|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2008)|
Cover of NHL 09, featuring Dion Phaneuf
|Developer(s)||EA Canada (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
HB Studios (Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2)
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
|Genre(s)||Sports (ice hockey)|
NHL 09 is the 17th video game in the NHL series released by EA Sports in 2008. Both the Nintendo DS and Wii versions had been planned, but canceled. It was the last installment of the NHL series to be released on Playstation 2 and the last to get a PC release.
NHL 09 introduced several new features from the previous year's edition of the game. Features such as the defensive skill stick, dump-and-chase, and the lift stick option played into the advanced user's demographic. The option to play using the NHL '94 controls, however, makes the game easy for even a beginner to play.
This year's edition of the game has also seen the return of the alternate jersey with a verification code as well expanded rosters such as the O2 Extraliga and the Russian Superleague. (Russian Superleague is currently defunct, replaced by the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL); the game was developed before the KHL was formed)
In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Canadiens, NHL 09 has a feature where the greatest Canadiens play as an All-Star team known as the "Centennial Canadiens", which is included on all platforms.
The North American edition of the game features former Calgary Flames' defenseman Dion Phaneuf on the cover. The Swiss version of the game shows former New York Islanders' defenseman Mark Streit on the cover. There is also a Swedish cover version showing former Ottawa Senators' captain Daniel Alfredsson. The cover on the Russian version features Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin.
In the PlayStation 2 and PC version of NHL 09, there is a Be a Pro Mode in NHL 09 where you create a player or use a rookie NHL player and take him in the NHL (also included in EA Sports NBA Live and FIFA Soccer/Football series and is similar to Madden's Superstar Mode), new rookie controls, European dynasty leagues, all-new tutorial videos, and authentic NHL gameplay.
Players have the ability to create a player to use in online play. Users can join online teams with friends or find players to create one. There is now a 6-on-6 online team play mode. Users have the ability to level up players, participate in tournaments (with brackets), and receive awards at the end of the season. Rosters have been updated, as well as slap shot power and accuracy to compliment NHL updates. As of April 15, 2009, many rosters have automatically been changed for those with online capabilities. The PC version of NHL 09 does not come with an online lobby; users must find an opponent manually and enter in their opponent's specific wide area network IP address. As of 2011, EA has removed the online capabilities of NHL 09.
NHL 94 controls
EA Sports has added an option to use an old, nostalgic style of controls to help players get used to the game. These controls will use the face buttons to do most of the work, such as 'A' being pass and 'B' being shoot instead of using the right-analog stick.
For the 2008–09 NHL season, certain NHL hockey teams unveiled third jerseys for the first time after the 2007-08 switch to the Rbk Edge jersey system. The new alternate jerseys for certain teams can be unlocked with a code, the same way the Rbk Edge jerseys were unlocked in NHL 08. The Boston Bruins were the last team to unveil their alternate jersey on November 24, 2008. Upon a new roster update that carries the alternate jerseys and many new players, there is no longer a need to enter the code. Unfortunately, many errors were committed when designing the jerseys; the New York Islanders' jersey was done incorrectly in that the name and numbering on the back of the jersey in NHL 09 is orange, while in real life it is white. Also, the logo on the front of the jersey is missing the fourth orange stripe on the hockey stick which was meant to symbolize their four Stanley Cup victories. The Buffalo Sabres' third jersey was also portrayed incorrectly, lacking silver striping on the torso. This was also the case on the Tampa Bay Lightning jersey as it lacks the silver striping on the torso. The St. Louis Blues' third jersey is also incorrect, as the lettering is white instead of yellow in reality. The Ottawa Senators' uniform has the stripes on the pants running down the front of the thigh, instead of its proper and traditional place on the side. The Philadelphia Flyers' uniform has numbering and lettering too large and dark on the back of the jerseys as well as some alternate previous jerseys (such as the ones from 1975) have numbers and names not properly centered on the jerseys.
New European elite leagues
NHL 09 now includes the German DEL, the Czech Extraliga, the Swedish Elitserien, the Finnish SM-liiga, and the Russian Superleague, with the latter now defunct, replaced by the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), though not featured in the game.
Just like the previous two entries in the series, the PC version was not developed to be equivalent to the next generation (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) versions, and is a port of the PlayStation 2 version. It was also the second PC version (including NHL 08) to be developed by HB Studios instead of EA. This resulted in graphics below the next generation versions and a notable lack of support for controllers and widescreen resolutions. NHL 09 was the last EA Sports-based hockey game released for the PC as well as the PlayStation 2.
Similar to NHL 2004, NHL 09 has many large modding communities due to the lack of a new EA NHL product for the PC. Some of these updates are jerseys, roster updates, facepacks (player portraits), player equipment, and cyberfaces (in-game player faces). Besides these, other mods contain new interfaces, layouts, and mods with rosters from previous seasons. Sites such as The Breakaway.net has modding communities for NHL 09.
A demo was released on the PlayStation Network on August 28, 2008, followed by the release of the same demo on the Xbox Live Marketplace on September 3, 2008 at 5:00am ET. The demo includes tutorials for shooting, deking, and defensive moves while playing as 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Henrik Zetterberg. Once the player finishes the tutorial (or the user can exit the tutorial via the pause menu), the user then has access to a single 3rd period game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, symbolizing the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, where the player may choose which team to play as. If the game remains a tie once the period is over, the game will immediately go to a shootout. The "Be a Pro" mode is also available in the demo for a single 3rd period game also between Pittsburgh and Detroit. Henrik Zetterberg and Sidney Crosby are the only players available for the "Be a Pro" mode.
- Sabrina Ladha, a female goalie, is listed as a free agent in the game with overall stats of 98 (70, with the latest roster update, 90 for PlayStation 2 version as the highest-rated combined-style (hybrid-style) goaltender). She was entered into the game because her father won a charity auction with a winning bid of $7,000. The opportunity to be placed in NHL 09 was sold to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The game was met with positive to mixed reception upon release. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 88.78% and 88 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version; 87.97% and 88 out of 100 for the PlayStation version; and 62 out of 100 for the PC version.
- IGN Best of 2008:
- Best Xbox 360 Sports Game
- GameSpot Best of 2008:
- Best Sports Game
- Nominated for Game of the Year
- Nominated for Cooperative Multiplayer Game
- Spike TV Video Game Awards:
- Best Team Sports Game
- GameTrailers Game of the Year Awards:
- Best Sports Game
- Nominated for Xbox 360 Game of the Year
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