Mixed or average reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
Buy On
  1. There are three excellent control options available for both old-school players and precision shooters. They work most of the time, although realism takes a back seat with the excessive checking and occasionally dumbfounded artificial intelligence.
  2. The best decision the development team made was scrapping last year’s (too?) complicated control scheme for a streamlined series of options, including one that apes EA’s superb right stick/hockey stick mechanic.
  3. 80
    The controls have been fixed, it's fun, and there are some nice touches to the presentation. But the AI is very suspect and the emphasis on fun hurts the authenticity, which was once 2K's biggest selling point.
  4. NHL 2K9 will appeal to longtime fans of the series, though gamers looking for a more realistic experience are likely to jump ship to NHL 09 for this season.
  5. A buy to whoever felt intimidated by NHL 09’s approach in terms of game modes and controls. For the hardcore hockey’s hard to recommend but it deserves a good look.
  6. The AI is extremely questionable, the graphics are good but not worth writing home about, the player control – while certainly easier – seems too stripped down, and there just aren’t enough sim elements to keep the hardcore hockey fan interested. On the other hand, the sound and accessibility drags us into the experience, there are plenty of simulated aspects that override any thoughts of classifying NHL 2K9 as an arcade-style sports game.
  7. Without the franchise problem, NHL 2k9 would be recommendation with no qualifications.
  8. What we have with NHL 2k9 is a top shelf hockey game that still needs some tweaking to perfect the on-ice experience. That said, the impact on the authenticity of the game of having such unparalleled realism in the realm of puck physics cannot be overstated.
  9. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Everywhere that 2K9 is good, "NHL 09" is excellent. [Nov 2008, p.111]
  10. With a new team as developers came a fresh start for the series, which in the case of NHL 2K9 is both a good and a negative decision. The gameplay has been greatly simplified, but unfortunately the rest of the experience feels somewhat dumbed down as well. The AI can be somewhat shaky to say the least and the goalies are way to easy to outsmart even at the higher difficulties. A foundation may have been laid with NHL 2K9, but the potential isn't realised in this years game.
  11. NHL 2K9 for the PS3 is a title that like any veteran NHL player knows how to put forth a solid effort.
  12. PSM3 Magazine UK
    There's a solid season mode, but "NHL 09" offers all this and more. [Dec 2008, p.87]
  13. 71
    EA has made some great changes this year, much the same as with its FIFA franchise. 2K9 doesn’t seem to have taken it far enough, and the small additions just leave us wanting more.
  14. With all that said, it's with heavy heart that we point anyone looking for a fun hockey game to NHL 09. We loathe to do this in light of NHL 2K9's impressive online features (tournaments and six-on-six with 11 other players), but the rest of the package just doesn't live up to expectations.
  15. Playing a mess like NHL 2K9, it’s hard to think that just a few years ago this was the hockey game of choice for serious puckheads. Now it would take several pucks to the head to even make me consider paying money for this experience.
  16. If you can overlook the disappointing realism and focus on the tight multiplayer, NHL 2K9 may be worth a rental.
  17. AI issues and the lack of any significant new features have NHL 2K9 skating backward this year.
  18. If you can stand the controls, 2K makes a decent outing, though hockey fans should definitely spend their time and money on EA’s simulation for a superior hockey experience.
  19. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    If you're only planning on buying one hockey title this season, unless you're a diehard 2K fan, we'd recommend at least checking out NHL 09 first. [Nov 2008, p.87]
  20. 60
    It's hard to really bash NHL 2K9 other than to say it's a little bit of hockey-lite. "NHL 09" offers more realism and gets our nod for overall long-term value.
  21. So there you have it: 2K9 comes off as a misguided effort to streamline the experience and create gameplay where realism comes before responsiveness.

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