A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players can engage in brawls that give your team an emotional boost. But this combative behavior often come at a hefty price. Players fighting are assessed big penalties, and can even leave their team shorthanded, putting them at greater risk of giving up goals and losing the game.
Positive Role Models
As in real hockey, players can start fights or attempt to rough up opponents whenever they choose. But again, the penalties for doing so can be stiff.
Ease of Play
The game is built to accomodate any type of play style. Players can opt for a more arcade feel through the casual game setting and the use of classic, three-button controls. The more complex layout requires players to control and shoot the puck using the right analog stick, while the right trigger delivers passes. Learning these controls is tricky at first, but there is enough flexibility in difficulty to make the process rewarding. There's also a tutorial that pops up when you first start the game to learn the basics.
Violence & Scariness
Players can initiate brawls with opponents at any point in the game. If the opponent chooses to fight, the camera shifts to a first-person perspective as players throw punches at each other. However, no blood is shown during these fights.
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Products & Purchases
Players can see various logos throughout arenas from either hockey-related companies (Bauer) or general sports firms (Upper Deck, Reebok).
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a straightforward simulation of professional hockey. With that, of course, comes some physical play such as checking players into boards or even starting brawls. When a fight occurs, the camera shifts into a first-person perspective, making it feel more immersive. However, the game doesn't show blood. The game is also playable online with open chat, which can expose gamers to unmoderated play.
Is It Any Good?
NHL 10 is perhaps the best, most realistic representation of pro hockey available. This year's game adds only a couple new but key features to an already fantastic experience. The most notable change is the fighting, which feels far more immersive from a first-person perspective. Initiating fights is also easier, but just like the real sport, there's a penalty for choosing to start a brawl.
Fighting isn't the only key change. Players can now pin opponents more easily against the boards to trap the puck better, while passing feels slightly more precise. Developers have also done more to make the game accessible to novices. Not only can they set the difficulty and simplify the controls, but they can change the play style ranging from a casual, fast-paced game to a more authentic experience. The new modes, such as Battle for the Stanley Cup, help to add a bit more variety to what is an already astounding franchise.
Online interaction: Players are able to chat with each other online during games. These interactions can contain language that parents would prefer their kids not hear. Players can also create their own player for use in online hockey leagues.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.