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For those new to this series of games, NHL FaceOff 2001 is this years update of Sony's 3D Ice Hockey simulation.
Graphically the game has been improved in many ways... Each arena's unique characteristics have been re-created in amazing detail with the use of actual blueprints. The 3D player models are scaled to actual player height, weight and body style with real texture-mapped detailing true to the facial features of NHL stars.
This game has every arena loaded into it and from what I saw, they did a pretty accurate representation of the locales. Some shots even point up to the rafters and you can see the banners the team earned on the ceiling.
The graphics on the ice are true to form and the only thing missing (no surprise) are the ads on the boards. It's easy to track the player with the puck since they have halos around them. The game puts the name of the player with the puck and you can highlight the nearest player on defense underneath the player as he moves. When a player scores, the camera switches to a close-up of him scoring. If you're familiar with the player, you will recognize his features. The polygon edges and seams are noticeable, but still look good.
Mike Emrick and Darren Pang are the announcers. I was impressed by the Emrick play by play. His phrases put together from pre-recorded clips flow really well. Darren Pang has some canned phrases that are in there as well, although slightly more repetitive.
The game says it's in Dolby Surround and we found it to sound very much like a televised game. The crowd noises are appropriate and believable. Cheers for home team goals, and cheers for home saves. Not many other extracurricular sounds are added, but what's there are excellent. The sounds of the players skating and the puck coming off the boards are realistic and believable.
As with other 989 Sports games, this game has a quick start section. This gives you the controls you'll need to quickly get started. It took me less than the first full game to get the hang of basic offense and defense. By the second, I really got the hang of it and started scoring prolifically.
Where Faceoff comes into its own is when played with a multi-tap and a bunch of friends each controlling a player. There are so many teams and playing options to choose from, it will keep you busy for hours, days, weeks..!
The player setup screen will allow you to keep up with trades and even add that new guy from the minor leagues by building him. In addition to the regular teams, there are all-star teams from other countries that you can play against as well. One nice feature is that most of the illegal actions are allowed in the initial setup. But if you desire realism, you can turn on icing, two-line passes, frequency of penalties and even injuries. If the periods are too short for you, you can always increase the period length. And of course, you can adjust the ability of the game to match your improvement as you progress.
· Every player and team for the 2000-2001 season is included, plus eight international teams
· Four all-new play modes: Tournament, Shootout, Practice and Draft
· New Line Manager Feature allows players to choose from more than 12 different offensive and defensive strategies while utilizing the roster to create strategic lines
· New Shot Aim Option allows you to control the direction of your shot during your back swing as you prepare to launch a rocket past the goalie
· I.C.E. Al (Intelligence Comprehension Execution Artificial Intelligence) allows computer controlled players to play and react just as they do in the NHL
· More than 150 motion captured animation's performed on ice provide the most realistic hockey action available
· Gainers can track more than 30 individual and team statistics and compete for any of 15 NHL awards, including the Hart Memorial, Art Ross, Vezina, Conn Smythe, Presidents' trophies and the highly coveted Stanley Cup
· On-the-fly strategy control allows the gamer change his attack with the touch of a button
· Full season and game statistics are available in every offensive and defensive category Create and manage teams with complete rosters -- draft, trade, release and sign free agents Up to eight players with Multi Tap
Number of Disks: 1
Number of blocks used on Memory card per save: 5
Maximum number of Players (without a multi-tap): 2
Multi-tap compatible (max players): Yes (8)
Link-cable compatible (max players): No
Split screen multi-player option (max players): No
Other accessories: None
Dual Shock Pad Digital Button compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Analog Stick compatible: Yes
Dual Shock Pad Vibration compatible: Yes