Let me start by saying I’m a changed man. I used to be an NHL FaceOff fan.
No matter how good EA’s NHL series got, I always preferred 989’s NHL FaceOff. Now that we’re in the PlayStation 2 era, I couldn’t wait for the battle to begin again. Round one. NHL 2001 from EA Sports. It was awesome. Much better than Sega’s NHL 2K. Still, In the back of my mind I was rooting for FaceOff to enter the ring and rip EA a new one. Round two. 989’s introduces NHL FaceOff 2001 for PS2. Judging 989 previous PS2 attempts with GameDay and the NCAA series, my expectations were not high, but my hopes were. I get the game immediately, tear open the packaging, put the disc in the system, the game starts. The intro is awesome. Combination of cool animations with live footage. Sweet deal. I wanna play it so bad, I bypass the game set up and choose the quick play. The game loads a bit. Okay, problem. Sport games feature loading. The game starts . . . The contest is over. EA’s NHL 2001 wins. I had been playing NHL FaceOff 2001 for a whopping two minutes and I hate this game already. This game is so bad, I could have puked in an ice cube tray and had a better game.
Let me start by pointing out the graphics. These are the WORST graphics I have ever seen in any hockey game. Sure the old 32 bit PlayStation had some bad hockey games that of course featured terrible graphics. But this poor excuse for a 128bit hockey game is the worst piece of crap I have ever seen. 989 would have done better if they just repackaged the PSone game. The players look like globs of polygon waste leftovers from a well-sculpted polygon character. The choppiness of the animation makes me sick. The bland, washed out colors are retched. My cat makes better colors in her sandbox than are featured in this game. After each pause in the game, FaceOff cuts to a shot of the stadium. This gets a bit annoying. The stadium looks nice. I will give them that. Which is why I think they do it. After watching such horrid graphics on the ice they cut to a nicely detailed stadium dome to distract us.
The control is half way decent. It’s much like the PlayStation one. So is the sound and the announcer stays the same. No complaint. But because the graphics are so poor, it ruins the fun for the rest of the game’s features.
Sony had better be giving 989 Sports a good chewing out, because they have taken what was once a good series of sports games for the PlayStation one and have crapped on it. Sony is banking a lot on the PlayStation 2 and so far only third party companies have any good games for it. I think 989 rushed these sport titles to be ready for around launch. Big mistake. I think they used the same engine as an original PlayStation title.
Sony and 989 need to get their act together for the 2002 line up, or get out.
NHL FaceOff 2001 is another disastrous game in a series of bad games from 989 for the PS2 that make Battlefield Earth look awesome.
PUBLISHER: 989 SPORTS
MUSIC & SOUND: 5
FUN & REPLAY: 2