Single player -
Dynasty mode has more options than ever including being able to control and play your NHL's farm team in the AHL. The shootout is as solid as ever with the ability to control your goalie and no more blatant advertising. Anyone remember "Dodge Shootout" from NHL 07? And lastly the international tournament is very good, but virtually no improvements from '07. I obviously played as Team Canada, steamrolled over everyone, got the achievement. Have I played the tournament since? Nope.
The online aspect of NHL 08 is one of its brighter spots. Unlike NHL 07 more options are now available including Online Shootout and Team play. But like most EA games, small things can get very annoying. Roster updates have to be saved every time you want to play, after about 50+ games it finally stopped for me, wtf EA?
In the second year of EA's change in thumb stick layout, where A, B, X, Y are no longer needed, similar to Fight Night Round 3. EA has vastly improved on the Skill Stick, this year, adding a custom deke feature. The ability to control your own goalie without having to pause game can definitely lead to some fun times. Even though this feature is also in its second year, some players still might have trouble getting used to having no speed burst.
Graphics/ Sound –
Like most sports games not much new here. On ice graphics definitely have improved, while it seems like the Crowd may have been toned down a notch. Sound is solid, but unlike other NHL games, no songs from the games playlist have made it on to my iPod.
Possibly one the most important parts, achievements in NHL 08 are much harder than in its predecessor. Overall they are pretty crummy, they include impossible things such as scoring a goal with a goalie (if my memory serves me right, this has been done 2-3 times in NHL history) and another achievement which requires one to beat a Top 10 player in a ranked match Aside from the difficulty of doing this, what are the chances of you meeting up with a Top 10 out of the thousands that play? Achievements really ruined the game for me, even I, a die hard hockey fan, had no desire to play for Stanley Cup because there was no achievement, I just simulated through the playoffs.
NHL 08 may not have the longevity that NHL 07 had (if you’re an achievement wh*re like me) but a game every hockey fan should have none the less.