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Though this "2002" PC version of EA SPORTS' perennially popular NHL series is built on the same engine as the previous year's NHL 2001, a few changes and additions help it to stand out from its immediate predecessor. Top on the list of new features in this edition may be the "breakaway cam," which zooms in behind the breaking man and fades out ambient noise of the crowd and other players to provide an emotionally authentic one-on-one experience. This edition also features the "NHL Cards" rewards system. As in many contemporary console titles and some other PC sports titles, gamers can earn cards through skilled play and use them to unlock special features.
As far as presentation goes, several animations have been refined and enhanced for a more realistic look. Players may stretch out to grab at wide passes or even kick the puck in line as they move out down the ice. New announcer Don Taylor joins veteran play-by-play man Jim Hughson to provide commentary. The EA GameStory feature hits the series in this edition as well, following notable plays and game developments and integrating interesting observations onto the statistical displays and announcers' banter. As usual (since NHL 94), NHL 2002 is fully licensed by both the National Hockey League and the NHL Player's Association and features all of the teams and updated rosters from the most recent (2000-2001) season. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide