On the eve of the Wii-exclusive release of NHL 2K11, Neal dives into last year's game.
NHL 2K10 on Wii was a game that flew under everyone's radar. Except for graphics, it was more or less a complete and satisfactory port of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. Now while the HD versions of the game were greeted with poor reviews, the Wii version was met with surprisingly solid reviews. That all stemmed from the fact that the game supported MotionPlus in a meaningful way, and it had quality online modes that made use of Wii Speak.
The variety of control methods in this game is astounding. It supports Wii Remote and Nunchuk; Wii Remote, MotionPlus, and Nunchuk; Classic Controller; and Wii Remote on its side. While the last method struggles to map all the game's moves onto the Wii Remote (think Super Smash Bros. Brawl), it still offers an easy entry point, especially for players more familiar with NHL games on the Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo. The Classic Controller offers a solid recreation of what you'd expect on the 360 or PS3.
The MotionPlus controls are the focal point, though, and the game even goes to the point of asking you if you'd like to add on your MotionPlus every time you boot up the game. The games uses the peripheral to read how far back you raise the stick on a shot, and it also allows for direct control over your hockey stick, something that has probably been poorly replicated on an analog stick. It's a neat effect that is hard to use at first, but once you get used to it, it is very cool.
While the online gameplay of this game is limited since it has almost been a year since it came out, it features everything that was in the other versions. This isn't like Madden games on Wii where they've had the same single-game online experience since the system launched. You can create online teams, play in leagues and tournaments, and even join up with up-to-four friends and play on a team against five other players. It's really mind-boggling. And from my limited experience with the online aspect, I didn't experience any lag. That's not saying everything works perfectly. I'm not sure of that, but I am hopeful to dive into NHL 2K11 and check to see if the online is all that. I'm excited to see what additions they made to the MotionPlus controls. I'm excited to actually use Wii Speak.
Ok, maybe I'm not that excited to use Wii Speak.