Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 41
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 41
  3. Negative: 0 out of 41
Buy On
  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. Even if you aren’t a fan of sports games, the game is so good it could turn you into one.
  2. 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.
  3. 100
    EA Sports has been doing fine work on this series for the last few years, but everything until now only seems like groundwork for this years version. Small problems aside this is the best game of hockey ever made.
  4. You don’t even have to be a psychotic hockey fan to enjoy NHL 09; just a fan of sports in general and of solid Xbox 360 software. Of course pick this one up if you live and breathe the NHL hockey season, but NHL 09 is also worth a look by those that are still searching for that killer, HD-era sports application.
  5. With its unparalleled controls, refined presentation, and unrivaled selection of game modes, NHL 09 is the best hockey game ever created.
  6. NHL 09 is hands-down the best sports game yet.
  7. There are some issues, but on the whole, playing NHL 09 feels incredibly realistic. It's a deep, challenging game, but it's so rewarding when everything finally clicks.
  8. Another great version of ice hockey for the Xbox 360. The amount on offer and a great online community will keep you on this game for ages.
  9. Competition has pushed EA this far and quite honestly they have just about buried 2K in the snow.
  10. 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.
  11. 92
    It was one of the best, if not the gold standard for sports genre video games last year, and it looks set to re-claim that title yet again this year.
  12. I highly recommend NHL 09 for the Xbox 360 to any sports fan out there even if you are not familiar with the hockey at the NHL level.
  13. Whether you’re a two-way center, fourth line brawler, or an offensive defenseman with a nose for the net, NHL 09 is the hockey game for you.
  14. 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.
  15. NHL 09 is a great hockey title, offering some fantastic new features, a deep Be A Pro mode, and some awesome online features.
  16. We love it when a sports game comes together. With NHL 09, all the potential this series has teased us with for the past two seasons has finally gelled into actual, grade-A greatness.
  17. 90
    The controls feel a bit antiquated now that we've been acclimated to the Skill Stick, but it's an excellent way to introduce your non-sports game loving friends to one of the best sports titles in years.
  18. 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.
  19. The latest entry in EA's venerable hockey franchise is the best yet.
  20. I can't suggest it enough that one needs to buy this title or in the very least give it a rental for the online play. Be a Pro mode is outstanding and the Online League action is just awesome.
  21. At this point in time, EA Canada has the NHL franchise down to a science. But this year, rather than just spit out another instalment, they took the time to do some really interesting things while refining things like hitting and getting the control aspects almost perfect. NHL 09 is highly recommended.
  22. Most sports games are released every year, and you can usually expect just a few minor changes from the previous installment. NHL 09 has broken that trend and introduced many new features and tweaked existing elements to create a game far superior than last year's version.
  23. EA have really thought about NHL 09 and with the introduction ‘Be a Pro’ this year, they have taken things further. The bar has well and truly been raised by EA and others will have to respond.
  24. Arguably it represents the greatest sporting release of this current generation with only a few minor tweaks required next year.
  25. If you have sat a few years out on the franchise or even if your a regular NHL fan, NHL 09 is a game that all sports fans need to check out.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Games Master UK
    Better controls, improved animations and full of cool new features. [Nov 2008, p.83]
  29. 85
    NHL 09 is an outstanding hockey game. EA has delivered two truly new features to the genre, in the form of the EA Sports Hockey League and the Be A Pro mode, which have well and truly moved the goal posts. Or net, in this instance. Grab your controller and become a hockey legend today.
  30. Overall, NHL 09 is a worthy purchase for ice hockey fans and an improvement on previous NHL titles. Non-hockey fans may enjoy the game for a short period before switching back to familiar territory – possibly a rental for them.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. The biggest surprise of EA’s 2009 American sports round-up, and the most likely to appeal to non-fans.
  34. 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.
  35. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Improved physics, Be-A-Pro mode, perfect multiplayer mode, overseas leagues and many more make NHL 09 the best choice for a ice-hockey game. Well, there is only one more on the market but who cares. [Oct 2008]
  36. Once again this is the best ice hockey game around, with flawless presentation and a sublime playing experience.
  37. A great continuation of one of the greatest sports games on 360.
  38. There are a lot of things to be annoyed by in NHL 09, but then again this is one fantastic hockey experience. The on- and offline Be A Pro mode takes the experience to a new level and adds an addictive formula to an otherwise great list of improvements in this title. Flaky AI, odd bug-generated goals and other flaws are unfortunate blemishes to an otherwise great hockey experience. Nevertheless, this is a must buy for hockey fans.
  39. Gamers who enjoy solid hockey games will definitely want to pick up NHL 09.
  40. 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.
  41. For the players who aren’t scared away by NHL 09’s realistic difficulty, they're whole seasons ahead for training custom characters and learning the stingy A.I..
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 62
  2. Negative: 5 out of 62
  1. May 30, 2013
    This is the best NHL game ever since they brought out the new shooting configuration with the right stick has made this game the bomb. AlsoThis is the best NHL game ever since they brought out the new shooting configuration with the right stick has made this game the bomb. Also love the way to be the goalie and customize his pads and how so many goalie companies sponsored this game like vaughn and rbk, so sick Full Review »
  2. Mar 19, 2011
    I haven't really played a hockey game since ESPN National hockey night in like 94. I have played arcade style games though. This game reallyI haven't really played a hockey game since ESPN National hockey night in like 94. I have played arcade style games though. This game really plays well. The mechanics and controls are near perfect. The graphics are pretty good. The game does have some glitches and it lacks the features that a lot of other Ea Sports games have. Full Review »
  3. Aug 29, 2010
    This game is good,it really is but here comes the but...It's not nearly as good as espn hockey 2k4 and 2k5.For single player there should be aThis game is good,it really is but here comes the but...It's not nearly as good as espn hockey 2k4 and 2k5.For single player there should be a way to tweak the difficulty more.A game should be as easy as you want it or as hard and this game is hard even on easy in the single player mode.I can play hockey and I've went back to all the hockey games from ea and 2k and this game just isn't well balanced.It is exciting,out of this world exciting especially when there has been no score for a while and then bam you score.It has to do a lot with the commentary but also the game in general.It's great but ea still has a lot of work to do.An 8 is a good score and what the game deserves. Full Review »