Archive for the ‘NHL 09’ Category

How to survive the latest NHL 09 update without damaging your dignity (or controller)

May 25, 2009

Earlier this week, I had it.

After playing approximately one billion versus games in NHL ’09, the most recent update appeared to be way too frustrating to deal with. Every goal I allowed sent my blood pressure to Zdeno Chara heights and even prompted my immature (and unintended) semi-destruction of an X-Box controller. Bad times.

Somewhere along the way, one of two things happened:

a) I figured out how to play under the new restrictions

-or-

b) Subtle tweaks were made to avoid the first polygonal hockey-based homicide.

Whatever the case may be, aside from losing an OT game I went on a 7-game winning streak (and a conversely unimpressive vagina-less streak, but fuck you for saying that). While you cannot teach pure, sublime irrelevant video game talent (ugh), here are a few tips for adapting to the latest update:

1. Zen hockey

My winning streak began while chastising my friend for giving up an opportunity for bowling and poontang. Despite being partially distracted by aimless telephone banter, things just started to click.

It made me realize that a Buddhist-like detachment is necessary to get any level of enjoyment out of the latest edition of the game (since EA decided to be dicks and suck all the fun out of playing online). This also goes for winning strategy, though: it’s best to summon your inner- Jacques Lemaire and play snooze-fest hockey. You know that urge to turn Dan Boyle into Bobby Orr? Might want to pick your spots there, champ.

2. Avoid using defensemen whenever possible

Perhaps this is just me, but damn if I don’t get burned by cheap shit whenever I try to play defense … with defensemen. It’s much better to miss a check/clog a passing lane with a forward, I’ve found.

Of course, that strategy’s great until the game decides that you’re not going to be able to switch to a forward no matter how many times you press the button, swear at children or throw dogs at the TV. You made me do it, EA.

3. Fear stick-lifts more than unwanted pregnancies

In the world of NHL 09, every ham-and-egger can stick lift like Pavel Datsyuk. When I was first getting used to the latest update, I’d say that 80 percent of the goals I allowed were based on my opponent lifting my D’s stick and scoring a vein-popping-out-in-your-head type goal.

Every time there’s going to be an obvious puck battle, get ready for some button “A” mashing. It’s lift or be lifted, folks.

4. Cheap behind the net deke moves > too-perfect one timers

For a while, my one timer abilities were absurd enough that I’d often score goals off what seemed like passes. It’s kind of like how Gretzky would score off the back of a goalie’s pad/legs/skates, only I wouldn’t get to bang some Canadian supermodel after the game.

ANYWAY, EA must have read a lot of message board bitching because the one-timer has been rendered somewhat irrelevant. Now it seems like it’s all about waltzing around defenseman and cheap shit like that.

***

So, hopefully those four guidelines will help you re-claim your game (or compete instead of the typical shellacking you suffer from). If you want to “put these rules to the test” or just want to play a game of versus, my X-Box gamertag is jimbobri (creative, I know).

Warning: I am ruthless and probably cheap as hell. But at least you know my strategy, right?

Crap, this was a mistake.

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Join my digi-team (repost from BoC)

November 26, 2008

For the first week or two of its release, I bandied about the interwebs playing NHL ’09 with a group of whacky Canadians. Aside from their silly accents, these guys were GOOD. They played like … dare I say, a team.

Soon enough, though, Time Warner Cable put it in my pooper (metaphorically, I hope). That meant an internet connection as consistent as Oprah’s weight and a tragic inability to fight for the polygonal Cup with my Canadian pals. Eventually, the team either dissolved or decided that it would be best if we saw other people.

Enough background, here’s the deal: I started an EA Sports League team called Battle of Sedins and my roster includes only my doppelganger Sad Panda. This saddens and enrages me. So, if you have a copy of NHL 09, an X-Box Live account and a modicum of digi-talent, message/friend request/whatever me on X-Box Live so we can represent for our blogging gangstas.

Not sure what kind of demand there will be with this, but at first it will definitely be a first come first serve thing. (Naturally, BoC contributors will get on the team even if they suck balls) Eventually, we might get to the point be a B-team or some roster cuts, but that’s another story for another day.

My gamertag is jimbobri. Since this team is for the BoC as well as my fledgling blog, I decided a BoC-team neutral logo would be best (so it’s a European league mascot – a polar bear biting through a stick … fucking sweet, right?). While I’m here let’s discuss a few things:

  • Goalies will be treated as prima donnas, second only to myself and BoC writers. If you’re really good at goalie in this game, you’ll probably not going to need to worry about going on waivers.
  • Douches aren’t necessarily barred. It just depends on what type of douche you are. Being the wrong kind of douche will get you kicked off the team. Want more specifics? Eh, fuck you. Remember, I make the rules.

(the power’s already going to my head)

  • Don’t be a dick about playing defense or a position you don’t want to play. Not everyone can be blond haired, blue eyed quarterbacks, you know.
  • Use a headset. Yes, the headset is ridiculous and its use means you don’t deserve to get laid for a week … but it’s necessary. C’mon, you know you want to hear me burn the roof of my mouth with a grilled cheese sandwich and admonish you for my own mistakes. Don’t be delusional.

So, right now, that’s the criteria. If you’re tired of your team, looking for your first team or just want to hear my awful voice and even worse jokes, let me know. Most likely I’ll be on and off for much of Wednesday and probably for a bit on Turkey Day (anything to get away from my dreadful family). It would be pretty kick ass if we could get at least 3-5 people on at the same time before my brother says something crazy while eating stuffing. God, I hate Thanksgiving.

Anyway, it’s time for you to rejoice. Finally, your meaningless lives can be temporarily satisfying!!!

Nitpicking NHL 09’s Be a Pro, even if it’s totally kick ass

October 9, 2008
Anyone who owns NHL ’09 learns to love that arrow

On some level, it was luck that allowed me to avoid considering the question of NHL 09 vs. NHL 94 when working on my Top 5 NHL video games of all time for BoC. Really, though, it would have come down to those two games and it’s hard to say if nostalgia would defeat flat out brilliance.

But as much as I love NHL 09 (and believe me, aside from a few family members and getting BJs in my car, there are FEW things I like more than NHL 09), it isn’t without its flaws.

The first place to look is its awesome new addition “Be a Pro.” Even if it’s not the most original or innovative mode (it was in Madden years ago – it feels weird to refer to Madden as “innovative” by the way), NHL’s realization of a hockey fan’s wet dream is perhaps unmatched in sports games. Whether you’re playing with four or five goofy Canadians online or hogging the puck in the offline version, chances are you’ll whimper once you notice that 3 hours went by and you still wanna play one more.

Still, as awesome as it is, it can bring out that controller lobbing, punch-a-hole-in-the-wall rage that seemingly only surfaced during those awkward years of puberty.

Positioning is a great category and stats are cut-and-dry but the category that drives me nuts is “Team Play.” Since you seem to play 40 minutes per game, it’s natural that you’re going to make some mistakes. And if you’re the hockey world’s version of the Ultimate Warrior like myself, that means a ton of points but also a ton of turnovers.

My patience in Be a Pro is Warrior-sque. God, that guy’s a fucking nut.

Even if you hit everything that moves and have a plus 3 with perfect positioning … you could still have that God Damn C grade in Team Play. Even if you pass it to Sergei Fedorov for a goal a fire hydrant could have scored. Even if you make those AI defenders bend at your will like a Herb Brooks archetype.

YOU STILL GET THAT MOTHERFUCKING C!

So that’s definitely a minus for that mode. Also, the progression could be a LITTLE faster – or at least take into account a great season.

Digi-James won the Calder Trophy, the Hart Trophy, the Conn Smythe trophy and the Pearson Trophy along with a Stanley Cup in one season (!) and the biggest contract offer was $2.2 million or so.

$2 million for a guy who earned the two most prestigious trophies in the NHL? As some British comedy bloke would say, “Are you daft?”

Are you DAFT?

And considering how harshly the game judges you for turnovers, you’d think it would provide you with a perfect view of the play but the camera can often be a disaster. Sure, the graphics look fantastic from this point of view – especially on an HDtv – but there are times when you have no idea which team has the puck.

Ultimately, these complaints are almost a perk because they give EA something to strive for in NHL ’10 (2010?). The amazing thing is that such a clunky, often enraging game mode could also be the coolest freaking thing in video game hockey since … the skill stick.

But, seriously EA, would you add a fucking fantasy draft to the dynasty mode already? I get the feeling that they simply figure no one wants it…