Here is the long awaited review of NHL Slapshot in all of its glory. Before I get to it, I want to apologize to Mr. Al Quinto. I appreciate all the patience you have had with me between school and work, I have had little time to play the game and write the review. I finally found a weekend where I steam rolled the game and felt confident enough I could write a worthy review. Just for future reference, my reviews won't hopefully be coming this far after a games release. I am hoping to start getting review copies of games. Either way, if you have been skeptical on the whole NHL for the Wii, you will have your definitive answer.
One thing that I found that would be a cool idea is to do a Dual review. What is that you ask? I do have a 15 year old sister. So I figured I would incorporate her ideas of the game into my review. Her parts will be very easy to recognize due to the whole change of Font and the BOLD type face it will be in. Hope some feedback on how the review works will be given.
Forewarning: My sister doesn't take a lot of what most reviewers take into account. This is the view of a 15 yo girl who enjoys watching hockey, but doesn't revel in it like I do. Keep that in mind.
So one thing that I have that I rarely use is my Wii. Not because I don't like it. I enjoy the Wii, but not nearly as much as my Xbox. (Please keep your fan boy comments for another venue please) I love my Xbox, but when sk88z (Al Quinto) put out a general question if any small time blogs like myself wanted to review NHL Slapshot, I jumped all over that. Not physically. Getting my copy in like 2 days, which was awesome, I went to town on the game. I got a second stick for two player mayhem.
Gameplay: Before you start putting the sticks together right out of the box, put in the game disc. I took it upon myself, as most males do, to try to put the object together without instructions. I did it in about 10 minutes. After assembling my stick, I popped in the game disc all excited to play just to figure out that there was a damn set of instructions right on the intro of the game, on how to put the stick together. Don't fall prey to trying to put the stick together yourself. It looks easy, and it is. Just let the man in the Gretzky jersey tell you how to do it. It’ll make life a lot easier.
For having the Wii remote stuck in the stick, the actions are very responsive. I'm a big guy, both in width and height so some of the actions for me were a bit more awkward than it should be for an average sized person.
As any hockey fan would think, the controls are very simple. To shoot a wrist shot, you flick forward. For a slapshot, you pull back as your character on the screen does and then you let it rip! Passing is associated to one of the buttons and there is a dekeing system. You hold the B button and move the stick either left or right. This is the only part of the control scheme I found to be sketchy at times. It would be a little delayed at times which makes for precision dekeing hard to do, especially if you are used to the Xbox or PS3 versions of the NHL franchise with the Skill Stick. For the most part you can't toe drag, it's only back and forth, which for this game is all you need. The rosters are very outdated right out of the box. I haven't tried to update since I got the game in September. I can imagine as they update the NHL 11 rosters that the Slapshot rosters will get the download. You have to have your Wii connected to an internet source to get the roster update.
Out of the box the game is very fun and responsive. You can jump in and play very quickly. The tutorial is very specific on how to play and it is worth going through for first time players of the game.
Sisterly input: As I played this game I thoroughly enjoyed playing it. The games controls are very easy to pick up and very easy to play. I thought the game handled very well and enjoyed playing it when I did play it. I think even if you don’t like hockey or don’t know much about it, you can pick up the controls and play very easily.
Sound: When I popped the game in for the first time there is one thing I very quickly noticed. The music is the same as the NHL11 counterpart. I can’t complain about it for the fact the music in NHL11 is awesome and fits the game perfectly. The only reason it is a letdown is because maybe they could have had added a few different songs and mixed it up. Either way it is a good set of songs to get you pumped up while playing the fastest sport on earth.
While playing through the single player portion of the game one thing I noticed while playing as a Peewee was the great amount of sound effects they added. Being you play in an outside arena, you hear cars driving past you. The horn every time you score is a car horn. A lot different compared to the horn in any arena. You hear the parents scream for their kids and when big hits happen you hear the parents and coaches telling you to calm down and such. The sounds are a very good way of setting the atmosphere. Only thing not included is real life snow that you can lay around your house to make the atmosphere perfect. Playing quick play with NHL teams has the standard affair of sounds. While not bad, they aren’t particularly inspired. They do the job they are set to do. Put the player in the arena and kick butt as their favorite team. Overall the sounds are great when going through career, but having Pantera’s Walk play while in the menus of playing the Peewee setting can be weird. Especially if you have kids playing the game and not adults. They do what sound should do. Set the mood and immerse you.
Sisterly Input: I read the portion of the review that my brother wrote about sound and I have to say, I noticed none of that stuff. I was focusing too hard on actually playing the game to notice the intricate sounds that my brother mentions. I’m what you call a casual gamer so playing this game was a bit of a challenge at first. One thing I did notice is that the games soundtrack was kind of lacking for the most part. I think they could have added a few more songs to switch up the soundtrack a little bit.
Lasting Appeal: It’s hard to determine this value. It all honestly boils down to how much of a hockey fan you are. For me, I am a big hockey fan so this game is a great addition to my limited Wii game collection. It’s a great piece of gaming fun. To people who are casual fans, it may see the inside of the Wii less often than other games will. With multiplayer the game is VERY, VERY fun. But having a friend that won’t mind looking goofy with you may be hard to find. There are mini games which will occupy your time very shortly. A good addition, but, nothing too in depth.
Sisterly Input: This game is fun, but for me, not my cup of tea. I had fun playing it, but after playing it for the review, I doubt I will pick the game up unless challenged to a duel by my brother.
Closing Comments: With all that was said about NHL Slapshot, it is well worth the purchase. But only if you are avid hockey fan. That line isn’t meant to discourage the casual hockey fan. NHL Slapshot seems more like a fan service to those fans who got the Wii and don’t want a PS3 or 360 and that don’t like the 2k franchise. Up until Slapshot’s release, the Wii had one hockey franchise that fans were forced to buy. With the release of Slapshot, we as fans of hockey and both video games in general are praying for a great competitive spirit between the two franchises to better themselves in the years to come. If Slapshot is to be a yearly release like its NHL counterpart on Xbox and PS3, the series will surely need to improve. NHL on the other consoles is a proven winner over the past few years. I am hoping in the years to come the Wii version can be up there in the lime light with its sibling. Give this franchise a few years and I think we can be talking about Wii GOTY for sure.
Sisterly Input: NHL Slapshot was a really fun game to play, especially for a person who didn’t watch that much hockey or have ever played the sport. It was a fun game for me to get into and I enjoyed my time with it. This game actually had me get into hockey more than what I was when I came into this experience. Now instead of casually watching hockey like I did before, I watch my local team, (Go Bolts!) and I know more about the rules and how the game is played.