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Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc.
Developer: Sony Interactive Studios America
Synopsis: The first PlayStation hockey game features both an NHL and NHLPA license for 26 authentic teams with 650 real players from the 1994-95 season. Players can embark on a full 84-game Season, take on the computer or friend in an Exhibition game, or go straight to the Playoffs to bring home the Stanley Cup. Four different camera angles let you customize how you want to view the action: a diagonal cam, side-view cam, ice level cam, or vertical cam. Options include the following: penalties can be toggled on, off, or on except offsides; line changes can be set to automatic, manual or none; and period length can be adjusted to 5, 10 or 15 minutes. NHL FaceOff also features trades, team and individual statistical tracking, full-color player cards, instant replay, an option to create players with twelve different abilities, and signing and releasing free agents (each team can have no more than 25 players). Saving statistics, created players, modified rosters and/or season progress requires the use of a memory card with two to eight blocks free. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Package Contents: 28-page Instruction Manual
Everything is explained in a thorough manner. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
The graphics on the ice are great, although players show visible pixels when you look at them closely. Player cards are a nice touch, but it takes too long to load them on the screen! ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
As the first hockey game available for the PlayStation, and second sports title by in-house developer Sony Interactive Studios, NHL FaceOff raises several questions. How would it play compared to Electronic Arts' NHL series on the Genesis, the benchmark for console hockey games? What would 32-bits and the huge storage capacity of CD offer to sports fans? Should a chance be taken on this title or do we wait for Electronic Arts' own game to come out? Inquiring minds want to know! After putting the disc through its paces, the results were positive. NHL FaceOff retains the same feel as the 16-bit NHL series, so fans will be able to jump right in and not miss a beat. The graphics are a big improvement over anything on 16-bit, which really comes as no surprise, but still impresses nonetheless. The ice isn't just a blue floor, it looks like...well, ice. There are fine white lines covering the surface, you'll notice faint reflections from the players, and there's even colorful advertising surrounding the rink. Even the home team's logo looks like a permanent part of the ice instead of the "pasted" look as in the 16-bit games. The crowd can be seen just past the plexiglass and will bang on the boards when they're excited, although they won't throw hats onto the ice for hat tricks (bummer). The one drawback to the rink is that there's no goal sirens, something that's always been in EA's hockey games. The 2D players are also larger, wear accurate uniforms with visible logos (based on the 1994-95 season) and animate fairly smoothly. The only gripes are the noticeable pixelization (especially in the ice-cam view) and generic "88s" instead of individual jersey numbers. So is the rest of the game great? Close. While the "feel" remains true to the NHL series and graphics show the benefits of a 32-bit system, the sound is a bit disappointing. There is no speech in the game (neither a PA Announcer nor play-by-play commentator) and the crowd isn't loud enough to make you forget about it. You can't help but miss the siren sounds after scoring a goal, either. Another downside is the excessive load times (around seven to ten seconds) before the game starts and while trying to make line changes or viewing player statistics; it takes away from the action and grates on the nerves after a few games. Yet the biggest issue is the ease of play. The game follows the NHL series a little too closely in this regard, as scores lean heavily toward an arcade-like experience rather than a simulation. While there are three difficulty levels, it doesn't take long before you're thrashing the net on a regular basis--even on the All-Star setting. So what we have here is a solid first-time hockey game that most PlayStation owners can sink their teeth into and not feel guilty afterwards. The long-term play value is diminished somewhat by the emphasis on scoring, but the game <i>is</i> fun, especially with a second player. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
You can play a full 84-game season with stats saved to memory card. While the computer competition may not be the strongest, there's nothing to worry about when you're playing with a friend! ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
The crowd will cheer when you score at home and boo when you're away. The organ music sounds great as well, but there's no announcer to call the action. The missing goal siren makes scoring an anticlimactic event. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
The game is fast, controls well and feels like the NHL series on the Genny. One problem: scoring is too easy! There aren't any fights, either. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.