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Is it Hockey Season Yet? NHL 16 Preview

/ Sep 2nd, 2015 No Comments

NHL 16 Preview

The NHL season doesn’t start for another month, but gamers around the world will be able to start the hockey season early starting Sept. 15 with the launch of NHL 16 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The NHL seems like an afterthought with the upcoming NFL and NBA seasons in focus, but EA Sports has put some extra work into this year’s iteration of its NHL franchise.

This year sees the return of both EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL) and Be a GM mode, and both have been updated with new features. However, the primary focus seems to be online play; in particular, online co-op play.

For the true sports fan, nothing is better than being able to share that great moment with your friends. NHL 16 brings that experience into the game with online games that allow players to work cooperatively or against others, complete with high fives and trash talk.

Beast Modes

Meanwhile, the new Be A GM mode seems to have the greatest level of detail ever seen in a hockey game. Features such as player morale bring the game mode up to par with some of the other extensive franchise modes in sports games. Now, you will not only have to worry about acquiring the best players, but you will also have to manage how those players interact with one another.

Players could call team meetings, request trades or ask for coaching adjustments if they do not like their teammates on the line. For GMs, it will be all about blending the right mix of talent together. It is this level of detail that shows EA is finally committed to give fans the hockey game they’ve been waiting for.

NHL 16

NHL 16 will look to improve on last year’s effort.

Meanwhile, Be a Pro mode will also be back, but details are scarce thus far. The “Live the Life” aspect of the game that was so popular in NHL 14 would add a deeper level of immersion and drama, but EA Sports has not said if it will be reviving the off-the-ice elements of Be a Pro mode. While this level of realism may not be achieved, at least playoff beards have been added to the game. Expect an accurate representation of patterns, length and thickness of beards on all your favorite NHL superstars. Why has it taken so long to get this in the game?

In addition, EA says they have refined the controls, especially when it comes to controlling the goalie. Goalie precision controls are a much-needed addition, and should help make moving with accuracy easier when tracking down the puck.

No Introduction

Of course, EA is saying all the right things when it comes to NHL 16. But we’ve heard this before. NHL 15 proved disappointing despite some promising upgrades and additions. It sounds like NHL 16 will be much better, but there will be no public demo available to try before making a purchase decision. This doesn’t seem like a vote of confidence for the upcoming hockey title, but after last year’s effort, NHL 16 should be an improvement. We will find out how much of an improvement when the game releases on Sept. 15.


Sal Thomas

Sal Thomas

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Sal is a contributor to Gaming Illustrated.

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