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Midway Sports overhauls its popular arcade-style hockey series to bring it closer to the NHL experience with the release of NHL Hitz Pro. Professional teams now have full 23-man rosters, a choice of authentic offensive and defensive formations, and five-on-five action on the rink. The hard-hitting hockey title also features a complete list of penalties and violations, and PlayStation 2 owners have the added ability to lace up their skates and face-off online against players from around the world. Bringing the action to life is the inclusion of more than 1,500 motion-captured animations.
Other new additions designed for realism include player fatigue, crowd reactions that correspond to the action on the rink, NHL stadiums reflecting actual dimensions, on-the-fly line changes, and a variety of sliders to help customize gameplay. Modes of play have also been tweaked, including a more robust Franchise Mode, Fantasy Draft, and Hockey School from previous versions of the series. For those wanting to test their mettle against a group of friends, up to 16 players can compete in a round-robin tournament. Cover star Nicklas Lidstrom's punishing defensive work is also highlighted in a special "NHL Hitz Pros" section of full-motion video clips featuring stars from around the league. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide