Gretzky NHL 2005
The Great One could very well be the best hockey game to come out on any handheld, and we take an early look!
The NHL hasn't really been a hot sport as of late, what with the recent cancellation of the season and the league itself coming up as victorious as a last place runner in a marathon. But that doesn't mean we don't have our alternatives to provide us some intense hockey action. There's always college hockey to turn to, and no one will take away my Colorado Avalanche highlight VHS tapes. But then there's also video games, and it looks like Sony's ready to deliver a slap shot to gamers with the forthcoming Gretzky NHL.
Originally seen on the PlayStation 2 as a major release last year, this marks yet another title that makes the transition to handheld status, and it's an obvious standout in the PSP launch lineup. The game does feature intense hockey action in the vain of its very star, the legendary Wayne Gretzky. After all, it's got a way where you can unlock different versions of him from various points of his career, and then pit them against one another in a series of games to see who's the better Gretzky. It sounds a little strange, but the effect is better than you may think.
Gretzky NHL features focused gameplay that allows you to pull off a number of slick offensive and defensive moves. Offensively, you can set up one-timers, pull off some fast passes, or prepare yourself for a power shot on the goal that'll leave the goalie wondering how you got it past him. Defensively, you can get some nasty checks on the opponents to try and steal the puck, or get in the passing lane for an attempt at a fast break. Of course, these are just examples, but they can really form into a solid strategy that can make or break your changes for Lord Stanley's Cup, so use them wisely.
Along with featuring Gretzky himself, the game has all of the NHL and AHL teams to keep you thrilled at the choices you have. All 30 NHL teams are present and accounted for, and you also have over 400 AHL players you can draft onto NHL teams so you can begin building your own legacy. Maybe even the next Gretzky...
There's a number of modes to play around with in Gretzky NHL, including the typical quick game and exhibition modes that let you jump right into the action and show off your puck-slapping skills in a heartbeat. Those looking for something more will want to endure the Gretzky Challenge, where you can work your way through a point-earning system to unlock items like classic jerseys, more NHL teams from the past, and those various versions of Gretzky. One question remains, though - will the New York Rangers version of Gretzky outlast the Los Angeles Kings version? Hmmmm...
The game also features a fully capable Season Mode, where you can play the role of a general manager and build up your franchise to a respectable level. Draft players, trade them for better strengths, and work through a season of games, determining where your good and bad elements lie. The playoff system is in full effect here, so you actually can build your way to a Stanley Cup victory. On top of that, the game is online compatible with Sony's WiFi network so you can challenge friends in a game at any time. Maybe they can control a Gretzky while you whoop butt with your own Gretzky. The opportunity is there.
I know there's a good deal of you thirsty for some NHL action since the league literally put the sport (ahem) on ice, but Gretzky NHL will tide them over with some great hockey action. This game looks to offer it with all the ferocity and passion that the great Gretzky was known for to begin with, and we'll be there with a full review soon enough!