NHL 2K3 Love-Fest

Do you like NHL 2K3? I mean, really like it? If you don't, Bill Harris over at Gone Gold will pummel you with appreciation until you worship the game as much as he does. His essay goes into great detail about why NHL 2K3 is great and he also offers some optimal slider settings based on over 100 hours of game experience. Read on, the term "hockey loving ass" is inside, I promise.

Sports games are often accused of having a catch-up bias, where the AI will artificially strengthen the team who is behind in an effort to make the games more competitive. Oddly, in Madden this year, I thought the player was granted acatch-up bias, because on the second-highest setting (whatever was just below All-Madden) I consistently had great comebacks in the last minute of games. There is absolutely no way I could have done this on my own so consistently, and so I suspect that something was in the game to generate drama.

NHL2K3 doesnÂ't need to generate drama. ItÂ's a white-knuckler from the opening faceoff. I am yelling at the television constantlyÂ"”not because the game is unfair, but because it is so ruthlessly challenging. I have never seen anything to suspect that there is a single line of Â"˜catch-up codeÂ' in the game, but the game is so well-designed and balanced that many games are close and desperately intense.

If there is anything that kills EA Sports games for me this would be it. Cranking up the skill level means giving the AI player an unfair advantage by making every pass or scoring every goal in the last few minutes of the game. It drives me crazy!

Based on Bill's write-up and Elysium's recent purchase of Xbox live you can bet your hockey loving ass I'll be buying NHL 2K3!

- Certis