Game Vortex writes: "This year's 2009 version of the NHL franchise looks as great as ever. The player models look outstanding, and the arenas top the charts as well. The normal mapping of the player uniforms helps bring realism to the ice as well. One of the sweetest graphical pluses may go unnoticed at first, but as you are skating, the ice does get more and more skate and scuff marks, also adding to the realism.
Unfortunately, the Create-A-Player isn't as good as in some of EA's other sports titles. Unlike those others, NHL 09 doesn't allow for putting your own mug onto the player models via EA's Game Face, which would have been a very cool feature for a smash-mouth game such as hockey. It also has very little in the way of character features to choose from. Another disappointment is a crossover between graphics and gameplay in that it is often very hard to distinguish where the puck is on the ice, and could have stood out more with a brighter or more noticeable highlight around the puck, especially when it ends up toward the sides of the screen."