Needed Improvements for NHL 2004

N.B.: I really only play Dynasty Mode in NHL 2004 [PS2 version], although I sometimes play head-to-head with friends. Below are my frustrations with the game.

  • The biggest frustration has to be information on injuries. If you’re simming a season, and you don’t see one of your player’s names pop up on the “Recent Injuries” ticker, you have no idea someone’s hurt. NHL 2003 on the PS2 had a popup screen that told you one of your players was hurt.
  • My second beef is partial to the first: the team information screen is now gone. It used to give you a quick look at your team: who was injured and how long they’d be out, who the upcoming opponent was, quick info on your team’s ratings, and team leaders. This screen was scrapped in the current version, and that was a horrible decision! When I mentioned not knowing who was injured, I didn’t know that you also have no idea how long a player will be out. That’s a significant pain in the butt, even if you did see it on the ticker&emdash;you might have not picked the game up for a week, and unless you take detailed notes on your team’s progress, how are you going to remember all the details? Providing this information seems pretty trivial to do, and I have no idea why the screen was scrapped.
  • The Progress Reports screen seems to be in the wrong place. It would make more sense to put it on the Coaching Screen, not the GM’s Office screen. The Edit Lines screen is there, and that’s where you determine who will play. Why not have the information on who’s wanting more ice time there?
  • Individual player information screens require a lot of scrolling.
  • There’s lots of scrolling everywhere. This is most apparent on the trading screen; you have no way to page up and down through players. If you want to trade goaltenders or draft picks, prepare to scroll for a long time.
  • The Finances screen should be a two-column screen with a legend at the bottom. The problem is that you have to screen, and if you’re spending at a deficit [which I somewhat routinely do to have a team good enough to make the playoffs], you have to do a lot of scrolling up and down to find the optimal ticket price point to make the most money on a per-game basis. That’s a royal pain in the butt. A two-column screen would be easier to use.

That’s all I have for now. I’m sure that I’ll find more minor complaints later. If you have any, feel free to add them in the comments.

5 comments

  1. Bang on. I agree 100% about the lack of injury information and the scrolling. The menu and information screens seem very cluttered and unwieldy so i’ll have to rent 2003, and maybe ESPN’s offering, to check out their approach. Also it would be nice to -in addition to the GM happy/unhappy updates- receive updates on player streaks and other games (such as say… the avs have a shutout when you’re simming through a bunch of Oilers games). The sim scoring also seems much to… prolific.. though I suppose on easy mode it’s easy to net 13 goals it would be nice to see EA refine their engine. Ok back to addiction!

  2. Dan, I’ve found that sim scoring’s totally rules- and difficulty-dependent. I went from playing easy the first time through to medium the second time, and scoring dropped significantly. I was no longer setting league scoring records every few seasons.

    2003 presented information better, but it was clearly not the game that 2004 was. The core engine of the game is great, but I think the polish got left off to meet a date [that never happens in my work, either ;)].

    The 2003 popup screen after each game was great … it told you who was going on a streak, who was coming off of one, and who had gotten injured. I would maim for that right now.

    Of course, in my third run through, I’m, uh … 15-for-15 in getting the Cup. 😀

  3. I agree with your comments but i also think that more stuff needs to be done with the game. Players of the week would be better and players of the month. If a player did spectacular 1 season you could give that player a raise. If you were losing by a couple of goals or just one your could intervien between periods and if the players salaries didnt go to ridicoulous heights.

  4. Cole does bring up a point: you can only re-negotiate in a walk year.

    I want to be able to negotiate at any time. Here’s a tip you might not have realized: the salary you pay a player is directly proportional to his Overall value. If you sign players in the offseason–I tend to do so right after the draft–the positive effects of your training programs, etc., will allow you to keep the costs of that player down.

  5. One of my beefs with this game is that when you are in Dynasty mode, after a few seasons good players just seem to vanish. I lost Sakic, Sundin, and a few of my created players after just 5 seasons. Is anyone else having this problem? Any tips on how to avoid this would be appreciated.

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