Yep, the Bauers are laced up as another season of Ďcontact ballet on iceí begins. And this season is looking promising... literally. Facial features are spot on for your favorite foreign superstars (what, like there are a bunch of hockey icons that are American?). Facial expressions are made, mouths move, although you donít hear anything. Regardless, all of this really adds to the reality to the game. Plus, the animations for the players and goalies keep the goodness going. Nothing is overdone with unrealistic checks or anything; just hard-hitting, good ole fashioned hockey. Meantime, the fans in the stands have not been overlooked. The days of the paper-thin cutouts are gone, replaced by 3-dimensional hockey-crazed lunatics. My favorite part was that they wear jerseys appropriate to their team. Being the Minnesota boy that I am, I loved seeing some fans wearing both Minnesota Wild sweaters, along with old North Star jerseys. Big props EA!
Aurally, you can expect to hear thunderous checks, raucous crowds, and a great two-man commentary for NHL 2005. Thereís nothing better than hearing the crowd react to a big hit on the ice... although the deep blowing horn after the game-winning goal is pretty sweet. NHL 2005ís soundtrack features a mixture from MVP Baseball 2004 and Madden NFL 2005, along with some other songs I havenít heard this year.