NHL 10 is almost the perfect hockey game. It's loaded with options and sports great graphics, fabulous player control and realistic gameplay

What's Hot: Excellent on-ice gameplay; Solid play-by-play and overall atmosphere; Fluid animations; Board pinning and Manual Passing are both superb additions

What's Not: Player and team ratings are way off the mark

Crispy Gamer Says: Buy

"NHL 10" is almost the perfect hockey game. It's loaded with options and sports great graphics, fabulous player control and realistic gameplay. It has just one ridiculous flaw.

Let's get that one ridiculous flaw out of the way. The player and team ratings are comically bad. The NHL is a competitive league, no doubt, but there is no way you can justify having all the teams rated within a few points of one another. In the world of "NHL 10," the Red Wings and the Kings are on close-to-even footing. The Islanders and the Penguins are a tossup.

That's just plain silly; and when you compare this to the brilliant way in which "Madden 10" rated its players and teams, it makes "NHL 10" look all the more foolish. Play out a season and watch the simulated results. With ratings being jammed together, anyone can win the Cup. Anyone. I guess we shouldn't sleep on the Islanders this year -- because they are a serious threat in "NHL 10."

Other than that, the game is brilliant. "NHL 09" was no slouch, but the improvements made to the design for "NHL 10: take it one step closer to hockey nirvana. Board pinning -- jamming your player into the opposing player along the boards in an attempt to wrestle away the puck -- is something no arcade hockey game has ever simulated, but "NHL 10" pulls it off. Board pinning adds so much to the flow of the game, which is no longer just a track meet up and down the ice.

The Manual Passing feature is another fantastic addition, as it allows you to lead pass and also allows for more inaccurate passes and less tape-to-tape perfection when moving the puck. It's tough to get used to Manual Passing, as the pressure-sensitive left trigger is used to get more zip on passes, but after some practicing you will never want to go back to a simple button-press ever again.

"NHL 10" is also loaded with custom options. You can play fast break hockey (like this series used to let you do), or you can tweak the settings to get a shockingly realistic game of hockey that is more about player positioning than huge hits and blazing breakaways. When playing on "Hardcore" mode with various gameplay slider adjustments, scoring a goal after cycling the puck is a truly rewarding experience. The game turns into a true simulation of the sport.

There are other new goodies -- such as improvements to the Be a Pro mode, a new first-person fighting system, a 30-team online season mode and other tweaks to the formula -- but the gameplay is the real reason to get "NHL 10." It's on-ice game is as good as that of any hockey game ever made, period. Now all we need is a roster update, so that the Sharks actually have an advantage over the Lightning.

This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 game provided by the publisher.

Article: Copyright © iHaveNet

Video Games: NHL 10 - Xbox 360

Article: Copyright © Tribune Media Services