NHL 13 Review

  • Posted September 11th, 2012 at 16:53 EDT by Adam Dolge

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NHL 13

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NHL 14 takes the ice in a new way, and it brings with it retro and new players alike with NHL 94 Mode. Even if the menus are slow and the AI is stupid, 14 is still a strong outing that any hardcore fan, as well as the retro and new, will gladly pick up and play.

We like

  • NHL 94 coaxes new and retro players to the ice
  • Live the Life digs deeper into player's lifestyle
  • Fighting is a right, not a privilege

We dislike

  • Slow menus bog down RPG-like experience
  • AI is shallow and unsophisticated
  • Collision Engine simplifies gameplay

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

(continued from previous page) ...slower skating is more realistic, and that's true, but its translation in your fingertips may turn off newcomers or longtime fans.

One thing that is inarguable is that this is the best looking NHL game ever. There are a ton of new animations, players are replicated with precision, the sounds on the ice are stunning, and commentary from Bill Clemente and Gary Thorne is as good as it gets. There are some random glitches in the engine and on a number of occasions I witnessed my player jump from the boards to in front of the net quite randomly. In addition, there appears to be some issues with the hit mechanics as it wasn't uncommon to see a player hit react unrealistically to a hit. Still, the overall presentation is superb.

You can still take a team in a career mode or lace-up as a single player, advancing in an almost RPG-style progression. But there are really a small handful of new features and modes. GM Connected features a bit of an online community, allowing you to compete with up to 750 people playing in a single league. You can simulate games so the progress won't take you years. This is essentially an online version of Be a GM. In theory, this is going to offer diehard hockey fans a ton of content to sink their teeth into, but in early practice there wasn't much to see during my review. Still, it's a worthy addition and I'm sure you'll have a great time bringing your team to compete with a seemingly endless number of human opponents.

The other new mode this year is NHL Moments Live, which, like other recent sports games, allows you to relive history by playing in a number of scenarios. You are essentially tasked with reliving these historic moments, many are from the last season with more said to be available throughout the year. These are definitely a fine break from your career mode. But it feels odd to recreate a memorable moment as Wayne Gretzky but playing up against modern players.

Ultimate Team also gets some improvements at it attempts to compete with its bigger brothers. It now borrows from Madden and FIFA by making it so players don't have to retire. Trading in all modes is more realistic too as you won't find much mismatched buys. These are notable changes for diehard fans, but minor for the newcomer or those that will play NHL 13 for a few days then move on to their next sports game purchase. EA Sports Hockey League adds regional matchmaking and a new leaderboard system.

As is apparent in just about every sports game lately, the menu screens are lagging and load screens are pretty long. But aside from that there are no real problems with the game. The new skating system is about as big as it gets this year, when we're talking overall changes, and even that may turn some off. This was a necessary step for EA Sports to help take the NHL series in a more realistic direction. But how fans respond is yet to be seen. It will certainly take some time to get used to, but in the end you'll probably feel more accomplished, more in tune with your team, and more knowledgeable about actual hockey. How this translates to enjoyment, well that depends on how much time you want to invest relearning to skate, or how quickly you can pick it up.

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  • Related game: NHL 13

    Release date (US):
    September 11th, 2012
    EA Canada
    Sports - Ice Hockey
    0 of 2,669 Games
    Up 0 places (in last 7 days)

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