NHL 2K7 PlayStation 3
Published by: 2K Sports
Developed by: Kush Games
Release Date: Out Now
With the Xbox 360 heralding the start of the next generation of consoles back in December 2005 it was hoped that sports games would be taken to a whole new level. In truth that hasn't really happened as yet. The game that's certainly come close to doing so though is NHL 2K7. Thanks to its excellent graphics and superb Cinemotion presentation the game was certainly the best and most immersive ice hockey experience we've had on a games console. It was good news for PlayStation 3 owners then that they don't have to wait as long as those who purchased an Xbox 360 at launch to get their hands on a great sports title.
Let's make it clear right away that if you own the 360 version of NHL 2K7 then there's no need to purchase the PlayStation 3 version as it's pretty much identical. The modes on offer are numerous: Quick Game, Hit the Ice!, Party Mode, Franchise, Tournament, Mini-Rink, Pond Hockey and of course online play (which allows you to setup your own online leagues). There’s a new style of presentation including a new camera angle, an advanced Pro control system allowing drop passes, shadow marking etc., crossovers, gliding and wrap around goals are now possible too. The Franchise mode has been improved taking such things as team chemistry and home advantage into account. In fact all of these additions and improvements help to make NHL 2K7 the best ice hockey game you can currently buy on any platform.
The most impressive aspect of NHL 2K7 is its presentation which is known as Cinemotion. On first loading the game you’re given an option to use the Cinemotion style of presentation or the traditional method that you’ve probably seen in ice hockey games for years now. To not sample the Cinemotion presentation would be criminal, although it’s worth pointing out that not all aspects of the Cinemotion presentation will be apparent to deaf gamers. By far the best aspect of it is the new parametric camera which is about as good a camera view as you could get in a sports game. Basically it brings you closer to the ice without restricting your view. The camera subtly zooms in and out in order to retain a great view and because you’re not as far away as you are in the usual camera modes, it makes for a more immersive experience.
Does the PlayStation 3 version of NHL 2K7 offer any differences? Well in truth the only aspect of the game that differentiates the PlayStation 3 version from the Xbox 360 version is the limited use of the motion-sensing abilities of the Sixaxis controller. You can thrust the Sixaxis forward to check a player when you're defending and you can also take control of the keeper by moving the controller. Are these motion-sensing controls any better than the usual button presses and analogue stick movements? Not really. However it's nice to make some use of the motion-sensing capabilities of the Sixaxis.
Graphically the game is pretty much identical to the 360 version of NHL 2K7. This certainly shouldn't be seen as a disappointment however, as the 360 version looked very good. If you're playing on a HD display you'll be particularly impressed with how detailed the character models and the rinks look. I can honestly say that I don't think ice ever looked so good in a console game. There are no real frame rate issues here, although I have noticed the odd minor dip in the frame rate which wasn't present on the 360 version, and the general performance of the game is very impressive.
We’ve already mentioned that certain aspects of the Cinemotion presentation will not be apparent to deaf gamers. Music plays and the tempo of it changes to reflect how the game is progressing with more dramatic parts playing in tense situations. It’s possible to hear your players call for the puck. There are also scenes involving the players and the coach before the game and during the intervals, which are not subtitled. All of this is something deaf gamers won’t be fully aware of which is actually quite a disappointment. In fact it’s more disappointing than simply missing out on the game commentary, although it’s no more problematic. All of the information outside of the game is subtitled, so it’s perfectly possible for deaf gamers to enjoy the game.
When NHL 2K7 came out on the Xbox 360 last year gamers had a choice between NHL 2K7 and NHL 07 and in many ways it was a tough choice because both games were very good. In our opinion NHL 2K7 was just about the better game and felt more like a next generation title. PlayStation 3 owners who are interested in ice hockey shouldn't be disappointed that NHL 2K7 is only title currently available because in our opinion it's the best ice hockey game to date and it's also very affordable with certain online stores selling the game for under £20.
NHL 2K7 was a stunning game on the Xbox 360 and it's just as impressive on the PlayStation 3. Highly recommended for even the most casual of ice hockey fans.