''The 2K hockey series always had a special place in my heart. Many a night of my college life was spent playing 2K6 and 2K7 with my roommates. There were some heated battles, let me tell you. Last year's effort was so disappointing, I played it once, and took it back to Gamestop immediately. I was hoping NHL 2K9 would come out a little better, and once again reclaim the hockey crown. Unfortunately, EA has created such a masterpiece; I don't think 2K will ever be able to regain the throne.
EA's NHL 07 was the first game to implement the now standard "analog stick = hockey stick" control scheme. Seeing how well it was received, NHL 2K8 tried to add those controls to their game to compete for the 2007 season. They failed miserably. While EA's was intuitive, and also had a full year of development to improve it, 2K's was a pale imitation of what their competition was offering. I was hoping this year 2K would bounce back with an improved scheme that would make up for last year's shortcomings. Immediately upon setting up a game, I noticed 2K slightly improved their Evolution control scheme, but they've also decided to not make those the default controls. Instead they opted for the old button-mapped controls to be the main scheme. Maybe they're still unsure whether the new controls work, or maybe they're not quite confident enough in Evolution yet. There are still some issues with the Evo controls though. You can't really tie moves together when avoiding opposing players, and if you do manage to pull off more than one, the animations don't really stick with you. Players will often jump sporadically instead of moving fluidly from animation to animation. Shooting with the stick should also react better than it actually does. I would often find myself accidently faking a shot when I wanted to take one. There's also virtually no discernable difference in how you flick the stick to attempt different shots. Needless to say, it was more than a little annoying.''