Saturday, September 08, 2007

Is it in the game?

Interesting... NHL '08 is due to ship in a few days.

Previous editions have disappointed in a few ways. In 2004, EA got as close as they could to that nerdvana I seek as a stat hound - an expanded career mode of 20 seasons, detailed control over spending, and the freedom to essentially build the team from the absolute ground up. The very next year they cut the career mode back down to ten years - which basically meant that you could never have the fun of drafting for a few years and then taking pride as your players developed.

This is why I'm a huge fan of the sadly-discontinued Eastside Hockey series; but if you want to actually see the games played, EA is about the only option.

It's a fabulous looking game, for sure. The virtual Roberto Luongo is creepily accurate. The jerseys look sharp (ugly in some cases, but sharp). There are foreign leagues, AHL teams... they seem to be giving us the gorgeous presentation while promising (yet again) to make it play as an accurate representation of hockey. That's not easy at all. (For example, there's a screen shot of virtual Alexei Yashin crashing the crease and scoring a goal.)

The big thing is, despite promising "deeper, more accurate, nicer graphics, waters your plants and pays the phone bill" etc. etc., I can't find anything detailed about the features yet. No reviews from third parties. No word on how many seasons career mode lasts. Lots about creating players and teams, but if they never get a chance to develop and play a full career who really cares? This thing supposedly ships Tuesday, and they haven't let any reviewers get their hands on copies yet - all the sites have identical press-release blurbs on their news pages. This bodes ill.

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