Developer: V7 Entertainment
Publisher: V7 Entertainment
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Tested on: PC
Old Time Hockey – Review
Old Time Hockey is one of the first hockey games that’s also available on PC, so hockey fans: rejoice! However, this isn’t any regular hockey game: in this game you are supposed to hit and fight, most of the times winning games isn’t even required in order to reach your game objectives. Old time hockey is developed and published by V7 Entertainment, and available for PC and Playstation 4, and soon for the Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch.
Old Time Hockey has a story mode, where you start with a team that really sucks and is known for playing games while drunk. You’re certainly not playing a high ranking team in a major league; it’s clearly an amateur team. Starting out, the stats of the team (offense, defense & fighting) are very low and the AI controlling the team is pretty dumb, but that gets better over time. The team you play is not good at winning, but rather good at fighting, and a frequently used strategy is trying to forfeit the game instead of winning. Most of the time the objectives you need to pass do not require you to win the match, which makes this game much more interesting in our opinion.
During the loading of the match you’ll see the story of the team, and how it is struggling to keep sponsors interested. The story is displayed in a comic style that reminds a bit of GTA. After each match you’ll get a newspaper article about the match, detailing the public opinion about the team. It’s actually pretty funny to see what a disaster the team is. As you play and learn skills in story mode during playing, eventually you’ll move the team up on the boards and get the sponsors interested.
The graphics are in 70’s retro style, very well conducted. The ice rink, the outfits, the logo’s, fonts & colors, everything fits the style. The screen has a vignette effect over it, and overall a bit of a yellow-ish coloration, adding to the vintage vibe. The textures also look a bit grungy. The animations aren’t super fluid but fine. The models look good even though they aren’t very detailed. The models are outlined in black, giving them a cartoon look, which looks quite cool, so they don’t need much detail. Hits also have classic comic style effects onscreen, like ‘BANG!’ ‘BOOM!’ and yellow duckies above a knocked-down player. The story in story mode is being told in comic-style, so everything fits the 70’s vintage comic theme perfectly.
The game has background music in the menu, which are of course famous songs from the 70’s. During the game there’s also commentary, crowd sounds, arena organ music, and a goal horn, and for all of these sounds you can turn the volume up or down in the options. The commentary during the game gets a bit repetitive after a while. There are ‘swoosh’ sounds when the puck gets hit, and a lot of ‘bleepy’ arcade sounds, fitting the cartoonish, vintage style of the game.
Old Time Hockey is a sports game with different game modes: ‘story mode’ and ‘exhibition game’. Story mode lets you play a sucky team and try to make them move up the boards to the top. Exhibition mode lets you play any team, and you have a local multiplayer option, but not online thus far. The exhibition mode lets you pick the advanced controls mode once you’ve unlocked them, but you can use a cheat code to unlock them early, without having to complete story mode.
You absolutely need a controller for this game. It takes a while to learn the controls, especially if you’ve never played anything like NHL or even FIFA before. You control a player that’s close to the puck, and you can skip from player to player to control them. The rest of the players are controlled by AI, and you can’t control the goalie. The game has advanced and simple control modes, where the advanced one is allegedly more similar to the NHL games. The simple ones were hard enough to learn, and the only option available for story mode. Basic controls are very arcade-like, you use just a few buttons. By completing the story mode you’ll unlock the advanced control option with way more button options.
Hitting well is an important strategy to win the game, and you’ll learn that quickly during story mode. By harassing a player a few times you’ll enter a fight, which plays a bit like a simple arcade fighting game. Winning a fight will demoralize the losing player for a while, and makes him play horrible, while the winning player plays better. It’s pretty important to learn to fight well, because instead of winning by playing hockey real good you can also win by letting the other team lose because of their demoralized players.
Your team gets ‘on fire’ when you do really well, hit a number of opposing players down, or when the opposing team is totally failing. The team on fire will have a higher chance of getting successful shots, shots are more powerful, and penalties are less likely of being called by the officials.
Playing through the story mode takes a lot of matches, but during the matches you’ll learn new moves and how to use them, and your team will get stronger. You have several objectives per match which you need to complete, but most of the time the objectives do not require you to win the match. The objectives of the game are pretty confusing when you know absolutely nothing about hockey. Completing the main objectives will conclude the match, and completing a secondary objective will unlock items like collectible vintage hockey cards of the team’s players. While playing through the matches you can keep an eye on the boards and see your team move up and get better, and you can even see all statistics per player of all the teams.
Old Time Hockey is a fun approach to a sports game. The focus isn’t so much on playing to win, but playing for having fun, which is reflected in the objectives you need to complete for each match. However, the game is pretty hard to learn for somebody completely new to the genre, and the objectives you need to complete are hard to understand if you know nothing about the terms used in hockey. It’s a cool game, but for a newbie it’s pretty hard to get into.