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NHL 2K10: 2K Sports Gives NHL an Overhaul

Company: 2K Sports

We were recently able to sit down with team members over at 2K Sports about their upcoming title, NHL 2K10, through an in-depth conference call. Media members were able to submit questions ahead of time, which allowed for the answering of many questions that we, as hard-core gamers, want to pass on to you. Below are some of the highlights of that call, and more information, along with screenshots and videos, can be found at the official NHL 2K10 site (see the link below).

It should be known that the team at 2K Sports mentioned that they have been consciously making great improvements from last year's title and promise to deliver a better hockey experience with this year's NHL 2K10. For starters, the team has ramped up both the visuals and the A.I. quality to launch a much better-playing experience. The team has also allowed users to take any game mode online, which should add to not only the fun factor, but also the replay value of any sports game.

Graphically, last year's effort fell short of what gamers expect in titles of the PS3/360 era. NHL 2K10, however, has added new player licenses and implemented brand new player models to completely rework the visuals of the series. 2K Sports Producer Ben Bishop adds, "We've definitely made some really big improvements [graphically]. We have a brand new player model, and so I think just the player's proportions and the uniforms and all those quality details of the equipment look a lot better. We redid all of our player licenses, so I think there are so many players in the game now that look spot-on." A quick peek at the screens from the official website confirms that 2K Sports' NHL franchise has never looked better. The new player models are not just skin deep either. Not only has the entire look of the uniforms has been improved, but specialized jerseys have already been created for later in the season when the NHL releases alternate uniforms.

For those looking to know which console they should purchase NHL 2K10 for, it appears that there is very little difference between the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. Both look and play great, so a similar experience should be expected. The most noticeable difference probably comes in the form of the Wii version of game. While most of the game's features will be the same as the big brother consoles, the Wii will, of course, be focusing a bit more on physically performing shots, passes, dekes, poking checking, and body checking, among other hockey moves. NHL 2K10 will fully take advantage of the Wii Motion Plus add-on for the controller to more precisely track these movements. Ben Bishop states that the Wii Motion Plus "really changes the experience entirely," and goes on to state that this full-range motion add-on allows for better shooting, passing, and stick handling on the Wii, all featuring a 1-to-1 motion that will allow the user to make real-life movements to control the players on-screen. The Wii version will also feature 5 mini-games, dubbed Mii Super Skills.

The online aspect of the game will likely be one of the most appealing factors for hockey fans. With NHL 2K10, not only are all games online-capable, but the ability to play online Franchise/League matches is outstanding. One of the more entertaining modes could end up being the Created Team Challenges feature. Here, you'll be able to have up to 15 team members (my impression was that this would be a sort of guild) who, when any 6 are online at the same time, can challenge other teams to fully-manned hockey matches. Stats will also be available online through a social networking feature.

The price point for NHL 2K10 is coming in at an MSRP of $49.99 USD across the board for the big 3 current-gen consoles ($10 below their competitor's PS3/360 hockey title listings), and Take 2 Interactive is the only publisher to release an NHL title for both the Wii and the PlayStation 2; the latter having a $19.99 price tag, with most of the same functionality as its big brothers. Look for NHL 2K10's release on September 15 of this year.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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