ESPN NHL Hockey Xbox

User Score
8.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 4 out of 24
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  1. VictorB.
    Sep 16, 2003
    10
    Hockey is life.....The rest are just details. Buy this game if you even remotely like hockey. You'll be mesmerized!! This is the real "SHOCK and AWE"!
  2. CodyM.
    Oct 6, 2003
    9
    What happened to the home goal horns, on 2K3 the goal horns were awesome. Realistic! Please bring em' back on 2K5.
  3. BrettG.
    Sep 11, 2003
    9
    Awesome game, graphics of boards are amazing...they actually move when you hit them. Another thing that makes this game great it the fact that it has mini games..such as air hockey.. 2 on 2.. or even pond hockey.. alternate jerseys are available only if you buy them. I gave this game a 9 because great commentary and realistic gameplay. All you hockey fans get this one.
  4. BobL.
    Sep 18, 2003
    10
    There's no hockey game out there that can compare to this... A great game with no flaws...
  5. AustinW.
    Jan 1, 2004
    4
    A good game, but I'm thoroughly disappointed with the lack of attention to the crowd. Its all about the 2d "paper people" and take my word for it, it looks horrible. Another flaw that really REALLY dissapointed me was the size of the goalie's mask. ITS HUGE and it looks absolutley AWFUL, not to mention; it doesnt even sport the correct artwork that each goalie wears...it merely A good game, but I'm thoroughly disappointed with the lack of attention to the crowd. Its all about the 2d "paper people" and take my word for it, it looks horrible. Another flaw that really REALLY dissapointed me was the size of the goalie's mask. ITS HUGE and it looks absolutley AWFUL, not to mention; it doesnt even sport the correct artwork that each goalie wears...it merely replaces it with a solid color and the generic logo of the team on the top. HORRIBLE JOB THERE SEGA. The last and most mentally effective dissapointing feature (or lack thereof) was the non-existence of celebration at the the end of winning a game and even when you win the Stanley Cup, there is HARDLY any celebration. Totally unrealistic. If you dont mind the little details, go ahead and get this, you wont be disappointed but if you expect the great looking goalie masks from EA's NHL 2004 and the amazing crowd of XSN's NHL 2004 Rivals, I would advise you take a pass on this one. Expand
  6. SegaCDGamer
    Oct 13, 2003
    9
    Great fun, until you find the way how to score easily, but I really enjoy the online play a lot.
  7. JasonP
    Dec 2, 2003
    9
    You AI aint hard, but when you play the game, AI is hard. If it ain AI, its just has hard to pass the puck so they dont get it..
  8. RavenX301
    Oct 5, 2003
    8
    Sweet @ss game, but, I still don't like it as much as HITZ PRO, no way, if i want relistic game play, I'll just go out and play hockey thank you. But at least it's 20 times better then that sickening NHL 2004, worst hockey I ever played!
  9. ThosmasB.
    Sep 10, 2003
    10
    Best hockey game on the markey! GREAT!
  10. DannyR.
    Sep 13, 2003
    10
    This is the best hockey game I have ever played.
  11. KeithY.
    Sep 17, 2003
    10
    The audio commentary and crowd response are best ever in any sports game. Graphics are super smooth and the animations function well to improve gameplay (e.g., protecting puck through traffic). If compared to NHL 2002, a great hockey title, this game has same graphics but more realism and varied gameplay. I haven't tried online yet, but am anxious to see how other gamers get jiggy on The audio commentary and crowd response are best ever in any sports game. Graphics are super smooth and the animations function well to improve gameplay (e.g., protecting puck through traffic). If compared to NHL 2002, a great hockey title, this game has same graphics but more realism and varied gameplay. I haven't tried online yet, but am anxious to see how other gamers get jiggy on the ice. Expand
  12. KyleR.
    Sep 18, 2003
    3
    I don't see why everyone likes this game so much, yes its realistic but what would u want realsim or fun gameplay? The gameplay sucks on this game once u find the way to score everytime you'll see what i mean.
  13. JJSillas
    Sep 25, 2003
    4
    Horrible camera angles.
  14. DanT.
    Sep 29, 2003
    10
    This is the most realistic and fun hockey game I have ever played.
  15. BenjaminS.
    Jun 19, 2004
    3
    I also can't see why this game is getting such high reviews from serious gamers. Once you get over first impressions and really want to emerse yourself, you're driven crazy by settings that won't save, constant replays that wear out your thumb getting past and a manual that is useless for anything other then controller settings. Having bought the game a couple of weeks ago, I also can't see why this game is getting such high reviews from serious gamers. Once you get over first impressions and really want to emerse yourself, you're driven crazy by settings that won't save, constant replays that wear out your thumb getting past and a manual that is useless for anything other then controller settings. Having bought the game a couple of weeks ago, I imagine I will be selling it on eBay next week before I get so frustrated that I smash my Xbox!! I don't want a game where I'm controlling an ESPN telecast - I just want to play the game and refer to a manual that tells me how to maximize my experience. Expand
  16. MattH.
    Sep 15, 2003
    10
    I think the best part about this game is that you can customize any player. Im and big Ranger fan and to see the '94 rangers in the game is great. The gameplay is fun, and it is possable to score. The sound is amazing. Plus, the air hockey is a great touch.
  17. Uter
    Sep 17, 2003
    9
    This is by far the most realistic playing hackey game this year. but there's still a lot of room for improvement. the announcer mispronounces many player names. the goalie ai could still use some tweaking. it's practically impossible to score 5 hole. and tips don't work as well as they should. the player movement still looks quite unnatural, although it's improved fromThis is by far the most realistic playing hackey game this year. but there's still a lot of room for improvement. the announcer mispronounces many player names. the goalie ai could still use some tweaking. it's practically impossible to score 5 hole. and tips don't work as well as they should. the player movement still looks quite unnatural, although it's improved from last year. to sum up, i really like the way the series is advancing, but it's far from perfect. Expand
  18. RobC.
    Sep 25, 2003
    7
    Great game, but.....being a hockey player, I'd rather leave all the realism on the ice i play on, and just have fun, so thats why I think Hitz is a way better (Fun) hockey title.

Awards & Rankings

#33 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2003
Metascore
88

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. When the gloves come off, ESPN NHL Hockey is really just a manicured version of last year's game. The new graphics engine looks slicker than any competitor's.
  2. Xbox Nation Magazine
    80
    ESPN Hockey's offensive game is sublime... Unfortunately, playing defense can become frustrating, as players are often slow getting back to the goal. [Oct/Nov 2003, p.97]
  3. The game is outstanding, but I would possibly add the possibility of using downloaded rosters online.