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25 Aug, 2001 By: Hive News

NHL 2002
Street 9/18/01 (PlayStation 2); 12/11/01 (Xbox)
Electronic Arts
Sports, $49.99

While EA Sports’ initial outing on PlayStation 2 was the best hockey game ever created, it did have its flaws, notably a choppy frame rate and the omission of a career mode.

Everything’s been improved with this follow-up, including a 10-year career mode and more fluid, realistic action.

Like the Madden franchise, NHL now includes NHL Cards, which unlock newabilities and special game modes, adding to the already high replay value.

The game also includes “story line,” play-by-play commentary and all newanimations for a TV-style presentation. The gameplay is excellent and the game runs fast with no delays.

EA gets a leg up on the competition (Midway’s NHL Blitz 2002 ships Oct. 30and Sony’s NHL FaceOff 2002 ships Nov. 1) for PlayStation 2 and once againbrings the best hockey franchise to multiple platforms. This is a must-haverental for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. —John Gaudiosi

Arctic Thunder
Street 9/18/01 (PlayStation 2); 11/8/01 (Xbox)
Action, $49.99

This expansion of Midway’s arcade snowmobile combat racer packs a lot of new features into the box. In addition to all the levels and characters from the arcade mode, the game offers six new tracks, 13 new vehicles, a multiplayer battle mode and all-new power-ups.

The gameplay offers brisk arcade action as players zip through huge fantasy courses from Washington, D.C. to the Swiss Alps, gunning for thefinish line while taking out competitors with weapons. With excellent graphics and great replay value, this game is a lot of fun.

Midway has had success with its Thunder series of arcade and console games and Arctic Thunder has a wide open genre on both PlayStation 2 and Xbox to take advantage at retail.

This is a definite rental that faces off against EA’s Sled Storm 2 fromEA later this fall, but should hold its own. —John Gaudiosi

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