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[PC] NHL 2004 - ENG

[PC] NHL 2004 - ENG | 1,44 GB

NHL 2004, developed by the EA Black Box studios, is the successor to NHL 2003, is widely considered to be a major turning point in the series. The game adds 3 European Elite Leagues - Germany's Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Sweden's Elitserien and Finland's SM-liiga. (This is not the first time that European teams are included in an EA game; EA released both Elitserien 95 and Elitserien 96 for the Mega Drive in Sweden only and Elitserien and SM-liiga 2001 as an expansion pack for PC in Sweden and Finland which included those teams). The ratings of the teams in the Elitserien and SM-liiga were comparable to the NHL rosters, however future installments had the league teams inferior to the NHL.

The game included many improvements to its gameplay (more realistic puck and rebound control and better checking) and game modes (a completely reworked franchise mode renamed "Dynasty"). In addition to the gameplay improvements, one particular non-gameplay improvement was added. When a team wins the Stanley Cup Finals, a large-scale celebration ensues. It included players skating around the ice holding the Cup over their heads. This then led to the common snapshot of the team and the coaches that holds true in the NHL. A "secret" song (Shatterday by Vendetta Red) plays while the animation shows the stats of the players in the picture, ending with the captain. Because of these additions, it was praised as one of the best games in the series to date. The Dynasty Mode, regarded by many gamers, still has its flaws - trades were very difficult to accept, and only allows the player to manage the team at the maximum of 20 seasons. Commentary was also repetitive and the game play always felt slow.

Another new feature of NHL 2004 was allowing the player to select when to fight, where previously it had been a somewhat random occurrence. When two players' names flashed onto the bottom of the screen, accompanied by the word "Fight!" and a bell sounding, the person playing the game could push a button to begin a fight, or hold off until a later time. Furthermore, goaltenders were able to fight however, goalie fights are completely random, as the names of other players are shown at the bottom of the screen; also, goalies are not thrown out of a game for fighting; in real life, goaltenders who fight are given both a major for fighting and a minor for leaving the crease, resulting in game misconducts for both combatants. The game however contained a glitch. On breakaway plays a player can maneuver the deke analog stick for an automatic goal. By the time EA Sports heard news of the glitch hundreds of thousands of units had been shipped around the world. The Create a team feature allowed the player to create a new NHL team and put it in the game and the player could choose between NHL jerseys as the team's uniform.

In addition, a "My NHL" option was introduced for creating brand new NHL teams and players from scratch, adding to the replay value dramatically. Though not very noticeable at times, NHL 2004 included all new graphics. For those playing the game for the PC, the "template" for creating new jerseys, masks, gloves, pants, players faces, basically everything you can edit were all changed. In 2007, these templates are still used, all of which can be found in the download section of

Another excellent add-on site for NHL 2004 is a site called NHL 2004 is the only vintage EA hockey title from the 2000s that still (in 2010) receives regular member-based graphics and interface add-ons, and has a very active online community along with hamachi gaming networks. One exciting feature in NHL 2004 (PC) is the interface which has been completely rebuilt by members. These updates include major improvements like dramatically expanded statistics, team reports, full box scores, ingame gameclock selectors, etc. All is possible because the interface of NHL 2004 was entirely written in javascript and html, and thus easily modifiable. Many veteran EA hockey players consider the AI in NHL 2004 (PC version) unique, which is the main reason for its long, passionate and loyal "cult" following. This has led to the development of several new mods such as a mod to rebuild the game for the 1996-97 season, an AHL modification, and a classics mod, and seasonal updates to rosters, gameplay, faces and game clock (like ESPN, NBC, Versus and etc.)

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