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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a near-authentic pro hockey simulation, right down to the violent hits and fighting. Engaging in brawls is handled randomly, therefore isn't as easy to execute. Also, you're always punished by a 5-minute penalty. With the Wii controls, you'll actually use a punching motion with the remote to fight. The game for PS3 and Xbox 360 is playable online, a feature Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for kids under age 12.
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- Kids say
What's it about?
The Wii remote has doubled as a tennis racket, baseball bat, and golf club. You can now add hockey stick to the list. For the first time, the NHL joins the Wii with the release of NHL 2K9, a satisfying hockey simulation in need of a little more polish. The key change from previous years is the franchise's debut on the Wii. Using flicks of the wrist, players fire off slapshots and perform defensive moves with the remote. Another adjustment across all platforms is an emphasis on simplifying gameplay. Players can stick to two or three buttons maximum if they prefer, or can adjust to a more complex control scheme.
Is it any good?
Other than changes to controls, the franchise doesn't add anything incredibly compelling. Players can drive the Zamboni in between periods in a briefly entertaining mini-game. The online component on the PS3 and 360 has been fleshed out to include games with only human competitors and a film feature so you can record, edit, and save highlights.
The presentation now resembles a television broadcast with sideline reporters and post-game highlights. While the PS3 and 360 visuals pack a solid punch, the Wii looks too gritty. Distinguishing jersey and facial details is much harder to do, which is a key component for a game aiming to create a lifelike experience. Overall, NHL 2K9 is still enjoyable, but could use a touch more refining.