For a franchise that has constantly lingered in the competition's shadow, NHL 2K9 has made it clear by the final product that its number one priority in 09 was giving back to the community. They have made it a point to address every major issue that has caused scrutiny in the past, and for the most part this year's version delivers in spades. Keep in mind though, that all is not perfect. With the implementation of new features and revamped engines also come problems, bugs, and gameplay irregularities. For every gleaming accomplishment there seems to be a disappointment waiting in the wings. And this is 2K's biggest downfall; because they have put so much effort into revamping much of the game, they have inherently caused a separate group of problems, or may have accidentally alienated much of its core fan base. However, as long as you can value the improvements over the aggravations, 2K9 will still provide you with hours of utter hockey euphoria.
The skating engine is one those benefactors, and in a large way. Players now skate, twist, and turn with utmost realism, and I'm not sure there's a more accurate representation of transition moves or backwards skating than what 2K9 brings to the table. It honestly feels as if each blade is connected solidly to the ice surface, and watching your skater's hips, knees, and feet coincide with each other during stops and crossovers is straight up impressive. Skating forward, on the other hand, isn't so accurate. Body gestures look astonishingly odd at times, especially while controlling the puck. Their upper bodies seem to be straight as a board, while the lower portion executes this complicated algorithm of twists and turns. This results in odd stances and unorthodox body languages.