NHL Rivals 2004 Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

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  • Summary: NHL Rivals 2004 is a dramatic hockey simulation that immerses gamers into a realistic and exciting hockey experience. With more than 700 motion-captured animations, you can take one-timers, blast slap shots, and dish out the big body checks just like real NHL superstars. You also can settle your hockey grudge matches and create their own rivalries online with Xbox Live and XSN Sports. Control an NHL team on a quest to win the Stanley Cup, or take on your friends in a single game between two bitter rivals. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 39
  2. Negative: 4 out of 39
  1. Impresses with smooth, realistic game play and rib-cage-crushing intensity.
  2. A good game with solid animation, and a terrific passing system. The game may not be one of the top scorers in the league, but it set up the goal scoring opportunity very well.
  3. While it doesn’t compare to "ESPN NHL Hockey" in terms of better control and game play Rivals makes up for it with the XSN sports community which you can use to create virtual leagues and better online capabilities.
  4. 70
    The control mechanics are intricate, though quick tic-tac-toe passes with the right stick, more in-depth faceoffs, and speedy line changes using the directional pad are nice features.
  5. Worryingly, opposing computer-controlled teams seem to have a habit of always scoring in the third quarter from a cheaply-taken goal - I would have put this down to my poor play but the problem has been reported elsewhere.
  6. The only major advantage that Rivals holds over the other Xbox hockey titles is XSN support, but even that can’t make up for the lackluster gameplay, absence of depth, and mediocre visuals.
  7. 16
    The physics are off, the referee makes questionable calls, the line changes are ridiculous, and the gameplay is too sluggish to be fun. [Jan 2004, p.63]

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. AnttiK.
    Jan 24, 2004
    Excellent game. The Real Suprise. I've played all new NHL-games and this is the best of all. I hope that next year custom soundtracks are also available during gameplaying. Expand
  2. MichaelB.
    Nov 22, 2003
    This hockey game is the most fun to play of any in the last year. It's not as deep, but it's definitely the best-controlling and best-looking. It's also a blast to play online. Expand
  3. BillD.
    Dec 11, 2003
    I sometimes wonder who is pocketing the magazines.They loved EA NHL 2004 (which ea keeps handing us the same crap for the past 5 years) and they don't like NHL Rivals(A good first year effort thats more fun than EA) Do they know anything about the sport?This game Is alot of fun!Sure it's gotta a few flaws but,for a 1st year effort,it is a good solid game.It not as deep as others.Controls are sharp,graphics are very crisp.Best arena music.The fighting engine is the best so far and it acyually works!.This game shine on the pro level . Its a blast to play.Could easily topple EA NHL with refinements and deeper play.Did I mention how fun this game is?If I had to pick only one hockey game this year .It would be Sega NHL2k4,but I would miss NHL Rivals alot. Expand
  4. BlueFalcon
    Mar 9, 2005
    There are a few things that this game does better than any other hockey series. But for the most part, it's not quite up to par. The graphics need a lot of work, but I very much like the different camera angles during replays. I think this series could be a contender with some relatively minor upgrades. But as it is, I wouldn't recommend it. Expand