NHL 15 Review

Developer EA

Publisher EA

Platform PS4, XboxOne, PS3 & Xbox360

Release Date Out Now.

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NHL 14 was one of the few EA titles that didn’t get included in last years Next Gen launch with the studio deciding to take an extra year to make the most of the transition. While huge strides have been made in terms of graphics, presentation and in game mechanics a dramatic amount of 14’s game modes did not make the transition (it should be noted that a lot of these modes will be added soon with upcoming patches).

The improvements are instantly apparent, the presentation is slick and does a fine job of creating that “TV feel” with its NBC branding and presenter team of Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk giving the pre-game build up. The stadiums are now full of life with thousands of individual fans all reacting to what is happening on the ice. When a fight breaks out they will bang on the glass baying for blood, others will mock and goad the players on the bench. This works well and is not just a gimmick or an illusion as it really does feel like a stadium full of people.

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Physics improvements now allow for all 12 players on the ice to act as individuals under the influence of the physics engine at all times, this allows for a much more realistic feel to the game with players bustling off the puck. Collisions are even more bone crunching than ever before and the engine handles secondary collisions and pile ups much more realistically. The puck has also received an important update and now reacts much closer to what you would expect from a real puck rather than a “ball”. The puck will travel across the ice, spin, roll and bounce just like a puck should.

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The game also comes with all the real life players with improved likenesses for both the player and the equipment. Pads, jerseys and sticks all look and act naturally. The players are recreated in the usual incredible level of detail and animation that you would expect from an EA sports title.

The control options allow for players to chose between the rookie button option, the pro skill stick or for the retro players the NHL ’94 controls are thrown in. The buttons are easier to grasp initially but even if you are new to the game I recommend trying to stick with skill stick as it offers far more control over the puck.

The main game mode is the Ultimate team, much like FIFA’s Ultimate team you build your team by purchasing “packs” these packs include players and other items such as contracts, healing and training items. They can be purchased with in-game coins or of course with real money.

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While many enjoy the Ultimate team mode others enjoyed the many other game modes from NHL 14 that have not been included in 15. EASHL, GM connected and live the life are not in the launch version. Although the studio have announced a plan for upcoming game updates that will add more and more modes. September see’s the addition of Playoff mode, be a Pro feedback and some upgrades for Ultimate teams as well as future plans to add Online Team Play which allows for all the players on the ice to be controlled by individual human players online.

Overall: Some might feel aggrieved by the lack of modes in NHL 15 but for others who mainly live in the Ultimate team mode they will be delighted with the improvements. The game plays, looks and feels much better. Once the game has finished getting all its updates we will have a better idea about how it stacks up but if you want to play Next Gen Ice Hockey this is your best (and only) option!

SCORE 3.5/5

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