Recently I have been infatuated with NHL 10 for the XBOX 360. It truly is a fantastic game and if played properly it can simulate an actual hockey game quite well. The emphasis on that sentence should be placed on “if played properly”. Let’s try that again.
It truly is a fantastic game and if played properly it can simulate an actual hockey game quite well. You see, as great a sports game as NHL 10 is, the game still suffers from many of the same problems that its predecessors have, mainly minor glitches and computer AI issues.
Any longtime players of the series know of two very potent glitches the game has suffered from over the years. The first being the blue line glitch, where players could wind up for a slap shot positioned at or right over the blue line and be assured of scoring a goal on over 90% of the attempts. That glitch was removed last year and thankfully does not make a return. The second famous glitch was the crossover in front of the goal glitch, where a player would pick up the puck in the corner and skate across the crease shotting the puck by the goaltender for a score virtually all of the time. This glitch has not been present in the NHL series since it moved to this generation of consoles but sadly it has returned with this year’s version and is once again being used in the online gaming space.
The argument against these glitches has always been to get better at the game and prevent your opponent from attempting to use them. This is a good argument in theory, if someone consistently uses the same tactic against you then you should change your defensive strategy to prevent it. Unfortunately this brings me to my main gripe with the game, that being the controls.
Now don’t get me wrong, the implementation of dual stick controls for gameplay works very well for the most part. However, certain aspects of the game just don’t always pan out. Slap shots, body checks and passing can all be off because the input required by the player is very precision based and sometimes your controlled character just does not do what you intended them to do. To its credit, NHL 10 does offer multiple control schemes, including a scheme dating back 15 years to NHL ’94 which is majestic in its simplicity. However the game seems gimped when using any control scheme but the default one, specifically with checking and the new board play.
My dissatisfaction with checking in the game borders on spoiling the game as a whole but it really only annoys me while playing online where opponents seem to only have one thing on their mind and it is not to play a legitimate game of hockey. In the end I really enjoy NHL 10 and playing by myself or with others that I know is a blast but like many games, playing with random people online can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.