The hockey sim that defined a generation
There have been other NHL games before this one came to be released, but, for me, the 2004 season was a very game changing one: the game finally managed to create an atmosphere that was really hockey like, both because the graphics had reached a point where they could really represent the game in all its glory, the gameplay was more streamlined, and the developer found it a good thing to put some really cool superfluous animations in there, of players brawling, being happy and so on. This in turn was based on a game that really flowed well: the speed and coordination of your teammates made it so that at any time you could launch an attack or actually steal the puck from your adversaries. This made the game much more dynamic and more on the edge of the knife in terms of how a game could turn out, which is what it should have been from the very beginning. Of course, not all was roses and honey in paradise, as the game managed to be quite broken at release, but today, if you source the later released patches, you can have a good time without a single worry in the world. So go ahead, install it and see how it captures you in an instant. For me this is the game that started it all up, that put hockey on the map as a PC game worth playing.