Whether your already a fan of the series or just looking to pick up a hockey game this year, this game is for you!
EA has added additional control mechanics that only improve upon the current dual-stick controls for NHL 09. In previous games playing defence consisted of timing open ice hits properly and pokechecking at opportune times. Now with NHL 09 you have much more control of your defensive players stick with a full 180 degree movement of your stick as well as a new mechanic allowing you to lift other players sticks to interupt passes, steal the puck and stop one-timers.
New mechanics have also been added to offense that allow the player more freedom with dekes, including a new one handed drive (where you use your other hand to create space between you and the defencmen) and one handed dekes to beat the goalie.
The Be a Pro mode is the greatest addition to this years NHL game. In the single-player mode you start out as a rookie prospect playing on the 3rd line of your favorite NHL team's farm team and have to work your way up to the pro level and eventually become a superstar in the NHL. The camera angles are up-close and exciting amd the AI does a particularly good job controling the other 4 players on your team. The best part about this game mode is how rewarding it can be, for example if your line is out and you assist a goal or even participate by screening the goalie I find myself experience enormous amounts of satisfaction. This also works the other way around if your team is scored on while your on the ice.
The online version of Be a Pro mode is even more impressive, with a full championship league in place on EA's part and the option to create and join teams of up to 60 real players all competing to be the number one team in NHL 09. As you play you earn EXP that you can use to increase your players stats.
This is definetly the best NHL game on the market and probably even the best sports game and I highly recommend it to anyone into sports games.