Review: Old Time Hockey (PS4).
Old Time Hockey is about NHL league matches, a show watched by millions of Americans, where real tough guys pour out sweat and blood trying to put a small puck in the opponent’s goal. Today we will go back 40 years into the past, when the fathers of today’s tough guys were even tougher, and the rules of the game more… flexible.
Hockey is a niche sport in Poland. The lack of success of our hockey players and the appropriate infrastructure makes it only a curiosity for many. Investing in sticks and skates to go to the frozen pond twice a year exceeds the willingness and possibilities of many of us, not to mention gathering a team that would be determined with enough determination for such an undertaking. For this reason, too PS4 debuts Old Time Hockey – a purely arcade game, designed to play primarily in the couch game of up to four players.
Old Time Hockey does not spoil with the wealth of play modes. In addition to the friendly match, we only have a career that we can play solo or in a maximum of four people. We will lead the fate of the team from the BHL (Bush Hockey League) aptly named Schuylkill Hinto Brews in the ’75 -76 season. But forget about a zero-to-hero career. Sponsored by a local brewery, the Brews team is a serious candidate for the worst team in the history of the league. Scandals, alcohol problems, fights and exclusions are the daily bread of the players. Such a unique background for sports games has a potential that has not been exploited. Where you could go crazy with humor and cool anecdotes, we got simple descriptions of the next “stunts” of our players on static boards during loading screens. The same boards could be used with much more imagination.
Career mode matches set goals for us to achieve in order to move on. In the first part of the season, we focus on firing a certain number of shots (not necessarily on target), winning the expected number of starts, or knocking out a designated player several times. Every second match, in turn, is a tutorial that adds our players additional, often dirty plays and new arrows or skills, such as covering the puck or sprinting. One would like the creators to think about the varied scenarios like the story mode z Fight Night Champion. It could be something like “win the game after two periods losing 2-0” or “score a goal playing the last 2 minutes of weakening”. Unfortunately, you won’t find anything like that here. What’s worse, if we achieve the goals at the beginning of the match, we have to play it to the end for the progress to be counted. A waste of time, as the outcome of the match only matters later in the career.
Game Old Time Hockey it’s purely arcade fun. The goalkeepers do not catch the puck so as not to prolong the game with unnecessary resumes, so these appear only after goals, fouls and, of course, when starting the next period of the match. We won’t see offside either, because it would hamper the game, and it would be difficult to do on a proportionally smaller surface with five players on each side. Graceful gameplay, quick puck changes, lightning fast changes and great animations … you’ll find in the flagship series from EA. Old Time Hockey relies on brutality and constant body play. Effective nailing, chopping on the knees with a stick or “light” nudges in the back are the daily bread here. Competitors bleed profusely from wounds on their heads, because wearing a helmet is embarrassing for a real tough guy. When it comes to a scuffle, expect brutal finishers and heavy knockouts for gentlemen with a mustache.
The problem Old Time Hockey in a two-, three-, and four-player game, the controls are too complex to play against anyone who comes. In this regard, the game offers three schemes – two-button operation, the so-called beer mode (one analog stick and bumper and trigger on the same side, so that you can sip golden liquor with the other hand) and the most complicated one with full buttons on the pad. Regardless of your choice, you can’t move without training. The game is so fast that even after a few evenings I couldn’t keep up with the change of players or giving a shot / passing before the opponent’s attack. The number of body attacks overwhelms and practically takes away the chances of people who have not played at least a dozen games. This is not the premise of an accessible couch game.
I do not pick on graphics. The game looks exactly as the creators intended, so it is difficult to criticize simplified character models or twin-like arenas. In addition, simple animations of players add color to effective comic footnotes. A cool idea is also a simulation of a TV broadcast from the 1970s.
Old Time Hockey it’s a slightly overcomplicated game. It started with a very good idea to create a party game that will have fun regardless of the amount of alcohol poured into it. However, in opposition to this idea was the seemingly trivial controls, which in fact require a long time to play before we figure out what and how. The “easy to play, hard to master” principle does not apply here. And that was it.