NHL Faceoff 2003 for Sony PlayStation 2 (PS2)
Sony's winter sports series receives a facelift with the release of NHL FaceOff 2003, the PlayStation 2's second hockey title under the 989 Sports brand. The game engine has been retooled to offer more than 700 new animations, and both the player models and 3D arenas have been redesigned for more realism. The enhanced engine complements the features fans have come to expect in the series, including all NHL teams and players from the 2001-2002 season. Game modes consist of Practice, Exhibition, Season, Tournament, Playoffs, Shootout, and Career, which has players trying to build a dynasty during a ten-year time period.
Practice and Exhibition modes let players select two teams, roster types (All-Star, international, or season), and the arena in which the action takes place. Practice adds the option to select the number of skaters, with a minimum of three on each team. Season consists of an 82-game schedule complete with playoffs and Stanley Cup competition. Multiple teams can compete in the same season, so friends can guide their favorite teams during the course of a full schedule. Playoffs mode has players skipping the season and lets them set up the teams, pairings, and format (from a 1- to 7-game series) before the puck drops and competition begins.
Tournament features eight teams divided into two pools. Six games are played, with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the playoffs for a shot at winning a gold cup. Shootout involves alternating between goalie and shooter as players prepare for a five-shot contest to see who can score the most. Career has players managing their team for ten consecutive seasons, making roster changes as needed during the off-season. In between seasons are a two-round rookie draft and a free agent draft to help replenish the team's 30-man roster. Trades are also supported, but the computer may reject offers it deems unfair.