NHL 14 Review: an icing that doesn't penalize retro or new players from playing
- Posted September 13th, 2013 at 12:45 EDT by Timothy Nunes
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EA Sports takes its NHL series in a more realistic direction with a new skating system. While it's accompanied by some other authentic hockey features, it may turn off casual fans as they struggle to adapt to a slower game.
- Terrific presentation
- Improved A.I., especially goalkeeping
- A more authentic experience
- Slow skating may turnoff casual players
- Slow load screens and laggy menus
- Some animation and engine glitches
Proper collision physics have been added to the game, but I can't say that I properly enjoy them. To be fair, the ability to ram full boar into another player is great and all, but, much like what has taken place in the Madden series, more and more gameplay elements are becoming part of the basic movement as player movement and weight factor into landing hits. Arguably, one does not have to press a button while actually playing hockey in order to land a hit on someone, but the lack of input when interacting with other players makes for a rather nontraditional and disconnecting experience. This perspective may be less objective than it should be, but it also should help indicate where you as the player stand on the matter and if you'll get out of it what I did not.
Speaking of collisions, one reason why non-hardcore fans of hockey watch hockey is to see a bunch of guys fight on the ice, and NHL 14 brings in a cross-title EA Sports inspiration to better that aspect of the game; for the record, NHL players don’t walk on the field to fight, but we all enjoy it anyway. Straight from Fight Night—engine and all—NHL players who engage in fights will be in full third-person view while doing it. Gone are the days of first-person fights as you use the joysticks to execute three simple abilities: grapple, punch, and dodge. Not only are the controls simple, you no longer have to jump through hoops to initiate fisticuffs; now, players you've royally pissed off will force you into a fight, so if fighting is your practice each game, then you don’t have to work so hard to make it happen.
The RPG element to modern-day sports games is becoming more and more prominent as the games become more involved in simulating the lives of actual players, and the formerly-titled Be a Pro game mode is now Live the Life. Games are going further and further into a simulated life of an actual player. Not only will you be increasing your player's stats through performance, you also have access to social events, press conferences, and financial endorsements, which puts you definitively right in the driver's seat of a contracted NHL player.