Sunday, September 18, 2011

NHL 12 (PS3)

First Impressions

So on Tuesday I picked up my pre-ordered copy of NHL 12 from the local Gamestop (Bauer Boost pack and all!). Instead of doing a long, detailed, drawn out review of it, I feel it will be best to talk in bullet points. We all love Bullet points! Lets start with the Pro's and work our way to the Con's.

(FYI: I haven't even began to explore all of the different modes and settings this game has to offer. I've mostly stuck with what I already loved about the past games to see if they changed things for the better.)


The presentation as a whole is phenomanl. From the cut scenes, to the replays, to the menus. They fixed a lot of old problems creating a much better overall experience. I couldn't be happier with the outcome of the presentation.

- Beginning with the Cover. It doesn't really stray from the covers of old but considering I'm not only a Stamkos and Tampa fan, but a fan of there newly designed jerseys.. I dig it. Nice "Icy" graphics, overall good feel to it.

- Introduction. It opens up with a beautifully long (albeit slightly choppy) sequence showing off the new Winter Classic mode, dropping you into the first face-off where you are automatically controlling the Penguins. A neat way to be introduced to the game.

- The newly designed menus are slick. Once again, similar to past years, but it has a fresh and updated feel.

- Winter Classic mode is a nice change of pace. The presentation leading up to hitting the ice and dropping the puck is engaging.

- The replays of the past, where it was literally random sequences that had almost zero impact on the game, are gone for a new system of quality plays, hits, and goals. It's nice to see them finally fix this.

- EASHL (That online mode we all have grown to love) has some minor tweaks that have made for a better flow. Drop-in is playable. You can have multiple Pro set-ups allowing you to switch from a forward to a d-man between games with just a simple click.

- The new progression system in the EASHL is easier to stay engaged (It's all in steps of 3, i.e. Amateur 2 of 3 < Amateur 3 of 3 < Pro 1 of 3).

- I initially felt weird because the game had a slower feel to it. I quickly realized this was because players actually have a sense of weight this time around. The players also feel larger, bringing that "North American" aspect to the arena.

- Hitting is a bit less over-the-top. With the better weight system, players bounce off and fall accordingly, occasionally loosing there helmet or a stick.

- Passing. It's amazing. They had to make the changes to NHL 11 from 10 and even though it was a bit broken in 11, they absolutely refined it for the best in 12. They are crisper, you don't find yourself holding down for too long and being screwed out of a decent pass, and the accuracy has been cleaned up.

- The shooting has been tightened. You don't have to rely on glitches, or trying to deke in close, as shooting has now become a reliable way of scoring.

- Which brings me to scoring. I haven't come across (yet!) ways to consistently keep putting the puck in the back of the net. Every goal scored feels fresh and well earned. In NHL 11 there was a lot of sliding the puck across for the one-timer and looping in from the corners to force the goalie out of position. They both seem less possible, the looping goal more-so than the one-timer BS.

- The goaltenders are much improved, less sporadic in terms of the puck shooting 5 feet up and the goalie flailing like a fish out water. The tend to make mistakes but they aren't too different to mistakes you see in an actual NHL game.

- Defense, much improved. The new "Intent" engine EA applied really makes offline modes playable. I might actually consider playing some Be a GM or Season Mode this time around.

- The end of period "Strategies" you are given actually have helpful tips. I consider myself to be pretty decent and yet I find myself curious of the suggested changes I should make from period to period.

(I'm sure there are more things that are simply slipping from my mind and if I remember I'll update later.)


- The Freezing. It has to STOP! The first thing I did once loading up the game was play some HUT (Hockey Ultimate Team) and after the 2nd round, during the 3rd, the game froze. Mid game! Upon restarting, I lost my progress in the tourney and had to start from round 1. Disappointing and I hope this isn't a reoccurring theme.

- HUT, I've already lost interest. Maybe it's just me, but the progression is annoying. It's really a slow and tedious process to build up to a decent team. This is why so many people gave up on it last year. If you aren't willing to spend real money, it's almost unplayable.

- Why won't they finally use a Red Wing for the cover? Please?

- The Bauer Booster Pack, although cool looking, is really pretty useless. Almost defeating the purpose of pre-ordering.

- The trading system is still broken. Very broken. I kicked off Be a GM with a trade of Hudler, White, and a pick for Drew Doughty. Really?

- Be a Pro still has some of the same old problems. For example, you are 10 games in and already have 20+ points with an unbelievable +/-, leading your team in all significant categories, yet you don't get PP, PK, or OT time?



There is room for improvements, as usual, but another fantastic entry in the series that will be sure to prevent me from doing things I should be doing.

If you are ever up for a game, find me online: Justadoodle

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