• Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: Nov 10, 2002

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 25
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 25
  3. Negative: 0 out of 25
Buy On
  1. 100
    If you’re looking to play hockey of the NHL variety, to tackle pro challenges and use real-life strategies, NHL 2K3 will thrill you as much as watching your team heroically survive a five-on-three penalty kill.
  2. 100
    Treyarch has done a masterful job with this game, satisfying the needs of serious hockey fans without losing sight of the fact that a sports game has to be fun.
  3. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    It's so good that it'll have hardcore hockey fans enthralled. [Jan 2003, p.134]
  4. GameNow
    Speaking of realistic, the checking and board play in 2K3 is light-years beyond anything else on the market. [Jan 2003, p.54]
  5. The most realistic and best hockey game you’ll find on the market anywhere.
  6. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The rock-solid gamelay has been tuned to perfection and no other game sweats the details like this. [Jan 2003, p.176]
  7. With AI that is light years ahead of EA Sports, a simulation experience that's second to none, and a fun - if somewhat fickle - online experience with Xbox, the serious hockey gamer should only look at one title this year.
  8. Unlike EA’s NHL games, which have generally put an emphasis on offense, NHL 2K3 is a much more balanced game. Most players will not score an average of 10 goals a game in NHL 2K3.
  9. netjak
    Easily the best hockey game of the season. It takes every bad decision that EA made in regards to its NHL franchise and makes it good.
  10. GMR Magazine
    For the more discerning hockey connoisseur, NHL2K3 has made great strides since its debut on the now defunct Dreamcast. [Feb 2003, p.93]
  11. While I'll play games of arcade style hockey for instant gratification, I'll stick with NHL 2K3 for its depth. It's as close to real hockey as you can find currently on a console.
  12. 90
    The biggest difference between 2K3 and its competition, though, is the game's physics. Players move like they're actually on ice.
  13. Even with the mediocre visuals and sub-par sound, NHL 2K3’s gameplay has enough depth to it that it deserves the best hockey game of the year award. In fact, it could be one of the best ever created in the last decade, rivaling some Genesis greats.
  14. Control-wise, NHL 2K3 is sheer perfection.
  15. 87
    If you are a fan of hockey or if you want to try hockey on a level beyond "Hitz" and "NHL 2003," then this is absolutely the way to go. And it doesn't hurt that it's online!
  16. The visuals are excellent, commentary exciting and convincing, and overall enjoyment is top-notch. Highly recommended.
  17. The PS2 version is hurt by its lack of online support, but if you don't care for the online play, or you don't have an Xbox, then don't let this dissuade you from picking up this otherwise excellent game.
  18. The gameplay is tight (after a few initial tweaks) and it blurs the line between sim and arcade styles of gameplay.
  19. Does an excellent job on the ice, providing the best all around control that I've ever seen. Good physics and a solid presentation add to the show.
  20. PSM Magazine
    The game's major faults are a drop in the framerate when players swarm the ice during a line change, slower gameplay than some of the more current hockey titles, and its audio effects. [Holiday 2002, p.44]
  21. 80
    Immediate enough to attract casual hockey fans, or even those who don't care for or know anything about the sport. It also provides a deep level of simulation and customization for those who know and love their hockey.
  22. It actually hits a pretty good balance, being much more realistic, and yet still easy to control, like an arcade style game.
  23. Play Magazine
    NHL 2K3's biggest accomplishment is without question the AI: it is absolutely brilliant - especially the goalie. [Jan 2003, p.84]
  24. It offers everything good about next-gen sports games: smooth, fluid game play; atmospheric sights and sounds; arcade to reality; options galore; a potentially unlimited lifespan.
  25. Everything that NHL 2003 does “NHL 2K3” can perform just as well, except for the fancy presentation aspects that EA Sports has polished to near-perfection (and which Sega Sports is still learning to implement properly).

Awards & Rankings

#57 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2002
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 3 out of 17
  1. $GMoney$GIrdham
    Apr 26, 2007
    This is the best hockey game i have ever played. It has excellent graphics, fabulous commentary, hard checking, and great sound. GO WINGS!
  2. 3D
    Dec 23, 2003
    The only fault I ever had was the lack of online capabilities on the PS2. I have never, in my life, played a hockey game more realistic than The only fault I ever had was the lack of online capabilities on the PS2. I have never, in my life, played a hockey game more realistic than this. Best of all, the computer doesnt score cheap goals on you like all other hockey games, and its actually difficult to score goals. Full Review »
  3. mr.420bliz-blunt
    May 5, 2003
    By far the best damn hockey game period. It blow's all others out the bong water,even that want to be nhl 2k3, nhl 2003 by ea sports.By far the best damn hockey game period. It blow's all others out the bong water,even that want to be nhl 2k3, nhl 2003 by ea sports. 2003 is a above average game, but that d-chase nuts guy is sucking off mr. madden. who would want a game where you score 10 goals a game on the hardest settings,and the sped players don't know how to pick up a rebound, i think the makers of this ea sport's nhl2003 rode the really short bus if you know what i mean d- nut chaser.The people who won't like 2k3 are not real hockey fans and either watch hockey for the fight's or sit next to the ea sport flamers on the bus. Your vagina's all sandy about some sound problem,but ea sports forgot to master the gameplay before moving on to the sweet soundtrack and extra's they do set up.So stick to 2k3 because i wouldn't have gave it a ten if it wasn't the best hockey game ever put together.The big boy's are 2k3ing it up, while the tot's are stroking of to nhl2003. 2k3 smokes the rest like a tightly rolled up dooby of dizity danks. Oh yeah big ed i think the ed stands for (easily deceived)because simple minds are ed. stl .blues don't forget it ,peace Full Review »