EA Sports' NHL 08 was lauded by the gaming community as a landmark effort, channeling realism with a new skating graphics engine and opponent AI that had some praising it as "a game that so closely mimics an NHL game, you may swear you're watching the real deal."
Ah, the pressure of an encore. Here's the trailer for EA Sports' NHL 09:
The big news from the sneak peak for the game is a "Be a Pro" mode that follows a player from his time with an AHL team through his rise to hot NHL prospect. GameSpot has the lowdown:
As with the Be a Pro mode in FIFA, when you're on the ice in NHL 09's Be a Pro mode, you'll be focused on your player alone, thanks to a third-person camera that will be focused tight (but not too tight) on your created player. According to producers, this close-up camera angle will give you more opportunities for shooting in a variety of different angles on the goalie, from up high to five hole, because the targets will be that much bigger on the screen.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Be a Pro mode in NHL 09 is the different types of roles you'll be able to serve when creating your player. Not only will you be able to play as a goalie, but you'll also be able to choose different types of roles as a regular skater, from a grinding, checking defenseman to a speedy, shot-taking sniper.
So, depending on your mood, you can choose to be Sergei Fedorov or Sergei Brylin. Cool. More reaction to the trailer and the game from the IGN boards.
Of course, there's another gaming company in the fight for hockey supremacy: 2K Sports, which will release NHL 2K9 later this year with a complete overhaul of its game play. Next week on Puck Daddy, we'll have full coverage from our trip to the 2K Sports studios in California: An in-depth interview with cover athlete Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday; behind the scenes at 2K Sports HQ on Tuesday; and inside the game's motion capture mothership on Wednesday.