NHL 2K9 was the first game in the series developed by Visual Concepts, a multi-platform release without any significant differences between the game that appears on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 and Wii. The PlayStation2 release however was simply an update of the previous NHL 2K games on the PlayStation2 originally developed by Kush Games.
NHL 2K9 features player rosters (as defined by the NHLPA), physical and mental attributes, and rule sets appropriate to the on-ice product for the NHL's 2008-2009 season. While these aspects are the default settings, the player is allowed to modify the game rules, presentation aspects, and player attributes to suit their own purposes when playing the game.
In addition to NHL teams with rosters accurate prior to the 2008-2009 season, the game allows players to play as historic teams. These teams are presented with appropriate uniforms, logos and team names, and the season from which they were taken. Player names, however, are absent, as licensing deals with each individual retired players do not exist. Instead they are referred to by position and number.
Commentary during the game is provided by the San Jose Sharks' team of Randy Hahn, Drew Remenda, and John Shrader.
New Features on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
This iteration in the NHL 2K series does not offer major revisions to the established formula. Instead development focused on adding new control options, improved graphics, more plentiful animations, and presentation changes. 2K9 also features robust online play (up to 12 consoles, accounting for all on-ice players), a new replay editor called Reel Maker, and a new mini game where the player can drive the Zamboni.
New Features on the Wii
NHL 2K9 is the first NHL hockey game to appear on the Wii. The Wii version did not feature online play or the new replay editor. The Wii version does add motion controls, which are incorporated into all aspects of gameplay, including shooting, passing, goaltending, and fighting.
In addition to the normal game modes (Quick Play, Franchise, Season, etc), NHL 2K9 offers mini games that allow for more casual play.
- Pond Hockey - A four on four (with goalies) where any player from the game can be chosen to form a team, and action takes place on a frozen pond
- Mini Rink - A two on two (with goalies) where any player from the game can be chosen to form a team, and the action takes place on a smaller indoor rink
- Zamboni - During intermissions, the player can control the Zamboni, and attempt to clean a certain percentage of the ice within the given time limit. This can also be done with two players competing for the most amount of ice cleaned.
The following international teams appear in the game:
- Czech Republic
- United States
- Bad Religion – "New Dark Ages"
- Genghis Tron – "Things Don't Look Good"
- High on Fire – "Rumors of War"
- Inner Circle – "Bad Boys"
- Joe Satriani – "Crowd Chant"
- Mastodon – "Iron Tusk"
- NOFX – "Linoleum"
- Operation Ivy – "Bankshot"
- Pennywise – "Knocked Down"
- Protest the Hero – "Goddess Gagged"
- Recliner – "Find a Way"
- The Night Marchers – "Closed for Inventory"
- The Offspring – "Nitro (Youth Energy)"
- The Ramones – "Blitzkrieg Bop"