Bush League Hockey aka Old Time Hockey
I figured out the whole Share Play issue and figured out how to play with my brother. Yet nothing changes in my overall review.
Set in the late 1970s amidst a poor economic climate and during the peak of the disco era in the United States, Old Time Hockey underscores the arduous story of a struggling hockey team. The Hinto Brews and their team manager are desperate because of and uncertain financial times. Soon they may find themselves in trouble losing not just fans, but their own jobs as hockey players. Can the team be saved?
If you liked the movie Slap Shot starring Paul Newman or NHLPA ‘93 or NHL ’94 then this should have been the game for you. I was very excited when my brother Scott told me about this game. He hyped it up and said it’s NHLPA ’93 but on the PlayStation 4 and I was ready to play it. Then he sent me the trailer and I watched it. It looked funny and the style definitely had that old school look. Then he told me it was two players and I remember asking him if it was multiplayer, he told me yes. Now maybe I should have done more research before I spent my $11.99 on the game. Once I downloaded it I called my brother so we could play together.
As soon the game loaded I heard the music it was just awesome, rock n’ roll and hockey go very well together. Then I was looking for the multiplayer option so I can play with brother online. Now I’m pissed because I don’t see it, I only see the option for couch co-op. Normally This wouldn’t be a big deal but my brother lives in upstate NY and I live in the city. I also got pissed because this was our chance to play a retro style hockey game together all the time instead of having to wait for him to visit me. Then I had the great idea of using PlayStation’s “Share Play” but that didn’t work. They I tried the “Play Together Option” so I could possibly set it up as a couch co-op game because I have done it with Dead Nation but again no luck.
Now I’m pretty pissed off because the whole point was to be able to play with my brother on-line. Now I have a hockey game that I can only play solo, so I decided just to play it and check it out. There is a season mode in which you play as the Hinto Brews a struggling team in last place and hoping to make it to the playoffs. Each game in the season you are given three objectives to complete which are all optional unless you have to win the game. If you complete the objectives then you are given stars which automatically get assigned to one or all three tiers; offence, defense and fighting. You don’t even have to win the game since you’re playing a storyline season mode; the only time you have to win is when the game tells you that you need to. This was odd but I can see how they wanted to develop the story but other than the objectives what’s the actual point in playing? So I would try to do the objectives and then just skate around and waste time because I wanted to continue the story.
After a few games the arcade old school hockey quickly wears off. The body checking and fighting get old and it happens a lot. This is how I won most of the games because I found it easier than skating around to waste time, I would keep body checking my opponents then win a perfect fight. By winning the fight cleanly you would injure your opponent and they would not be able to play. Injure around eight guys and you win by default, regardless of score. After every match you had standings; most goals, points, penalty minutes and hits. Yet none of it mattered because you weren’t playing to win unless you were told to do so, which made the games seem like a chore instead of exciting.
Most hockey games allow you to set up your offence and defense, this game doesn’t. You can’t set up your power play or penalty kill either. I like to set up my guys in a crash the net offense and diamond defense, it’s not the biggest issue but why can’t you do this. You cannot do a one timer and depending on what controller figuration you selected passing can be difficult. There are four controller layouts; Advanced, Retro, Beer Mode and Two-Button. I only used retro but I used advanced to collect the cards as they are unique in terms of objectives. There are certain objectives during the season that have cards attached to them. In order to unlock them you must complete the task. These collectable cards also unlock a trophy once you obtain it. None of the challenges are too difficult and if you feel that you aren’t going to collect it then simply restart the match and try again.
Eventually you find yourself in the playoffs, if you win the games you’re supposed to but nothing is new. The arenas still look like the same like they did during the regular season. Then it’s pretty much the same thing and if you happen to have completed enough objectives and filled up your offense, defense and fighting to five stars then the only thing you’re doing is trying to win. Then the last objective is to win Johnny’s Cup and in order to do that you have to beat the shit out of your opponents so they forfeit the game. That was fun but nothing I haven’t done before as fights are plentiful. Once you win the Johnny Cup Championship there is a new game plus mode but nothing is different, it’s the same old thing but without the story mode. If you are a trophy hunter then you must do it all again in order to collect the remaining cards and finish as champions again but this time you can pick a different team.
I appreciate what they tried to do to bring back the old school era of hockey on the PlayStation 4 but they failed. The setting and themes are all great but the execution just wasn’t there as it felt empty. In the beginning the game starts out good but then it’s literally rinse and repeat over and over. The commentary is well done put this also gets repetitive just like everything else in the game. Overall the game lacks real depth and doesn’t deliver a true hockey experience. You are better off just watching Slap Shot and drinking a beer or playing NHLPA ’93.