Classic arcade Ice Hockey games were buggy, clunky yet fun… Shame Old Time Hockey forgot the fun
REVIEWED ON PC
ALSO AVAILABLE ON PS4 (NA ONLY)
SOON TO BE AVAILABLE FOR PS4 (WW), XBOX ONE, SWITCH
Old Time Hockey claims itself to be a throw back to the 1970s era of Ice Hockey. A time where referees often let players get away with a ton a brutal moves and hair styles could also function as helmets. It is also a throw back to the classic arcade Ice Hockey video games found on the Sega MegaDrive in the 90s. It’s just a shame it doesn’t deliver on either of them.
Over the years the game of Ice Hockey has been largely dominated in video game form by the power house of Electronic Arts. Developers often shy away from undertaking a genre that they believe they don’t have a chance impacting the market. Old Time Hockey tried working around the limitations of licencing and big budgets by trying something different and ultimately ended up being a parody of itself.
When you hear the term arcade, what comes to mind? You’re probably thinking fast paced action, responsive controls, fun and sometimes wacky right? It’s wacky, but it certainly isn’t fast paced, responsive or even fun.
For starters the controls are way too clunky to allow for any fast pace action to happen. Even realistic sims don’t have controls this unresponsive. With each player you pass the puck to, it takes a good second for them to spring into action and for a game that requires fast reflexes, not just in the arcade sense but in the real world sense. Some could also argue this flaw makes the game unplayable at times.
Old Time Hockey offers a variety of control schemes, one of which can only be unlocked upon getting to a certain point in the story mode. At first you begin thinking to yourself, why do I need to complete part of the Story mode to unlock the “Advanced” control scheme? To give the game some credit, the advance controls are called “advanced” for a reason.
It can be tricky to learn and considering the story mode acts like the tutorial, it is essential if you would like to unlock these controls. However it would of been nice to have the option to, you can’t change the controls in story mode and you will be forced to learn the advanced option regardless of your preference in Exhibition mode.
As you continue playing, your mind begins to wonder why a game that is meant to bring back the old arcade form of Ice Hockey, can be so clunky. It doesn’t matter what controls you pick, the turning circle of your players are still going to be larger than a 50 seater bus and when you do manage to score, it all seems to be based on luck most of the time anyway.
Thankfully there is one redeeming feature and it will be something you’ve never even considered, something most gamers take for granted that is in practically every single game…the volume controls. There is not a lot of sound bites or variety of commentary and it all gets repetitive and ear grinding very quickly. The organ music and original pieces in the menu is also in short supply but at least these are pleasant on the ears even if you have heard them all within an hour of playing.
Fighting is also a integral part of the Old Time Hockey experience, so much so it has received an M rating from the ESRB. Blood will be spilled as you pound your opponent to the ground. Just like scoring goals these fights also appear random as I swear I did the same move to trigger a fight only for it to work 1/8th of the time.
Old Time Hockey does get points for at least trying. There are collectibles for you completionists out there in the form of trading cards, the same type you used to get in the sweet packets or booster packs back in the day.