Hockey is great. It’s fun scoring goals, awesome lining up massive checks, and crazy starting bench clearing brawls. Old Time Hockey is all of those things. Yes, including the bench clearing brawls, which also include goalie fights as well.
Old Time Hockey has enough to it to get the attention of every hockey fan, especially those who love the physical side of the game. It represents hockey back in the good old days of the sport where fights were seen every other shift – well maybe not every other shift, but more often than in today’s game. It also brings about a good element of arcade gameplay to make the classic style of hockey feel exciting and fun.
Unfortunately, I don’t feel the gameplay is as fluid as it could be for setting up creative and exciting plays. It’s still certainly fun to play and go through the story mode which allows players to learn the basics of play and complete new challenges every game. But it’s more likely players will score going one-on-one rather than setting up a perfect passing play between two or three teammates for that textbook one-timer. Instead, it pretty much feels like beer league hockey with that old-time flare. I mean, there is a brewery after all. I also find myself frustrated when it comes to trying to control defenders too. It just doesn’t respond well. Lastly, the AI can be pretty stupid from time to time. Or always.
As I mentioned Old Time Hockey is fueled by arcade style of play. It features insane hits that show birds floating above the player’s heads. It’s somewhat rare that penalties are called, so hitting anyone in sight is the correct way to approach the game. The refs also need to be careful as they can get destroyed by a hit as well. Also, if gamers hit 3 players in a row their team will catch a hot streak which is represented by the puck being on fire. During this time players become invulnerable to checks and have a better chance of scoring goals.
I played mostly on easy difficulty to get used to the game and enjoyed a lot of my time with the game outside of some of the frustrations with being unable to set up ideal one-timers, dealing with stupid AI, and attempting to navigate the not so great controls when it comes to playing defense. I’m a hockey fan though, and it’s a hockey game, so that’s how I was still able to look beyond those issues for some old-time hockey fun. Another not so good feature I noticed is that the AI seems to have an insanely good shooting percentage as nearly 50 percent of their shots go in the net. That’s not good, especially when controlling defenders is difficult at times. This made for some very challenging moments.
I also decided to play on Veteran difficulty – the game’s hardest difficulty – to see what type of competition I could expect. These were the best games I played even though I ended up losing most of them. Veteran gameplay footage can be found below.
The gameplay footage above also shows off all the fighting that happens as it occurs in every game. Fighting is simple with a punch and dodge button. However, I pretty much just start throwing punches and never stopped smashing the punch key. I win most fights this way, therefore I feel the fighting mechanics really aren’t that great either. This is pretty disappointing, especially for a fighting game…I mean hockey game.
I could see myself playing a lot of Old Time Hockey if there was an online multiplayer option. But in its current state without online multiplayer I’ve pretty much had my fill and find myself returning to NHL 17.
Old Time Hockey is a game that I think all hockey fans should consider. There’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of people will have fun playing the game, scoring goals, unleashing huge checks, and starting bench clearing brawls. However, I just don’t know how long the game will keep them entertained after completing story mode. The thrill of the game unfortunately wears thin far too soon. Plus, I’m not a big fan of the gameplay either. There’s just not a lot of fluidity for controlling players and making plays.