It must feel like Freaky Friday in the 2K Sports office. For years, 2K's brand of hockey was known for its realism, while EA's NHL series was more of an arcade game. One forced you to play "true" hockey while the other was about one-timers and crashing the net. But over the past two years, the roles have been reversed. EA is the current king of NHL realism and 2K seems to be going a bit more in the opposite direction. NHL 2K9 is, as 2K puts it, about "bringing back the fun." That doesn't mean 2K has abandoned attempting to create a sim hockey title, but it does mean there have been some sacrifices to make NHL 2K9 more accessible. Some of these changes are very welcome. The previously convoluted controls have been streamlined. No more using buttons to modify other buttons. There are three control sets, Basic (for the simple-minded), Pro Stick Evolution (similar to NHL 09's controls), and Hybrid, which merges the two. The controls are easy to pick up and master -- no need to repeatedly consult the manual. 2K has done an excellent job of giving players greater control while lessening the burden of controller inputs.