NHL Hitz 2002 for Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2)
Though the play in this PS2 version of EA SPORTS' perennially popular NHL 2002 is similar to that of the previous year's NHL 2001 inaugural release on the console, a few changes and additions help it to stand out from its 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 the ambient noise of the crowd and other players, to provide an emotionally authentic one-on-one, do-or-die experience. This edition also brings the "NHL Cards" rewards system to the series. As in many contemporary console sports games, players can earn cards through skilled play, which can then be used 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 into the statistical displays and announcers' banter. As usual (since NHL 94), NHL 2002 is full 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.