By Bryan Intihar 07/12/2007 This is a preview from E3 2007. To see all our coverage, screens and videos from the show, check out 1UP's E3.1UP.COM hub page.
What's the game about: After a few subpar seasons (especially last year), 2K's pro hockey sim returns to the ice with what the developer, Kush Games, is calling an "all-new direction."
What's new for E3: In the vein of its main rival, EA's NHL series, NHL 2K8 gets very stick-happy. You now use the right analog stick to completely control the puck (you can move it around the player a full 360 degrees). And since the shoot button is now mapped to the R1 button, you never have to stop skating before sending one toward the net.
What we like: The developers finally wised up and gave this series a facelift. Though the players in 2K8 aren't as pretty as those toothless puck-heads in EA's game, they're definitely a major step up. We also like that you must now strategically set up one-timers; gone are the days of a guy facing away from the net, receiving the pass, and then rocketing one at the goal without even looking.
What we dislike: The new controls. During our playtime, we found ourselves fighting with the new layout -- the combination of the right-analog puck mechanics and the remapped shoot/pass buttons simply made movin' up and down the ice feel quite cumbersome. The push to make a more realistic hockey sim is fine, but don't compromise the controls.