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NHL Faceoff 2000
Platform:  Playstation
# of Players:  1-8
Developer:  989 Sports
Publisher:  989 Sports
Features:  Multi-tap, Dual Shock
Ratings:  Teen
Memory Req.:  
Info:  http://www.989sports.com
As far as gameplay was concerned, last year's Faceoff was king. It was easy to pick up and play with quick movements and response time. 989s new facination with TV style camera angles and cutaways also helped turn the game into a really immersive realistic experience. This year they have taken those specific elements that worked and pushed them up a level. However, since it was not really that broken there was not that much to fi and as a result Faceoff 2000 comes off looking and playing almost identical to Faceoff 99.

The first noticeable improvement is the graphics. Each player has over 150 motion-captured animations. The players are very easy to see and every motion looks very beautiful. However, this is nothing really that new since we saw all of that last year. A slight increase in animations and graphics is nothing worth buying a whole new version for in my opinion.

The play is very similar to last year's as well, although it is much simpler. The lines can change automatically and there are a lot less complicated button maneuvers to figure out. It is much more straightforward than the previous edition. However this kind of gameplay, while being good for the novice gamer who just likes hockey, can get pretty repetitive to the more experienced sort of gamer. Pass, pass, shoot, pass, pass, shoot. Not the most depth ever, but it is really nice for hockey fans visiting your house to pick up and play without having to learn very much.

As with most sports games nowadays there are a lot of season options like free agency and drafting. Whereas this does not add anything to the gameplay, it is nice for those who wish to play this game for a long time and need a little depth. There is not nearly the depth in this as in EA's NHL game but there is enough to keep one occupied.

The game also touts new improved camera angles and "television style" footage throughout the game. I personally did not notice any difference from last years camera control which had that televised feel. The camera pans around the ice, shows the key players on the breaks, and shows replays in a cut-away format like they do on ESPN. All of this was very similar to last years with just a little more pizzazz.

It seems to me that the makers of Faceoff 2000 took one look at their '99 edition and thought, "Well if it's not broke we won't fix it." That is pretty much what it looked like to me. Although it still remains a great hockey game (especially for hockey fans that are not the best at video games) it does not bring anything new and amazing to the table. It pretty much clinches the fact that the system has peaked and it is time to go into the next generation. I for one cannot wait.

Chris Shade


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