Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Not to be outdone, EA Sports has upped the ante with NHL 2004 and it truly has left me speechless. What am I so excited about? One word - Dynasty Mode... For hockey fans, this is a no brainer. [Sept 2003, p.88]
  2. Saying that EA has turned it on this year is the understatement of the century... When it comes to your hard-earned dollar, the puck stops at NHL 2004. It's easly the best hockey title of the year. [Oct 2003, p.121]
  3. The truth is that simulation freaks who want their hockey tough and real could do no better. Arcade lovers should probably look elsewhere.
  4. This is almost certainly the best release in the history of the NHL series and one of the most authentic action-oriented sports games currently on the market.
  5. It's true that NHL 2004 is a tougher game to get involved with compared to past versions of the franchise. But, with more leagues (including elite world clubs), more players and new enhanced moves, there is plenty here for fans to enjoy, if you have the stamina to master it all, that is.
  6. 88
    Mimics the real thing more than ever and therefore the joys of the sport are found in big hits, near misses and brilliant scoring opportunities that barely miss lighting the lamp. If you can get over the fact that scoring is going to be reserved only for those that deserve it.
  7. In a few fundamental ways, the game actually does manage to beat out the opposition, though ultimately it falls a bit short of being the best overall package. It's still a really great hockey game in its own right, though.
  8. 88
    Expanded fight controls include grappling, punch selection and the ability to pull off the gloves whenever rink rage overcomes you. [Oct 2003, p.37]
  9. For those of you that want a good game of hockey that you can play online and may have a little less simulation than "ESPN NHL Hockey," this game is for you.

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