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
  1. With barely a visual hitch, exceptional presentation, engaging online, improved controls and an unmatched level of realism, there’s almost nothing to prevent a full recommendation to any fan of hockey or sports games in general.
  2. 80
    It’s almost a perfect game. Severe online connection bugs and freezing problems hamper the experience enough that we can’t give it a full five out of five.
  3. The game is a vast improvement on what was already a fantastic product in NHL 08, which is due in great part to this year’s pioneering (and addictive) modes.
  4. With NHL 09, you not only get the best hockey game but by-far the best sports game available on the market right now. The ‘Be a Pro’ mode is solid and the plethora of options make this a hard game not to play.
  5. With its unparalleled controls, refined presentation, and unrivaled selection of game modes, NHL 09 is the best hockey game ever created.
  6. Otherwise, NHL 09 is easily in the running for the title of Best Hockey Game Ever, with some people leaning towards one of the great games of the past and others leaning towards the dearth of great modes in NHL 09.
  7. If you are a sports fan, regardless of whether you would class yourself as a hockey fan, this is the game to play. It has the right pacing, can lure you in and brings a lot of depth and entertainment value.
  8. It is engrossing, and it is thorough. It has simple plug and play exhibition game mode for casual fans, and in depth stats, analysis, and career modes for the die hard. If you are a hockey fan or a sports game enthusiast, this is the game for you.
  9. 90
    NHL 09 isn’t just a great hockey game, it’s one of the best sports games to be released in the last decade.
  10. Move over Blades of Steel, NHL 09 has earned its place among the greatest sports games of all time.
  11. NHL 09 will not only win Sports Game of the Year, but could definitely hold a strong argument for greatest sports title of all time. EA Canada has truly outdone itself this time around the rink.
  12. You will only experience more ice hockey feeling live on TV! Electronic Art has created a game that doesn’t have to worry about competition. Simply the best in the genre!
  13. With its beautiful presentation, broadcast-like feel, smooth control scheme, and innovative new online functions, NHL 09 is not only the best hockey title on the market, it may very well be the best of all-time.
  14. 88
    A breathtakingly well-made sports game, with almost nothing to fault and everything to enjoy. Accessible, deep, attractive and brutal in equal measure, and highly, highly entertaining.
  15. In the end, probably the best remark I can make about the game is that it is one of more accessible available from the selection of EA Sports branded titles, and as a result of this, it’s probably one of the most fun to play.
  16. EA didn't just make their game look, sound, and play superbly, but they even brought their "A" game when it comes to features as well.
  17. 83
    2K Sports' "NHL 2K9" is not a bad game, especially if you'd rather get out there and play than spend time learning button combos. But even with its few warts, NHL 09 is simply too big, too adventurous, too pretty, and too danged consuming to be considered anything other than the best hockey videogame ever produced.
  18. If it’s hockey you’re looking for, get ready to lose a few teeth and go tough it out already.
  19. Last year's race between 2K Sports and EA Sports' hockey franchises was almost a dead heat. This year, EA's NHL 09 takes Lord Stanley's Cup, thanks to a combination of what worked well last year and some sweet new features.
  20. There's a ton of depth here - line changes and create-a-play customisations are just the start - but the main thing is that it plays fast and fluid [Oct 2008, p.104]
  21. NHL 09 is as real of a hockey game as it can get. It looks great, sounds good (if repetitive), plays great and has an amazing set of features.
  22. EA have once again upped the ante on an already sterling series. [Oct 2008, p.78]
  23. Be a Pro mode closes the gap between sport and roleplaying games. [Sept 2008]
  24. In short, if you're a hockey nut and you're trying to decide which game to throw your hockey dollars at, look no further than NHL 09. [Nov 2008, p.86]
  25. NHL 09 is not a simulation of professional hockey. It’s a game. A fun game, no doubt, but it’s more like an entertaining movie based on a good book which was based on actual events.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 38 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. [Anonymous]
    Apr 8, 2009
    Pros: game looks great, opponent AI is smart, good degree of control for team strategy, innovative player controls cons: teammate AI is horrible, framerate issues, no season/stanley cup mode, control takes a lot of getting used to and still doesn't always feel self-intuitive conclusion: the steep learning curve may be frustrating for many people. aside from that, its great if you want to put the time into learning to play, or for be a pro mode. if youre not interested in BAP, dynasty is good, but if you don't like the depth, the lack of other modes would make me encourage you to look elsewhere. Full Review »
  2. peterG
    Mar 5, 2009
    I'm glad that EA sports has finally decided to put some effort into their NHL games. For a while there, they never really added huge things to the gameplay until NHL08, which actually surprised me despite the fact that there wasn't very many game modes. this year, I was thinking that this game would be pretty much the same as 08, until I realised that there was be a pro, thats why I got this game. Although Be a pro mode to me was disappointing becaus they expect so much out of you even tohugh your linemates can't even do a freaken one timer.... However, there were some additions that I did like and the main thing being the online league.... that is awesome!! Full Review »
  3. davidl
    Nov 12, 2008
    In hockey it doesn't get much better then this. I've owned about 10 different NHL games in my lifetime all the way dating to NHL94. there is a huge improvement over nhl08. the game isn't drastically different but there are so many fine tuned areas that needed adjustments in 08' and they hit it pretty dead on with 09'. they use the same gfx engine but cleaned it up and fixed the framerate issues that were seen in 08. online is fantastic, once in a while i run into lag but it gives you the option to only play people only in your region so that can help avoiding lag. generally after a while of playing iif you know what you are doing the games are fair online and there are no real exploits that i know of right now that work. there was one goal exploit but it was fixed within a month or so of release. ****10/10 in my book, a must buy. Full Review »