2K is smart. While EA marks its dominance on the market with its hardcore, sim approach to ice hockey, its main competitor takes a very different path. Rather than try and compete, NHL 2K10 is the choice for those not completely obsessed with the sport.
Trying to be as accessible as possible from the very start, it’s immediately obvious that Visual Concept’s attempt is far more ‘pick-up and play’ friendly. There’s no complicated controls to learn or strategies to master; if you’ve got a vague understanding of the game you’ll never feel too much out of your depth. As such, it can be rather entertaining, with the odd match providing a back-and-forth encounter worthy of the Stanley Cup.
Unfortunately, nothing seems to have changed that much from 2K09. Anyone who played that to death may notice the odd adjustment, but this may as well be an expansion; you may even be better off picking up last year’s effort. As you’d expect, this also sees the same old problems rear their head. It’s still far too easy to score, the overall game is too shallow and its casual nature means it can be a struggle to stick with for any prolonged period.
If it’s an instant satisfying hockey title you’re after NHL 2K10 is it, but anyone who desires a learning curve that is ultimately more satisfying and rewarding needs to look elsewhere.