NHL '98

EA Sports is back on the top with its fast, new hockey title

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts
Genre: Sports

Back in the 16-bit days, EA Sports was the undisputed leader of hockey games. However, with the transition to 32-bit, their clear lead was somewhat eroded by other quality entries into the hockey marketplace. NHL 98, however, should put EA Sports back as the number one leader. It s the company s best hockey title since its 16-bit glory days, and one of the best hockey titles on the PlayStation so far.

The first thing you notice when you power up NHL 98 is the graphics. With fast moving players and life-like models, the game really captures the look and feel of hockey. The on-screen players even pass the up-close and personal test, looking just as good from the ice as they do from above.

Control is just as fantastic as the graphics. The game moves very quickly, but is never uncontrollable. The intuitive control allows players to focus on the finer points of the game such as strategy and player management.

While graphics and control are essential to any game, EA Sports has gone the extra mile to ensure NHL 98 s place at the top of the heap. Case in point: in-game strategy options. In most titles, a change in strategy requires a pause, a menu search, and a selection, but in NHL 98, players can change strategies on the fly. It only takes a little while for those who don't even care about strategy to experiment with new offenses and defenses that match their playing style. This changes the whole way hockey strategy is used.

With Virgin's Powerplay and Acclaim's Breakaway already released, NHL 98 should hit the market as the best hockey title currently available for the system. However, Sony is releasing its own title very soon, offering up some tough competition. Nevertheless, with excellent sound effects and an attention to detail that would make even the most hardcore hockey fan jump for joy, NHL 98 is definitely one to add to your collection. We ll just have to wait a little longer to determine which company has the best hockey title.