PC hockey games have long been the elusive white whale over the past several years. If memory serves correct, the last PC hockey game was NHL 09, it’s been that long. When I saw the announcement for a new hockey game called Old Time Hockey, I became very excited. However, after spending time with Old Time Hockey, my excitement level has significantly dropped.
Old Time Hockey was created to be a throwback to the old days with cheesy team colors, awesome mustaches, frequent fighting and players risking injury by not wearing a helmet and in this sense, the goal is accomplished. There is a sense of nostalgia playing the game, but the actual gameplay greatly hinders this nostalgic experience.
There are a few different control schemes in Old Time Hockey, ranging from the two-button retro mode to the more common advanced mode which is similar to the EA Sports NHL series controls. Regardless of the scheme used, I found the controller responses very laggy, especially on defense. There were many instances where an opponent would skate right by me as I frantically press the button trying to bump him. My opponents scored numerous goals this way. On offense, the controls were slightly better, however, passing the puck was not as responsive or accurate. Passes would either go to the wrong player or occasionally to an empty area on the ice. This made it difficult to complete any one-timers on offense. I’m optimistic that this lag is easily resolved via a patch. Something else that was confusing was that when using the right stick on the controller to shoot, I was forced to reverse how I used it when I was going the opposite direction on the screen. There are options to adjust the camera so you are always going the same direction on the screen, but why would you change the control scheme based on the direction you are going on screen?
Old Time Hockey offers a few different ways to play the game. Along with local multiplayer, you can select to play an Exhibition game or drop into the frustrating Story Mode. I say frustrating as many player moves are unavailable until what I feel are basic hockey skills are unlocked in the story mode. What’s most aggravating is that the tutorials pop up continually until you complete the skill being taught. For example, the game stopped every time I crossed my opponents blue line to educate me on how to perform a slapshot. I understand teaching the skills, but a slapshot shouldn’t be something I unlock, it’s a standard shot type, not a unique skill to learn. Exhibition mode lets you use various control schemes and was more enjoyable than the Story Mode for that reason.
Final thoughts on Old School Hockey video game:
It’s great to see hockey on the PC again with Old Time Hockey, but I hope the glaring flaws can be quickly patched by V7 Entertainment to make this game more enjoyable to play. You can purchase Old Time Hockey for $11.99 on both Steam and the PlayStation Store. Nintendo Switch and Xbox One versions will arrive later. Given the lower end price point, it’s not a bad purchase, but I’d wait a little longer to see if the issues are resolved before spending your money.
Old Time Hockey on PC
- Hockey back on the PC
- Graphics feel retro as intended
- Reasonable price
- Hockey back on the PC (Yes, this deserves to be here twice)
- Very laggy controls, especially on defense
- Story mode requires you to unlock basic skills
- Switching between players doesn't always work
- Tutorial guides continue to stop game play until completed
- No control over the goalie