If you've been following EA's sports game releases on older consoles and the PC over the last couple of years, the following sentence should be of absolutely no surprise to you: NHL 08 on the PS2 and PC is a lot like NHL 07. Once again, EA has phoned it in on these versions, adjusting the control scheme a bit, adding minor league management to the dynasty mode, and calling it a day. Apart from that, the game still plays the same lightning-fast and patently unrealistic game of hockey it has since NHL 2005, and unless you're devoid of any current-gen consoles, there's little reason to take the plunge on this year's game.
NHL 07 returns to the PS2 in NHL 08.
The most significant change to NHL 08 on the PS2 and PC is the addition of the skill stick, the excellent control feature from the Xbox 360 and PS3 game that lets you deke and shoot using the right analog stick (PC owners can still use keyboard buttons, if that floats your particular brand of boat). Unfortunately, this version of the skill stick isn't all that great. It's certainly an improvement, but it lacks the precision of the stick movements found in the 360 and PS3 versions. Dekes feel a bit stiff, and slap shots are a pain to pull off. Half the time you wind up for the shot, your player won't slap it forward, no matter how hard you push the stick forward to shoot. Wristers, at least, seem to work without a hitch.
There's no arguing that the addition of the skill stick is a nice bonus. It's just that this skill stick isn't dynamic enough to really make a significant difference, especially when you're playing the equivalent of speed hockey. NHL 08 still feels way, way too fast to be remotely realistic. Checking is still too frequent and too heavy, and scoring is only slightly less out of control. Once you get a handle on the stick, you can still average seven or eight goals a game just by hammering slap shots (when they work) and constantly crashing the net up the middle, periodically faking out the goalie with some of your fancy new dekes. Defensive artificial intelligence is weak enough to where you can pretty much do this over and over and guarantee a win on practically every difficulty level--especially when the defense decides to start getting tangled-up opposing players in front of the net in a gigantic bunching formation, making it easy for you to move to the wing and snap one in while the goalie is screened. The ridiculous speed and high-scoring nature of the game make it relatively fun if viewed purely as an arcade hockey game, but it's not really any more or less fun than last year's game, or the year before that, for that matter.
The only other gameplay addition to be found is a goofy "buddy buzz" feature that lets players in two-player team matches tap their sticks on the ice and, as a result, send a quick bit of vibration to their puck-handling friend to let them know they're open. And the PC version doesn't even have this feature--just the PS2 does.