For a few years, sports games have been inconsistent. But two new hockey games with pedigrees - EA's NHL '08 and NHL 2K8 - are keepers.
EA's NHL '08 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and 3, rated E) is lovely in artistry. You see reflections in the ice and details in players' faces. More important, the game play is as solid as can be. You use both joysticks to move and shoot, instead of merely mashing buttons.
Take-Two's NHL 2K8 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and 3, rated E) is even better, if easy to beat. It's the descendant of the great Sega hockey, but these days it comes with the sleekest of player moves and an extraordinary visual quality. Someone could complain that the old Sega strategies here are aged, as when you ice around a goalie then hook in a score. But I love that ease of play.
NHL 2K8 offers quicker ice running than NHL '08, so if you're needing for speeding, 2K8 is the title for you.