Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

NHL 10

NHL 10

Spring 2010 Video Games
Ages: 10 & Up
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Price: $59.99
Gaming System: Playstation 3
When we loaded it first on PS3 (later on XBOX 360), there was a breathless moment--so sharp, so crisp, so detailed. And, what's better is that this game plays nearly as real as it looks. Whether playing multiplayer (up to seven offline or 12 online) or alone, the Cup Mode (Stanley Cup playoffs), the new Tough Guy mode (you're the enforcer) or the GM Mode (draft amateurs, trade players, run the show), NHL 10 is intense entertainment.

Slamming an opponent into the boards, grappling for the puck in a face-off, firing off a slapshot, taking a cheap hit after the whistle, the game feels downright real. Choose a preset game style (default, casual, normal and hardcore) to determine how it all happens--changing the speed of the game, the roughness of the hits, the number of penalties, the accuracy of passes. All this impressive playmaking extends to the unpredictable course of the puck and your opponents. Also, because goalies react so realistically, it's darn difficult to score sloppy goals making it harder for casual players to lazy their way through the game without acquiring some skills.

One parental note: While not the focus, fighting is part of real-life hockey and it is a part of this game, especially since EA has ramped up the melee level by adding the first-person fight perspective. There's no blood, no teeth get knocked out, but when players square off, helmets and punches go flying. Sometimes it turns into a brawl. And, there will be appropriate penalties, of course.

Back to the looks: Whether the players are attacking the goal or each other, the audience becomes a dynamic factor, reacting to each play like a real audience might, booing bad guys, chanting for their team, and looking like an NHL crowd--which only adds to the real feel of this impressive game.

Don Oldenburg   ©2010 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Electronic Arts
Best Buy
Major, Specialty & Online Retailers

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