Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
Buy On
  1. The best online addition this year is the Team-Up feature, something all sports games should have going forward.
  2. A great hockey game that is very easy to pick up and play.
  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. 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.
  5. If the fun NHL 2K9's developers were trying to bring back lies somewhere around the gameplay of Ice Hockey for the NES (the king of pick-up-and-play sports), they surely missed the mark.
  6. NHL 2K9 shows that Visual Concepts has pretty much done everything it can to the same core engine that was used when the 360 launched. NHL 2K9 is a good game, but it shows its age in a few too many areas to compete with what else is out there.
  7. Controls are responsive and players did what they were told to do without a hitch. Lack of fighting direction hurts this score.
  8. 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.
  9. NHL 2k9 is nothing to be shunned as there is certainly enjoyment to be had, however, EA managed to step their game above the competition this year around with NHL 09.
  10. 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.
  11. Without the franchise problem, NHL 2k9 would be recommendation with no qualifications.
  12. I expect there are a lot of former 2K Hockey fans running to their local used game store to turn NHL 2K9 in for EA's NHL 09... well, in Canada anyway. 2K had such a great product. How could they have possibly made such a huge mess of such a great series?
  13. NHL 2K9 seems to take a step or two backwards in their endeavor to make some changes to the franchise.
  14. Yes, the graphics are sharply upgraded, the new 12-player online matches are wicked fun, the Franchise mode is deep and detailed, and the silly Zamboni mini-game somehow mesmerized us. But with NHL 09 turning in such an all-star performance (see review, left), this exercise in nostalgia is enjoyable…but unnecessary.
  15. 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.
  16. Only slightly worse than EA's recent offering, but when there's a choice of two, why would anyone plump for second place? [Issue#38, p.102]
  17. AceGamez
    If you're looking for a full on sim of the sport then you might be better off with EA's latest iteration but if you're looking for a fast-paced, pick-up-and-play hockey game then this is right up your rink.
  18. There is still much to improve about NHL 2K9 but for the average gamer this ice hockey game will be slightly better than NHL 09. Compare the games with FIFA and PES and you will know why you would choose for one of the two (at least with the older versions). Only when you play offline NHL's older brother 2K8 will be a cheaper and better choice.
  19. If your a big 2K hockey fan your probably still going to want to pick this up, but if your just looking for the best hockey title of the year, this one doesn’t take top billing.
  20. For a series that is long in the tooth, NHL 2K9 is a disappointment. Its presentation, play modes, and feature set lag behind the competition, making it a questionable purchase at best.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Lacks the epic feel and skills of "NHL 09" but does offer lots of goals. [Christmas 2008, p.62]
  24. 67
    When compared to EA's monster, 2K9 feels a bit like pond hockey. And while that isn't necessarily a bad thing for newcomers, who'll eat up the wild excitement of the game, those who know better may recoil in their chairs when they realize just how crazy it can be.
  25. Its mix of arcade and realism — combined with almost no challenge from the AI, unimpressive graphics, mediocre audio, and dated controls — drag down the title.
  26. NHL 2K9 is a significant upgrade from the 2K8 offering, but the complete rewrite has some noticeable flaws that demand attention in the 2K10 edition.
  27. 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.
  28. AI issues and the lack of any significant new features have NHL 2K9 skating backward this year.
  29. I spent time with both hockey games this season, hoping that 2K could at least be considered a decent hockey simulation for those who still haven’t gone over to the EA side. Sadly, 2K can’t even hold its own against older versions of its own franchise, let alone a game as technically sound as NHL 09.
  30. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    The NHL 2K series is better and better every year. If your fingers suffer for analog-stick-injuries there is no reason not to try this different approach to ice hockey game than you can see in EA game. [Oct 2008]
  31. 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.
  32. 2K’s take on the NHL franchise has always been poor in comparison to EA’s, and this edition is no exception. If you want to buy a hockey game it has to be NHL 09, the gameplay is untouchable and you’ll be playing it all year.
  33. A misguided effort to streamline the experience and create gameplay where realism comes before responsiveness.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 2 out of 7
  1. DanielLindenbaum
    Sep 10, 2008
    I bought this game without playing the demo.
    I own NHL 2k8 and i love that game so I thought this would be an upgrade...
    This is the worst
    I bought this game without playing the demo.
    I own NHL 2k8 and i love that game so I thought this would be an upgrade...

    This is the worst sports game ever created
    The second I started playing the actual gameplay, it was not fun at all

    The menu's are horrible and you have 50% less options than last year. I kept looking for a button to go to advanced settings for each menu and found nothing
    The control scheme is horrible and it does not let you switch to 2k8 controls
    The players look bad
    The speed burst button is a waste of time as it does nothing. The gameplay feels sluggish and the hits are not better than last year.. they are worse.
    Also the AI keeps trying to do spin moves every shot they take. No excitement in this game, very boring and slow..even on the fast speed

    The only thing good about this is having updated music.
    I bought this game and played with the menu for 20 minutes, then played the game for 10 minutes
    Then I posted it on Ebay

    I will stay with my NHL2k8.. maybe I will rent NHL 09
    Thanks- Dissapointed Daniel
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 27, 2013
    I play 2K8 Religiously. About 700 total games so far. Its so fun and enjoyable. Going from PS2-360 of coarse the graphics are better. That'sI play 2K8 Religiously. About 700 total games so far. Its so fun and enjoyable. Going from PS2-360 of coarse the graphics are better. That's about it. Messing with a steal of a $20 new game and making it junk is mind boggling. The controls were awesome for rookie-advanced players alike. 2K8 franchise is deep real deep. 2 way contracts/ players of the week/ practices/ opportunity knocks etc... 2k8 may or may not have been flawed in was definitely fun. My opinion that is the only thing that matters in judging a game.

    2k9 7
    2k8 10
    Full Review »
  3. GAhern
    Sep 12, 2008
    Game play is getting better. Strong graphics (viewed on HD 1080i/p) Players seem a bit washed out, but each year the movements get more fluidGame play is getting better. Strong graphics (viewed on HD 1080i/p) Players seem a bit washed out, but each year the movements get more fluid and realistic. Love!!! Randy and Drew as play by play guys. Zamboni game is a novel touch! Audio is where the game suffers. The crowd/ background noise cuts in and out from the surround sound mode at different times and the board/ glass noise is way over done!
    New crowd animations and arena renderings are finally starting to catch up to the rest of the authenticity.
    No! you don't have crazy, wicked stick and player controls like EA, but the learning curve to pick up the controls and start playing successfully is about 10 seconds. Overall the best hockey game 2K has done to date
    Full Review »