NHL Hitz Pro

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NHL Hitz Pro
Game: NHL Hitz Pro
Platform: PS2
Studio: Midway
Rating: 8/10

Game Company’s Description: NHL Hitz Pro unleashes an exclusive, proprietary blend of NHL Authenticity and adrenaline-style gameplay with real 5-on-5 NHL hockey featuring; big hits, rocket goals and ferocious ONLINE gameplay.
NHL Hitz has been reinvented, without leaving behind the edginess that has made Midway Sports the leader and only year-on-year successful publisher of extreme-style league licensed sports videogames. NHL Hitz Pro will showcase authentic 5-on-5 gameplay with realistic rules, features and online play, while still providing its proprietary blend of lightning-fast adrenaline-style hockey action.

FEATURES
REALISM ADDED:
• New 5-on-5 Gameplay – Just the way hockey is played in the NHL, 5-on-5. Every team, every player, and every position.
• Full NHL Penalties and Violations – From offsides and two-line passing to interference and cross- checking, authentic NHL penalties will get you time in the sin bin in NHL Hitz Pro.
• 23-Man Player Rosters – 100% legitimate NHL rosters. All players are available and all authentic team lines from the scoring to the checking lines are ready to hit the ice
• Real Stadiums – NHL arenas are accurately recreated in NHL Hitz Pro.
• Real Offensive and Defensive Team Formations – Every team’s offensive and defensive scheme in NHL Hitz Pro is in precise correlation with the actual team in the NHL.
• Player Fatigue System – Just as in a real NHL hockey game, as players dish out the checks, or as the player gets checked to the ice, the more tired they become.
• Line Changes – See your line becoming tired or spot a mismatch in the defensive team and switch up your line to have the freshest players on the ice.
• Legitimate Stick Handling – Just like the real players in the NHL, glide and move the puck back and forth like a yo-yo near the net, through the use of the analog stick. NHL Hitz Pro offers the most realistic stick and puck handling on any hockey game to date.
• Authentic Crowd Reactions – For the first time, a sports videogame will accurately recreate an authentic crowd and player emotion based on the flow of the game. You might get a “ho-hum” reaction from the crowd and your teammates by scoring a goal to go up 8-0 against your opponent, but the crowd will flip out and your teammates will rush you when you score the game-winning goal in overtime.
ALL NEW FEATURES:
• New Online Play – Head-to-head gameplay for Playstation 2.
• New Commentary – Tim Kitzrow and Harry Tienowitz will be commentating for Midway Sports to give players their take on the game as well as the lowdown on favorite NHL players. This is commentary for the fans; they’ll say what you’re thinking without the sugar coating.
• Upgraded Franchise Mode – GM Mode option lets you build a Dynasty and manage every aspect of your team. Build your team from a bunch of rookies into an NHL-caliber franchise. Unlock team and hero equipment upgrades which improve your team’s attributes. The ultimate goal – entry into the National Hockey League.
• Re-tooled Hockey School Mode – NHL Hitz Pro features an all-new and restructured Hockey School where the game player is taught and the skills tested. Your instructor will introduce an NHL All-Star to tell you a little more about what is important in hockey, as well as provide an NHL Hitz Pro game tip.
• Score from Anywhere on the Ice – NHL Hitz Pro now has multiple new ways to score, new context-sensitive plays like wraparounds, deflections and flip passes from behind the net.
• Advanced Options – With different tunable settings and sliders, you can completely customize your gaming experience, from game speed right down to puck friction.
• Enhanced Fantasy Draft – Choose your favorite team and begin your NHL season from the absolute beginning where all players become free game and are eligible for the draft. Feel like an NHL owner and all the pressures that come when trying to construct a team from scratch.
• Improved AI – Smarter players, realistic offensive and defensive behavior. NHL Hitz Pro delivers such realistic AI, you’ll think you’re really playing one of your friends.
• Improved Goalie Animations – NHL Hitz Pro has gone to great lengths to ensure the best and most realistic goalie animations ever. From stacking the pads to smothering loose pucks and diving head first across the crease, saving the game. if a goalie can make the impossible save in the NHL, he can make it in Hitz.
• Improved Goalie Logic and Behavior – From slapping the ice with five seconds left in a power play, to sprinting to the bench for the sixth attacker with one minute left in the game to give your team the one-man advantage. Goalies in NHL Hitz Pro behave and react like the real thing in the NHL.
• Officially Licensed Equipment – Through Franchise Mode, players will be able to gain equipment to better suit their players. There will be five levels of equipment, including many of the biggest brands in hockey: The Hockey Company, Bauer Hockey, Itech and Easton.
• New Motion Capture Animations – From new checks, slap shots and goalie animations, NHL Hitz Pro improves on more than 1,500 motion-captured animations in the game.

Look: For whatever reason the graphics aren’t crisp and not on par with other consoles. There are good looks at the jumbotron and cut scenes. The game looks like you are watching a hockey game on television. So for what it’s worth it’s not far off.

Players are modeled well, yet you still see what you get in every sports game; flat faces. When someone cracks that problem you’ll see a huge improvement in sports games. Midway brought the fans out of the usual cutout look and made them feel more realistic like the players. Good mix, if you like that sort of thing. It works because it’s something you’d expect to see on television. The best aspect of the new look are the replays; great addition.

Feel: The first thing you’ll see is how fast the game feels. If you’ve ever been to a hockey game you know that it’s much faster there than it is on television. This game tries to bridge that gap. The second thing you’ll see is why it’s called Hitz. The game is all out destruction of your opponent. I checked one guy through the glass and once took my goalie out of the crease to cause utter destruction to one opponent. Which means the fighting has been is up a notch. You can score punches like you were playing a boxing game. Tight.

The speed can burn you however. Shots are faster and you’ll wiz around the ice like rockets. It’s amazing. You better have some quick reflexes otherwise you’ll get left behind wondering how the score got to 12-1. There are some goals that get by that just shouldn’t and leave you scratching your head. Especially in a close game it can drive you mad.

Hear: Tim Kitzrow is back to give us the play-by-play. This guy’s voice is known to any hardcore gamer. Thankfully it’s not going to get too monotonous. The crowd also gets into it and really gets your blood pumping.

Frankly: NHL Hitz Pro combines the best of arcade and simulation. If you like to have your hockey on speed this is the game for you. Just don’t forget your teeth.

+ Rick Carey

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