I’m a pretty patient gamer but Old Time Hockey broke me. I wound up throwing my controller into the wall trying to get past this game’s incredibly high difficulty level. I also drank a lot of beer in a desperate attempt to enjoy myself.
Old Time Hockey is out March 28th, 2017 and I’m really on the fence about it. It does capture the spirit of NHL 94 and the Blitz games but it’s extremely frustrating and quite flawed.
The story mode focuses on the Schuylkil Hinto Brews, a 1975-76 season Bush Hockey League that’s absolutely useless. They are terrible. You’re in charge of making them better. Good fucking luck.
I played about 25-30 games in career mode and didn’t win a single game. Every shot I took was easily stopped by the goalie, while meanwhile, my goalie was out to lunch. He was letting in more pucks than Bon Beaupre when he joined the Leafs.
The opposing teams were mopping the floor with me.
I’m not sure if its a reflection of how bad my team is as well or shoddy controls but trying to attempt things like slapshots, poke checking and hitting 97% of the time hardly worked.
On top of losing every match I played I was also required to do a certain number of challenges that would change everytime I lost before I could move on. You must complete this challenges before you can move on. I really don’t like this feature. Give me some bonus points but for the love of god don’t torture me. These challgenes includ winning faceoffs, getting shots on net, passing a set number of times, ect. I couldn’t win faceoffs to save my life which resulted in me playing the same team over and over again losing repeatdetly. I even switched down to the easiest difficulty which didn’t seem to make any difference.
I was born to lose.
This is not an EA sports hockey game. You are supposed to lose, which is fine. But completing the challenges was near impossible which is a real shame because Old Time Hockey has potential.
There’s not much else to do in single player if you’re feeling frustrated. There’s no free agent signings (I think a huge miss) GM mode or draft picks.
There are some off-ice stories told via loading screens that are humurous, but I didn’t feel attached to any of the characters enough to care.
I’m so sick of EA’s NHL series I want something more arcadey and fun to play with friends. Old Time Hockey doesn’t have online play but it does support four-player local multiplayer.
Old Time Hockey promised, “afros, no helmets, dirty hits, bench-clearing brawls, goalie fights, stick fights, ref abuse, and just all around aggressive hockey.” There’s no helmets, some standard hitting and the occasional fight but I didn’t see any of the rest. Ref abuse? I couldn’t hit them even when they stood in my way.
This game is as bush league as it comes. You’re better off doing everything yourself than expecting your teammates to do anything. They just wander around the ice without any sort of purpose. If the AI is tweaked and your squad got into position there might be hope as the passing feature is actually really good. It reminds me of the NHL games from the early 2000’s. It’s simple and it works.
I have to mention the soundtrack for this game is actually really awesome. I was not expecting some old jazz to play but man it’s good. I could keep the game on the background just to listen to the soundtrack. Unfortunately, you’re probably going want to turn off the sound as the commentar Matt Baker’s very few lines gets repetive very fast. I can only hear a guy say “Keister” 8 times before it gets annoying. Hey, Old Time Hockey if you want a new voice I’ll come in and throw some life into the game. I’m in Vancouver next month.
The big saving grace of this game is inviting your buddy over to drink some piss tasting beer and play some grimey hockey. I can’t play my friends in NHL because they absolutely destroy me but with Old Time Hockey we can both suck together and punch each others brains in.
I’d suggest turning on “Beer Mode” which lets you control the controller with one hand whole holding a beer in the other. It’s a pretty genius idea.
TL;DR: Decent game if you have a case of beer and friends. If you’re going go in solo expect to break your controller out of frustration.
Old Time Hockey is now available on PC and PS4. It also heads to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch later this year.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital code provided by the publisher, with the latest patch available, and on a PS4.