Warning, endless replay possibilities due to strong AI make this game addictive!
PS2 NHL or 2K graphics are still way beyond this title.
But who cares as soon as we're into gameplay!
Wrist shots are the most common offensive weapon, and yes, the game recreates an authentic hockey feeling here; you have to flick that puck holding the controller upside down, and press B.
Slap shots require your wiimote to be drawn backwards a bit like a golf swing. The tricky thing is that one-timer slapshots often don't work. This is mainly because the player wasn't positioned optimally relative to the puck, but that's often hard to spot if you haven't taken action camera view. Replays will make this abundantly clear.
Flick passing is done with a flick of the wrist, whilst pressing 'A'. Many players complain this cannot be done properly and so they switch to stick or pointer passing. Well, in the beginning I thought it didn't work, but after some 2 weeks I found out it works not 50, not 80, not 90 but 100 % of the times! The motion plus is very sensitive to every little movement you make, like small backwards movements or wrist rotations, and adjusting the "pass aim assist" slider also can help a lot. I usually set it to 15-25 % so the puck does not gravitate so much towards team mates. But that's just my choice!
There's no lateral camera view allowed. (I hope 2K11 will fix this) So either you play 'upfield' or 'downfield'. Now when playing 'downfield', the controls ALSO switch: you have to flick the wiimote backwards to move the puck forwards. Initially, this may seem impossible to overcome, yet after a couple of weeks it has become second nature.
Not all controls switch, 'upwards' shooting is maintained.
Forward poke checks can be done by sticking the remote forward. Timing and positioning is all important!
The second defensive weapon is stick lifting. Apparently devs did not risk relying on motion plus here, as it is done by pressing a button, DPAD-LEFT/RIGHT.
Stick lifts are more effective than poke checks, but also more dangerous. Especially when performed behind the attacker, a stick lift may result in a hooking penalty. Moreover, a stick lift will slow down your defender a bit more.
The most spectacular defensive play is certainly the body check, moving nunchuk and controller quickly forwards. But beware, if you miss defense will lay open behind you. And if you attack anything else but the puck carrier, or hit someone into the boards, it will result in a penalty.
Finally there's the diving pokecheck, DPAD-UP. It's a nice way to block the puck passage of that all-decisive pass.
Unfortunately there's no user controlled saucer passing. Poke checks and some limited form of slap shooting, quite unfortunately, can ALSO be executed by pressing B (no swinging of the remote required), and dumping the puck requires another button, DPAD-UP. Some limited deking control is done by DPAD-DOWN and holding your remote left or right.
The person who invented Ovi dekes should think twice: any slight unintentional nunchuk jerk may launch an extremely out-of-context deking move. This may happen a handful of times in many games.
The lack of saucers makes passing the puck around beyond the blue line ever more a necessity. But I hope next year Motion Plus will allow for saucer passing (and stick lifting)!
Unlike the NHL series, 2k10 nor its abundant collection of sliders allow for differentiated puck passing. That is, the puck is always passed with equal force, resulting in equal distances covered by the puck. Pass differentiation would definitely make the game (even) more difficult, maybe an advanced option for next year!
The interface is absolutely horrible! Navigation with nunchuk and wiimote is hard. With some effort you can find some 30 US/Canadian teams and 16 international teams available for quick play or tournaments.
As a European player I have to ask: where are the German and Scandinavian Leagues? Probably in 2K11.
The on-line gameplay is very promising at first sight. There are leagues, pick-up games and quick games. Usually you don't have to wait longer than one minute to find an opponent.
But taking a closer look reveals many unexplainable disconnections (usually after a goal has been scored), frequent 2k server breakdowns, and the always looming WRAP AROUND PLAYERS. Wrap around play is not hockey. It is trying to have a date with the goalie. Many players, MOST players forget about the blue line and about passing and nice distance shots and only concentrate on the goal line. Wrap-around play is probably caused by a lag of more than one second in defensive player selection (=press A). This makes accurate defense much tougher, and some attackers just try to figure-skate through your defense.
Off-line there's no such lag/problem. So I'd rather stick to off-line play, weaken the goalies (many gameplay sliders are at your disposal) and find an team of equal strength to play against. Play defensively (coaching strategies), otherwise the AI will get too many breakaways. Or else crank up goalie levels. A nice feature is that you can play as ONE player rather than as a whole team. Also as the goalie!
Well here we go then...
That was really a great game!
And it IS a great game too.
Half a year after purchase. The game is still incredible fun, some 2/3 of my wii game time is now dedicated to this game.
Learned how to perform fake shots.As a consequence, AI wastes defensive checks or brings the goalie in butterfly position prematurely. Great stuff! Motion controls (and M+) are by far and large the easiest way to do that.
Score updated 8.0--->8.5