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 PLATFORM: PLAYSTATION 2
ABSOLUTELY ON FIRE

ith last year’s inaugural release, Midway set out to create another smash-mouth arcade game to run along side NFL Blitz. With this year’s follow-up, the goal was to add depth to the experience. For those of you who banged on Midway’s door and demanded an 82-game season complete with stat tracking, fantasy draft, trade logic, and end-of-year awards; stop your crying, it’s all here. Midway even went out of its way to include an innovative Franchise mode, which allows you to create a team and strive for world domination against countless fictional opponents. It sounds goofy, but once you see it, I’m sure that you’ll agree that this is a stroke of gaming genius on Midway’s behalf.

The improvements to the gameplay are minimal in comparison, but they really do stand out. The goalie logic is finally on par with EA’s game. Players can drop and block shots. You’ll also be able to trigger Fire manually. It may not be an accurate portrayal of NHL, but it blows away EA’s game with little effort.  -REINER

   8.75

I’m impressed. Midway, known for beating a dead sport, has improved an already great game – especially for single players. Franchise mode’s progression, team-building, and unlockables are more than I could’ve hoped for. The color commentator is useless and I still hate the fights; but the new particle effects, on-fire toggling, and increased difficulty are quite welcome. If you don’t hate sports, you’ll love Hitz.

8.75
CONCEPT:
Midway gives its hard-hitting hockey series an edge with franchise mode, a complete season, stat tracking, and refined gameplay
GRAPHICS:
Subtle improvements, including goalies flopping after loose pucks and larger crowds (from 360 to 4,665)
SOUND:
The annoying Jam announcer still has a job
PLAYABILITY:
Tight gameplay with a new defensive block move, manual Fire control, and improved goalie logic
ENTERTAINMENT:
Overflowing with reasons to keep playing
REPLAY:
High
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