Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 17
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 17
  3. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 100
    If you’re looking to play hockey of the NHL variety, to tackle pro challenges and use real-life strategies, NHL 2K3 will thrill you as much as watching your team heroically survive a five-on-three penalty kill.
  2. Treyarch has done a masterful job with this game, satisfying the needs of serious hockey fans without losing sight of the fact that a sports game has to be fun.
  3. It looks fantastic, sounds fantastic, and possesses unrivaled gameplay – online or off.
  4. It's a brilliant design, and a generation ahead of where EA is today. [Dec 2002, p.142]
  5. 92
    The biggest difference between 2K3 and its competition, though, is the game's physics. Players move like they're actually on ice.
  6. With AI that is light years ahead of EA Sports, a simulation experience that's second to none, and a fun - if somewhat fickle - online experience with Xbox, the serious hockey gamer should only look at one title this year.
  7. It’s clear that Sega used the learning experience of the Dreamcast’s SegaNet online gaming to its utmost advantage, because the seamless and lag-free gameplay provided by NHL 2K3 is simply fire-on-ice marvelous.
  8. EA's "NHL 2003" is a solid game, but 2K3 is a gem. The intelligent play of the computer players in 2K3 -- unparalleled by any past or present -- makes NHL 2K3 the best hockey video game to date.
  9. 89
    If you are a fan of hockey or if you want to try hockey on a level beyond Hitz and NHL 2003, then this is absolutely the way to go. And it doesn't hurt that it's online!
  10. Smooth framerates directly translate into smooth gameplay. [Jan 2003, p.65]
  11. The new additions, excellent gameplay, and Xbox Live support make this the best hockey game of the year.

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