Ben, being the hockey fan at GameCritics.com, touched on all the things that would irk a hockey fan that played NHL2K. I, on the other hand, am more of a causal observer to the sport, catching the occasional Rangers or Devils game. Having not played a hockey game seriously with the exceptions of NHL Hockey and Konami's Blades Of Steel for the NES and Wayne Gretzky Hockey 64 on the Nintendo 64, about all I can add is that even a relative novice like myself found the computer's "defense" to be a bit on the easy side. Admittedly, I wasn't having my way with the computer the way Ben seems to have, but I could see that there were times when the opposing team didn't want to even show up (kind of like the Buffalo Sabres in this year's playoffs).
I agree with Ben on everything he says, but I want to make a point on a couple of things. For one, I stopped caring about wrist shots and slap shots after a while because it was evident that the controls were not designed to easily facilitate the difference. But the thing that probably lowered my grade the most, was that the game lacked player injuries. In any other sport, aside the assorted extreme sports or fishing games, I'd be nonchalant towards such an omission, but not in the sport of hockey. In hockey, fans go home angry unless a player took a stick to the face of another player or blood wound up covering half the ice. During the course of a game or season, even a digital one, a player is bound to go down for at least a game or two with some sort of ailment. If you're not going to include injuries, then you might as well toss power-ups on the ice, toss out all the rules and for the icing on top, make the puck glow bright red and leave a trail as it skips across the ice.
All in all NHL2K is a good game. The problems with the lack of injuries and porous computer defense brought the game down a few notches so it won't follow in the tradition of other Sega Sports Dreamcast titles. That said, the game overall is fun, controls well and looks great. With no competition this year, it is easily the best hockey title on the market.
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