Have you been cautious of another EA Sports flop after NHL 15? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. If you bought 15 on PS4 or Xbox One expecting it to be widely different and better from 14 on a previous generation console, you, like me, were very disappointed in EA’s leap backwards. Today, I’m going to assuage your curiosity and come to a quick decision involving your potential $60.
Let’s start with the easiest features to address, the game modes. In NHL 15, they left in the standard game modes. Play now, online versus, general manager mode, be a pro, and, the pushed to the forefront of every EA Sports title, Ultimate Team. A lot of things were left out and game modes left in felt stripped down. Enough so to anger a lot of fans.
NHL 15 on current generation had no EA Sports Hockey League, arguably the most successful online play mode in hockey video games.
Hockey Ultimate Team, among all Ultimate Team game modes, are so heavily focused on, because it has the most money put into it. Out of every YouTuber/eSport Entertainer that covers an EA game, the most popular videos tend to be videos about Ultimate Team. In turn, when we see someone be successful in either winning games or pulling good players from packs, then the viewers want to do so as well. If their teams happen to be lacking top players, then they might be willing to go in on packs with varying amounts of money.
On previous generation, NHL 15 was 14 with updated rosters and tuners, and it was a sloppy game.
The transition from NHL 15 to 16 was so much better. EASHL was back, shootout mode was back, along with updated goalie controls. Also a bit of blowback from that, because the controls were so drastically different from 14 and 15. However, EA released an alternate control scheme similar to that of NHL 14 and 15.
EASHL is the same fun it was in 14, but they added a very challenging twist. Instead of leveling up from Rookie 1 to Legend 3, there’s now a badge system. Leveling up still occurs, but it’s rewarded with badges in stead of experience point upgrades or player boosts.
In EA’s attempt to balance EASHL, it seems to have come to a considerably fair crossroad. The game mode itself is based on skill and is further proven so by weekly playoff games. However, if your club happens to be absent for some time EA has found an old solution. Drop-in games have returned and they’re sloppier than ever. It’s great and awful all at the same time.
GM Mode returns with a new player morale system. Players tend to play better with specific players and sometimes a team can be negatively affected by trades. Here is an inaccurate to life example:
This tends to make the game significantly more difficult and adds an entirely new level of micromanagement. If you’re not a huge fan of this addition, like me, it’s disappointing to say that I have not found a way to turn the player morale off. In the end, one could completely ignore the morale of players, but then what’s the sense of adding it if people end up ignoring it? Being your own armchair GM has never been easier though.
Be a Pro is significantly more improved than last years version. Players can choose to jump right into the NHL, into the entry draft, or into the CHL to get their own personal NHL career experience. The experience points earned have also improved. They’re now a little more focused on the style of a player. If one were to make their player a sniper, they’re going to most likely want to give XP to the shooting stats. Unless they’d want to be a more physical goal scorer. Then they would add to the physical stats. It’s a very dynamic game mode.
Having all of these game modes makes the game feel whole. Giving the game significantly more variety to it. Giving the game a longer shelf life. However, game modes doesn’t make the game entirely, especially when it comes to sports games. The real determinate is whether the game itself is fun.
Most of the reason I was able to play 15 , because it was fun. And I feel even stronger about how fun NHL 16 is. I’ve even struggled to do some of this article, because of the game. On top of the fairly accurate broadcast style to NBCSN and almost fully accurate goal horns and songs, this has been fun. At least for this week.
But I figure I show you some examples of the type of fun one can have in the game.
Here, I decided I would show off the accuracy of the goal horns. Then I got carried away in the gameplay and gave Giroux a hat trick.
Here, I have a first in a new series on YouTube I’m making called Sons of Chel. In the series, it’ll just be fun, skillful, and exciting EASHL clips I gather over the course of the year.
Overall, I think it’s too early to really rate the game. However, I think it’ll be a very enjoyable game to play. Whether on a couch with friends, online with some buds, or by yourself. Definitely give NHL 16 a go and enjoy your virtual hockey season.