Wii Review: NHL 2K9

Smashing the puck with the Wii Remote has never felt so satisfying

As the first and only officially licensed NHL and NHLPA videogame for Wii, NHL 2K9 will offer fans the fun opportunity to play like the pros using the Wii Remote controller as a hockey stick, and experience the sport in a new, entertaining and wholly unique manner!

Pick-Up-And-Play Controls: Execute wrist shots with the flick of the Wii Remote or put some power into your stick by holding the B button while flicking to blast a slapper.

Wii Remote Fighting: Fully interactive on-ice showdowns, making use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controller to drop gloves, punch and balance!

Precision Passing/Chain Passing: Take the guesswork out of passing by selecting players with the Wii Remote cursor. One-timers, give-and-gos and tic-tac-toe passing are executed by selecting multiple players prior to pressing the pass or A button.

Wii Remote Goaltending: Gesture-based goaltending allows gamers to get between the pipes and flash the leather. Even take control when it counts the most – in shootouts!

Full-Featured Gameplay: NHL 2K9 on Wii offers a fully-featured, fun hockey experience complete with Franchise Mode, Zamboni Races, Superstar Moves and more!

A while back I reviewed the 360 version of NHL 2K9 and enjoyed it quite a bit, although not nearly as much as EA’s NHL 09. The competition between the two was pretty close this year, so I had high hopes for the Wii version and if it could sway me a bit more back to the 2K9 camp.

Sure enough, I was right. NHL 2K9 on the Wii is a fun and enjoyable game that offers the same modes as the 360 version (minus online play) so you might wonder if it offers a bit less than the other version, why did you enjoy it more? Well, that’s down to the Wii controls of course. You get a cursor during a game and you point it at the player you wish to pass to and then tap A. To take a shot, it’s a simple case of swinging the Wii Remote and that’s all there is to it. Very simple stuff indeed.

Violence is a common area of NHL that has been explored by mini-game fights during matches. The controls have never felt right until they were improved for the Wii, while they still need some work…they definitely feel better than any other fighting mechanic in an NHL game before it. All the other features of the game are here, it’s just a shame that they didn’t include online.

Precision seems to be the main focus of the Wii version and it definitely works. I would have liked to see a unique mode that the other versions didn’t get, so there’s sadly nothing different about the versions besides the way it controls. Having said that, the Wii controls feel much more natural than the other versions, it’s just a shame that it’s the only thing separating them. Visually, NHL 2K9 is pretty strong for a Wii game. It supports 480p so it looks better than most on those big TV’s. Load times are short, character animation is detailed and models are authentic enough, it won’t blow you away but it won’t disappoint either.

The one thing that goes in NHL 2K9’s advantage is that it has literally no competition to dethrone it. EA hasn’t brought out a NHL game for the Wii thus far for some strange reason and so NHL 2K9 has free roam over the Wii market. I wonder why EA hasn’t released one? Especially when they released this year’s NHL 09 for the PS2. No matter…NHL 2K9 reigns supreme on the Wii…for now.

The Verdict

NHL 2K9 has plenty to get your teeth into. It sadly lacks online which takes away a few points, but the rest is intact and the motion controls are great. EA doesn’t know what its missing by not bringing out a NHL game on the Wii.