When NHL 09 was released for the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3, it was welcomed with open arms. Never before had a hockey game brought such realism and tight controls. The addition of an online league where gamers could get friends together to take on the NHL 09 community was the cherry on the pie. Over time though, gamers became a little disgruntled. When a slew of bugs began popping up during gameplay, the message boards began to flame up with NHL 2009 game info. Players online were using certain shots that would go in, more times than not. The "curve shot," as it came to be known, frustrated players and it was just one of the variety of "cheese" goals players were using to score cheap goals. When it came to NHL 2009 game info, other issues included goalie control, line changes and shot accuracy.
With great kudos to EA Sports, they quickly began working on an update. In mid November the patch was released. It was exactly what gamers were wanting, well sort of. It addressed one of the largest issues in the game, the cheese goals. Shots that were taken across the blue line had their accuracy lowered. Players who would tease a goalie to one side only to shoot to the opposite side and score, now found their shots soaring wide. This has brought relief to those who avoided using the shot, and who were also tired of being burned by cheaters who thrived upon it.
Another big update that came with the patch had nothing to do with a bug, it was however, a change in the online games themselves. Before the patch, teams would go into a shootout after a five minute overtime period. This is the standard rule in regular season games in the NHL. However, after a plethora of feedback, EA chose to take the game to a 20-minute-sudden-death-overtime-period. What this did was prevent players from going into a shootout, shooting once with their player, and then having to rely on the computer the rest of the time. It is also the format used during the postseason in the NHL. This addition kept players engaged the entire game, and also made overtime much more exciting.
So with the patch came a lot of good, you quickly saw teams that revolved their game around cheese goals, instantly drop in the standings. The A.I. in the game was improved on as well, so the computer players were not as aggressive, thus resulting in fewer offsides calls.
With all these great improvements, there are still issues. There are about 2 or 3 cheese goals that were not addressed. They are not as apparent as the original ones, but they still can wreak havoc on a team.
There was also quite a decrease in scoring, while the penalty calls went up. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teams must now play a little bit smarter hockey. They cannot go around trying to lift sticks and poke check all the time. Doing so will result in numerous tripping, slashing and high sticking calls.
EA really came through for its supporters who bought NHL 09. They made a solid game but missed some key bugs. For them to go out and create an update addressing these issues was one of the better moves I’ve seen them make. They could have just as easily said they would fix it in the next version of the game. The patch was not perfect, there are still issues in the game, but they responded to player requests and took care of the key problems.
For those who have been hesitant to purchase NHL 09, because of the fact that it was hashed with bugs, you can fear no more. The game is much more solid, and the online team play really shows the talent of gamers around the world. We’ll have to wait and see if EA releases another patch to address the remaining bugs, but so far, it’s a good start.