Hockey season is particularly exciting for me this year since my favorite team, the Dallas Stars, are doing so well. 989's Faceoff series has always been hit and miss with some years doing better than others.
NHL Faceoff 2003 is one of those better years where the game seems to really flow well. The additions are plentiful with new modes that have been needed adding since the franchise moved to PS2. Career mode finally allows for multiple seasons with a team. Players will retire when they're too old, rookies will be drafted, and free agents can be signed. Player models have also been completely redone giving the game a fresh feeling.
The movement and momentum are also on par with what is needed for a fast fluid game of hockey. Players speed can be set with the default set pretty much at a speed that is quite manageable. Of course some may prefer a slightly faster approach.
The game's AI is still a problem spot with single player AI being too easy on the normal setting and a bit too hard when maxed out. There, as usual, as sweet spots that once found make scoring uneventful. Of course in mutliplayer its more fun because you can better prevent those shots from being made.
Overall there's not alot new to NHL Faceoff 2003. The game generally just tightens up many spots to make it a contender this year. Of course with other offerings out there, 989 still might be your third or fourth.