NHL 2K10

If your urge for obsessive, addictive control isn't satisfied by creating players or rosters, you can tweak the game's settings using sliders to adjust up to 20 characteristics like skate speed, fatigue, recovery, goals and blocks for starters. The number of modes of play is also impressive – in addition to the standard Quick Game and Franchise choices, there is shootout, practice (which offers a full tutorial), online leagues, a distinct playoffs mode (so you can skip the main season if you want), Mini Rink, Pond Hockey, and Team Up. Mini Rink games are two-on-two games that take place in small (mini) rinks. Pond Hockey is a little different: Here you play four-on-four with no rules and larger rinks. Lastly, there is Team Up, which is a full-on 12 player, six-on-six online match.

For each of these modes, you have a few options. You can play every mode versus the game's AI, or you can contact a friend and play them online. A simple interface allows you to program this prompt to appear whenever you start a game. When you do go online, your buddy doesn't have to play against you, either; he can play cooperatively, which gives each mode a fully integrated co-op option.

Franchise mode – most players’ favorite mode – has also been enhanced with additional features. First, you can create your own team, using official NHL jerseys as templates to create your own special jerseys; you can just as easily create non-official jerseys as well. From there, you can select your roster, which can be made from scratch or, if you’re feeling lazy, downloaded from 2K Share. The franchise mode can be set to follow a full 82-game season to match and track your favorite NHL team, or it can be tweaked to a shorter 29-game season. And just like the rest of NHL 2K10, you can play the entire season either against the AI or online, giving those who pick the full 82-game season a real jolt of reality.

Finally, for those who enjoy fiddling around with fantasy leagues and management options, the fantasy draft option has returned from last year. The MGMT option has been balanced by giving the salary options to the team owner. A player that regularly picks tougher, defense-minded teams like the Ducks will tend to pick those types of skaters more often, and make financial decisions based on tracked wins and losses.

Normally, here would be where we’d explain in low, despondent tones that the Wii version of this game will have only half these features, or it will look like crap, or that it won’t be online. This time, cheerfully, we don’t have to. While the Wii version doesn't look as good as its PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts shown here, it has every mode, feature and option its more powerful brothers have. Not only that, but you’ll be able to waggle away with the Wii Nunchuk and wand, use sideways controls, attach the Wii Plus for added accuracy or toss away the wiimote entirely and use the classic controller. And about 90% of the time, the game is running at 60 FPS. Not bad!

Aug 13, 2009