for years after playing a lot of NHL Hits on someone else's Xbox. This game plays very much like NHL Hits, which kind of warned me right off that this was no hockey simulation. Which I think is a good thing.

Gameplay: Skate around, hit people with four different intensity levels, and listen to Captain Kirk-style commentary ("The -Stars... have lost -this... game."). The AI almost never hits you back without some healthy slider adjusting in the Options menu, so you can slide around and spin-move with impunity. Aiming shots can take too much time when you're near the goal, so most of the time I set it to Auto... but you have to set it before each game, which kinda stinks. There are some wicked bugs, not to mention the craziest one I've found that Alex didn't mention in the official Gamespot review (which deserves its own paragraph):

If you use a gamepad (like you should), the bad news is you can't pull your goalie from the pause menu after pressing "esc" on your keyboard. However, the good news is that if you're down, clicking "pull goalie" in this manner will still help your team in a big way. Yeah, you can already guess what happens. The game assumes that the AI team is using the keyboard, so using their escape button to access the menu allows you to pull *their* goalie. Whenever you get frustrated or just feel mischevious, score some quick goals with EA's new Beat The Crud Out Of The System Playmaker Control (tm).

Graphics: Decent. I've got them at the highest settings and they don't look all that great, but you won't notice it very much during the game.

Sound: Except for Kirk's commentary, the sound is okay. Some of the songs on the menu soundtrack are pretty killer, like the OK Go one, whatever it's called.

Value: High if you buy it in the EA '06 combo pack.

Reviewer's Tilt: I didn't want a hardcore hockey sim. I wanted some fierce hits, last second goals, and mad spin moves. And that's what I got.