As the NHL hockey season nears, it’s time for most GenX hockey fans to prepare to spend an additional $60 of EA’s latest iteration of its video game franchise. (Or if you’re “lucky” like I am, then you also get to re-up your years XBL subscription, too.)
Each year, EA promises humongous changes that will make a new purchase worthwhile…but in my opinion, they seldom deliver. Like normal, EA has done the same this year. However, I think that we may see some changes that we have been yearning for for a few years.
One addition this year is increased interaction in front of the goalies. This year, skaters can get tangled up with the oddest players on the ice; you can knock them down, knock their helmets off, and push the posts off of the moorings. Also, there will be a feature that allows goalies to become involved in fights. I’ll reserve judgment to see how well this is done.
Another much needed small addition is shattering glass. Back in the days of the Sega NHL games, this was a common occurrence. Should this occur every game? Nope. And I sincerely hope that it doesn’t. However, a well-timed shatter on a Weber shot will be pretty cool.
Also, the NHL12 team has added numerous player traits that will help the AI player smarter and more realistic, such as Pinching DMen, Net Drivers, and Agitators. I think this will be one of the best changes to the game. Any time the AI can be made “smarter” and more realistic, then only great things can be expected.
The team has also announced that the physics engine has been updated; this year, skaters really hit as they should. Apparently, we will no longer see the Sullys of the league knock down the Charas. That will be a pleasant addition.
There are a few changes that I am looking for. Of course, I’d like more Preds to look like themselves. I’m tired of having 2 players who semi-resemble their actual counterparts. It’s time that Suter and Toots look like the actual players. Also, I’m tired of making breakout passes during online play, only to have the puck deflect off the stick and into the far corner. The physics don’t act like this during offline play, and it should play that way all the time. Finally, the stupid and phantom penalties that the game calls need to be gone. I’d rather online play be comprised of very few calls, as opposed to the slashes that I get called on every time I try a stick lift.
We’ll soon find out if the game delivers what it promises. I hope it does…but even if it doesn’t, I’ll buy it anyways.