Format: PS2
2K Sports

5 030930 045081
Age Restrictions: 16+
10 March 2006

NHL 2K6 is the latest instalment in the ice hockey series from 2K Sport. This isn't going to go down in the UK as well as in the USA - mainly because ice hockey doesn't appeal to that many people over here. That's probably why the US price tag of $20 (about £11.50) has rocketed up to £30 for the UK release.

I have to confess to not being the world's greatest expert on hockey - I've watched a fair few games, and I know the rules, but that's about it. I'm certainly not up on all of the players names.

As is usual for review games, we received no instruction on how to play this game - something that is really essential for this release as there are so many different elements and gaming modes to get your head around.

The "ProControl" system let's you take command of the offensive zone with tape-to-tape icon passing, behind the net plays and precision give-and-go attacks. Display your raw aggression to maximise the Enforcer System and throw opponents off their game. The game features all-new presentation elements, cut-scenes, and commentary from legendary broadcast team Bob Cole and Harry Neale.

It won't take you long will long to dominate the ice with NHL calibre goaltending, skating, checking and puck handling with the deeply enhanced animation system. Strong and aggressive play from the bigger, beefier players on your team increases your "Enforcer System" rating, throwing opponents off their game by bringing out your checking line.

The "On-The-Fly" coaching features enable you to play your style of hockey at both ends of the ice by calling team strategy during the action. And if you want to take the goalie's job, the "Maximum Goaltending" option allows you to take matters into your own hands by swapping into the cage and using the right analogue stick to make quick, intuitive saves when it counts the most.

The overall presentation of the game has improved considerably, with a fully 3D crowd, the latest player/team stats and highly realistic NHL arenas enhancing the experience.

If you are a true hockey nut then you'll lap this up - although I don't think that the upgrades, as impressive as they are, are worth spending £30 on. If this was £11.50 then I'd recommend it like a shot.

Nick Smithson

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