• Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: Sep 9, 2003
Metascore
90

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. The presentation is probably the best in any sports game out on the market. You can truly see the ESPN integration in the game. The cut scenes are beautiful and commentating is great.
  2. New features, new modes, tons of options, great control and online play makes this the hockey game that others will be compared to.
  3. For the second consecutive year, it leaves the competition slack-jawed and two steps behind with its finesse game. Aside from being the best looking of the latest hockey titles, it's also the most realistic. [Oct 2003, p.138]
  4. A near-flawless gameplay experience that is marred only by a slightly deficient Franchise mode, but when you have a game that exudes this much quality in just about every other facet I’m more than happy to overlook it.
  5. If they can just clean up the fighting and add some extra fire to the Franchise, we’ll definitely be seeing this series' “A” game.
  6. 91
    You won't find a smoother hockey game. [Oct 2003, p.61]
  7. Its extremely well-crafted gameplay, host of new modes and unlockables, upgraded presentational aspects, and truly amazing commentary easily outdo any issues the game might suffer from. The sum of its parts add up to one of, if not, the finest hockey games ever created.
  8. Bar none, one of the most satisfying ice hockey titles to grace the PS2 console so far. It really does come close to perfection in everyway and that is saying a lot considering the fact that last year’s "NHL 2K3" was at the top of its game.
  9. The control is spot-on, player ratings make a huge difference in checking, skating and passing, and it just feels like real on-ice action. ESPN NHL 2K4 has ironed out most of the wrinkles from last year, and turned the presentation up to 11 - you won't find a better playing, better looking, or better sounding hockey game available.
  10. 93
    The finest hockey video game we've ever played...The graphics have been refined, the gameplay has been considerably tightened, the already great control has been made better, and there are several new modes to keep everyone quite happy.
  11. 96
    Not only does ESPN NHL Hockey retain all of the rock-solid gameplay the was present in NHL 2K3, but it couples it with a presentation that is the closest to a television broadcast feel as any hockey game has ever come.
  12. The best hockey game I've ever played, hands down... ESPN's goalies look so good between the pipes, it's almost scary. [Oct 2003, p.120]
  13. The true star of the ESPN NHL Hockey is the play-by-play commentary. Courtesy of ESPN's Gary Throne and Bill Clement, this is some of the best commentary I've ever heard in a hockey game. [Jan 2004, p.80]
  14. Owns the three most important categories this year: graphics, gameplay, and online multiplayer. This, it's this season's Stanley Cup Winner. [Nov 2003, p.44]
  15. Fine visuals, excellent sound and a level of presentation currently unrivalled in any sporting product - what more could you want?
  16. A stunning game. Graphics, sound and online play benefit the most from the treatment, but there isn't an aspect of gameplay that hasn't received attention, making this the most comprehensive slapshot sim available.
User Score
7.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 21 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 2 out of 17
  1. RyanK.
    Dec 31, 2003
    7
    This Christmas I got NHL 2004. After hearing all the reviews, I decided to buy ESPN NHL Hockey. After I played it I was unsure of it. I have This Christmas I got NHL 2004. After hearing all the reviews, I decided to buy ESPN NHL Hockey. After I played it I was unsure of it. I have been playing the EA Sports series for 5 years and ESPN had a completely different feel. If you dont like ESPN, play it for more than one game and it will grow on you. I now love it. It is the best hockey game by far and the graphics blow by those in NHL 2004. Full Review »
  2. JoeS.
    Dec 10, 2003
    5
    ESPN NHL HOCKEY is a game that is well designed. With its smooth play and great graphics, I highly recommend it. But it doesn't come ESPN NHL HOCKEY is a game that is well designed. With its smooth play and great graphics, I highly recommend it. But it doesn't come close to the realism that NHL 2004 delivers. EA sports, it's in the game!!! Full Review »
  3. UM
    Nov 18, 2003
    3
    I don't know what the big fuss about this game is. When I got it I was expecting so much more from all of the great reviews it got. I don't know what the big fuss about this game is. When I got it I was expecting so much more from all of the great reviews it got. Complete garbage if you ask me. The special moves are so crappy & you can't even manual deke like in NHL 2004, I mean common flipping the puck is considered a deke. Complete garbage. Full Review »