NHL 2K10 adds Winter Classic mode, remembers the Whale

Realism. It's the main component that gamers desire in each game they play, specifically sports games. Gamers want detailed faces on players, authentic jerseys with special patches and stadiums that aren't the same template multiplied 30 times.

NHL 2K10, releasing on Sept. 15, is adding not one but two outdoor game modes this year's game. Players will have the choice of using either an outdoor pond setting or either or the venues used during the last two Winter Classics: Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo and Wrigley Field in Chicago.

That's not all: One of the many things desired by hockey gamers since both 2KSports and EA Sports began adding vintage jerseys into their games has been the inclusion of the Hartford Whalers. Well, crank up the Brass Bonanza.

Check out another Winter Classic/outdoor hockey option:

According to 2K Sports, the Winter Classic modes will only be available when choosing an arena during a Quick Game and will not be included in a season or franchise mode. If players choose any of the four teams that have participated in the previous two outdoor games, the throwback jerseys will be selectable options along with the team's current set.

Meanwhile, remember the Whale?

The City of Hartford owns the copyright to the Whalers name and logo, which has been a roadblock for many merchandisers and video game companies in the past, but in NHL 2K10 gamers will have the chance to rock out to "Brass Bonanza" and choose their favorite defunct NHL team's threads in game play.

2K Sports said that they were cleared by the National Hockey League to include the Whalers name and logo into the game, so hopefully that roadblock is gone forever for future hockey video games. The game will also feature plenty of other classic jerseys like the Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and Minnesota North Stars among others.

The gameplay for NHL 2K10 has been revamped and expect to see stick lifts, stumble shots, better stick handling, new 1-on-1 moves and a new system of dekes for cover boy Alexander Ovechkin(notes). Online play has been upgraded for 2K10 allowing gamers to take their created teams online and see how their unique players stack up against others.

If you're looking for playoff beards, NHL 2K10 will have them and some players will be able to grow full beards a la Max Talbot(notes) while others will struggle with the ability to grow facial hair over the course of a playoff run.

Each arena in NHL 2K10 will have it's own different feel to it. You'll know if you're playing inside the United Center in Chicago or Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. The lightning detail and remodeled look will give each arena its own unique atmosphere.

For those who own a Wii, 2KSports hasn't forgotten about you. Online play has been added for the first time and gamers will be able to take part in the exclusive Mii Superskills mode that lets you play in 5 different events while controlling your Mii.

All in all, while EA Sports' NHL series has been king for quite some time in the video hockey game market, 2K Sports has been making significant strides over the years. It looks as if NHL 2K10 is ready to make a serious challenge to the throne that EA has dominated.