I have been playing the EA NHL series since the Sega Genesis. Of course, it’s one of the few sports games that continually improves year after year and this year is no different. The soundtrack is the most disappointing feature this year from what I have experienced so far. It’s really sad to year after year, one rapper mostly unheard of and usually pretty bad is what we get in terms of diversity. We get no surprise of someone like Drake, who preformed for NHL at the all-star game in Canada. But, I’ll move on to more important things now. Wait, edited Foxy Shazam… seriously, why would they have put this song in at all. Looking like a custom soundtrack for me this year. Okay, for real this time.
My first mission was to go to free skate and play around to get back into the swing of things. The game plays slower than I remember it, but that’s a tuner issue on my part. Steven Stamkos was my player of choice, being a Lightning fan he’s the most logical one. NHL 13 has been touting their new skating engine all summer long, and it’s worth they hype. I can position players more naturally, take the turns, and put on the brakes how my real life counterpart can. Now that the skating was out of the way it was time to move to a much, much more important aspect for me, the goalie.
Yeah, that’s right the freaking goalies are updated and kick ass. No longer does a 100 mph slap shot off the leg barely bounce around. In addition the goalie doesn’t make dumb-ass moves, like placing the glove across his body, he will brush something off that doesn’t need to be gloved down. This was appreciated much more once I went into an actual game.
I had to try Winter Classic, it was there last year for me, and I hit up the mode all of one time. Honestly, though if I’m ever outside of my Be A GM I’m in a rare state. This year I made it a point to go to first before my trades and such have effected my mind too much on who exactly my team would be.
Lightning v. Coyotes that meant going up against the brick wall of Mike Smith. I won 3-0 with 1 EN goal. My goalie didn’t see much action due to the players tracking each other like never before. When I moved out of position on a chase, my teammate was there to fill in the spot. It was pretty impressive to see that mode actually working, it still locked the players up slightly. I missed several stick lifts due to the slowness from switching players to the reaction time that I’d hit another button. I tried to get a cheap one-timer on Smith and he literally dove across the damned ice and stopped it. It was great to see this kind of innovation actually come to life and make the game worth playing.
Then, like mentioned earlier I went to Be A GM mode. I start at the season, not the draft. Right away I was offered a legit trade from Detroit, Brett Clark for a 2nd round pick. Accepted. Not to mention, Detroit already traded a first rounder and player for Shane Doan. This game’s trade logic is incredibly balanced with the new rating system that leads to a more accurate assessment of how much a player is worth to the other team. In my first preseason game I beat Washington 3-1 and am looking into free agents now to fill up some spots on my team. Kevin Porter will be my first signing, due to my undying love for all things Michigan hockey.
Last year I enjoyed the game greatly, until I was unable to start new Be A GM modes without legends in the free agency pool. This is something I have asked the EANHL twitter account over and over about with no reply. As long as they don’t ruin it again this year, we should have smooth sailing with NHL 13, with a couple of updates to tweak some minor bugs we’re looking to a great year of console hockey, since the real players might not take to the ice.