The lights have dimmed and NHL 2K8 skates out to another arena packed full of hockey action. Redesigned player models, new controls and updated goaltending are a few improvements in 2K Sports highly acclaimed hockey franchise. Lace up your skates, it’s time to head-to-head with NHL 2K8.

2K Sports is content on keeping their NHL 2K franchise the number one hockey game on the market. This year the 2K Sports team has taken a few more risks to keep the gamers interested in their always evolving hockey game. If you are familiar with the NHL 2K series in the past you know what you in for, however you might need a few moments to readjust to the new thumbstick action. What else has 2K Sports improved? Besides a slight cosmetic boost 2K8 has updated the goaltending, deepened the franchise mode and switched up the controls. Instead of putting out another carbon copy of last year’s game, it is obvious that 2K Sports wants to keep that virtual cup in their camp for another year.

When you boot up 2K8 and get ready to skate into the action you’re going to be hit with some new controls that will cause your hands to rewind. Pushing the standard controls to an option, the new control scheme moves shooting and passing controls to the bumpers on the 360, or L1 and R1 for the PS3. The thumbsticks also receive more attention with the left thumbstick being used as player movement and the right to the players stick. This is attended to make it faster and easier to deke during attacking rush plays or to poke check on defence. The new control scheme allows you a little more fineness with shooting with the ability to precisely shoot to the left or right side of the net while keeping your hands planted in a new position on the controller. 2K8 wants to start reprogramming how we traditional play our hockey games with a vision of a more realistic game.

If you’re getting a handle on the new controls you can then venture out to the other control additions, mainly the new superstar combo moves. The superstar combo moves are controlled by holding down the trigger along with a face button. The superstar moves add a lot of personality to the game with a quick spin or through the leg shot. It’s a little confusion during the action get used to performing these moves, so unprofessionally I had to wait for a shootout to try and little shake and bake. If you get accustomed to the controls the superstar moves will give you an advantage against a novice player and make you feel like the name of the controls, a superstar. One more surprise added to the controls is in the drop zone of the face off. This took me a moment to readjust like most of the new controls in 2K8 and again once you get it, it’s pretty cool. During the face-off’s you now use the right thumbstick to control your spot before the referee drops the puck and hold it. Then you wait until the stripped rat drops the puck to let go.

Switching up the way you play your hockey is a brash move for 2K, since we are so used to our arcade style mash the buttons and get some nasty hits and one timers. With these new controls you’ll have to think a little bit more until they become natural. I’m sure 2K8 new scheme might throw some part time players for a loop because thing definitely take a little bit of work, however if you want to play the new way, it’s a necessity. In judging the new control scheme I’d give it a few points for giving the gamer more freedom and precise control on the action, however on the other side of the controller, the controls are tricky to learn and feel a little rough around the edges with a slight loss to the smoothness of the old style. If you are not ready to devote some time to learning the new control scheme, no worries. In a blessing from the hockey gods, 2K allows you go default to the old control scheme from last year bringing you right back to where you want to be.

NHL 2K8 also has dug their franchise mode a deeper whole keeping with the more control vibe. The typical features are all included, rosters, line-edits, scheduling, but now you can go deeper behind the desk with managing e-mails, keeping a happy team, and negotiating free agents and other contracts. 2K8 also gets down and dirty with some RPG elements with the “player progression system” giving experience points to players broken down into four categories, scoring, skills, skating and defence. Now you can try and create your own veteran player and help boost up other players by giving them more time on the ice. The franchise mode might be digging a deep hole that causal players will want to fill up, for everyone else who loves their hockey will eat up any additional depth that can be provided.

The graphics have been given another boost making 2K8 a realistic game when watching in full motion. I still would like an upgrade to the interface with some high-resolution graphics and easier to navigate structure. Besides nitpicks, 2K8 new animations and players look more realistic than ever and the new superstar combo moves and goaltending make 2K8 seem more realistic than ever. Also, if you’re looking for the Cinemotion visuals from last year, you’ll have to switch them on to get that dynamic presentation. I’m not sure why they aren’t activated by default because I really enjoy the look and style it provides.

Lastly NHL 2K8 has focused a lot of energy retooling the goaltending brains, its artificial intelligence. The new AI makes a impactful touch to making 2K feel more real which is a plus when you get down to breaking a tied game. The overhauled goaltending has new animations that include some cool save animations along with a more aggressive and instinctive behaviour. Goalies will now come out and challenge players with the puck as well as guard the post for those annoying around the back scores.

NHL 2K8 is still king of the ice, however this time around you might need to take a little more time to get your groove on. The new control system takes a little work, so if you are getting frustrated by 2K Sports new innovations simply turn them off and go back to the default NHL 2K game you know and love. The other new additions keep pushing NHL 2K8 forward into the next generation, I’m sure 2K Sports isn’t ready to settle and we’re going to continue to see this franchise evolve at a steady pace. 2K Sports claims another trophy as NHL 2K8 cleans the ice.

Gameplay: 8.5, Graphics/Sound:8, Innovation: 8, Mojo:8 Final: 8 / 10

The Good Overhauled Goaltending, Superstar Moves, Improved Graphics, Deeper Franchise Mode
The BadNew ProStick Controls are Awkward, Navigation Weak
Reviewed by Jimmy | 09.24.07


  • ProStick - Puck handle, deke, make spectacular defensive plays and battle for face-offs like never before with FULL 360° analog control of your stick! With hundreds of new animations, ProStick gives gamers the ultimate look, feel, and control over their favorite NHL players.
  • All-NEW Superstar Combo Moves - Exploit your opponent's defensive weak spots by executing breathtaking combo moves.
  • All-NEW Face-Off System - Under the supervision of 06 MVP Joe Thornton, a whole new approach to hockey game face-offs places emphasis on timing and strategy. Using the ProStick™, properly position your player's stick to swipe at the puck and win critical late game face-offs.
  • All-NEW Goaltending - Goaltending has been completely overhauled with instinctive AI, entirely new animations, and situation specific behaviors. Goaltenders will now come out and challenge, guard the post, perform spectacular butterfly saves, and much more!
  • NHL Signature Style - Totally redesigned player models with accurate equipment brands and updated player faces bring you the most realistic hockey game to date. Coupled with an entirely revamped Edit-a-Player mode that allows you to modify every facet of your hockey players' appearance including stick and leg tape patterns!
  • Deeper Franchise - THE DEEPEST franchise mode in the business, now complete with realistic CBA features such as waivers, two-way contracts, restricted and unrestricted free agents, and salary cap management.
  • My NHL - Customize your style of play to create the exact hockey experience you want, then share your Game Styles by uploading them online for others to use. Use the new rating system to rank the best user Game Styles and let gamers know how they should be playing hockey.
  • NHL 2K8 Soundtrack - Featuring Bloc Party, Korn, Quiet Riot, Priestess, Stellastarr, Early Man, Tokyo Police Club, Les Savy Fav and more.
  • 2K Sports Online - Now with over 1 MILLION online gamers in the 2K community, go head-to-head against the best players on the planet.


2K Sports

Visual Concepts


US Release
Sept. 2007


X360, PS3