The NHL interactive experience is in its 10th year with NHL 2003
. The most user-friendly, accessible, entertaining, authentic hockey experience to date, NHL 2003
delivers excitement and addictive speed from the moment the puck drops.
New users can select "Beginner" skill level including audio tutorial cues for a fun NHL 2003 experience and features such as Game Breaker. "On the Ice" sound and Dynamic Deke Control offer both new and old NHL users alike the total control, speed, and hard-hitting competition that every sports fan loves.
Being huge hockey fans we were excited about playing the latest in the long line of EA's NHL series--but we must admit to being a little disappointed with this latest offering, as NHL 2003
in all truth is NHL 2002
plus a few shiny bits. The new features for 2003 are an improved franchise mode which has more of the hardcore managerial events to deal with, such as annual drafts, player waivers, more injuries and suspensions, and more Easter eggs and celebrations to unlock with the NHL cards rewards system. One major gameplay change has been added: the "Gamebreaker" is simply a power bar which slowly energizes as you play, and once full a quick button press will allow you to pull off some pretty funky moves. Also improved is the in-game physics--the puck now rebounds off defenders and sticks with more realism. Our main criticisms (and perhaps this is nit-picking) is that the overly comic commentators have really dumbed the game down, and that there are to! o many Matrix
-style slow-motion effects.
NHL 2003 plays fantastically and is one of the finest sports games to grace TV screens anywhere; the presentation is top notch and most of the stats are up-to-date (although yet again many of the minor international squads still have imaginary players). But the new tweaks aren't really enough to justify shelling out full price if you already own last year's version--a lesson we hoped EA had learnt after finally getting FIFA right this time. If you're a NHL completist or a hockey fan, or have never played NHL before, then we recommend this game over any other. If you've already got NHL 2002 then make up your mind if you can do without this version's new features. --Laurent S Hall