So as many of you may or may not know, I am a BIG hockey fan. I love hockey and the NHL. The NHL franchise by EA Sports is probably the biggest sports series for the company, and I am including Madden. That being said, I do feel like this series has taken a step back and a big part of that was NHL 15 when they gave us a bare bones game. NHL 16 was better but it still lacked in longevity, I traded my NHL 16 in about a month back to get UFC2 for $10 (which I do not regret). Don’t get me wrong I do miss my Hockey, but that void is pretty much filled by Rocket League and Ill explain that more in detail in a moment.
So when I first saw the NHL 17 “Vision Trailer” I was obviously intrigued and a bit excited to see what it was all about. After watching it I felt almost unchanged, because there was some cool things I saw there and then there was a lot of nothingness in that trailer. The first thing that really caught my eye was the “Create a Team” teaser, it didn’t really tell us much, but it did show us a custom uni and the ability to customize the arena (to a certain degree). Awesome, that has been something I know I have wanted back since they took it out in NHL 15. My fear is, besides “customizing” your arena, I feel like nothing much will have changed in this feature. I think it will be basically the same thing as NHL 14 had and that will be disappointing. I want to see A BUNCH of customizable options, like how big the numbers on the sleeves are, a gazzilion different jersey styles, a gazzilion different logo styles, as a matter of fact, I want to see the option to UPLOAD your own team logo like they did for the NCAA series.
After that teaser, it went further into the “customizable” area by showing us that we could relocate teams, and one of the places we could relocate to was Hartford! Yes! Everyone’s favorite nonexistent team, the Hartford Whalers can make a comeback to the NHL if you so desire to do so (if they give you the Whalers logo to use that is… if they don’t then what is the point)! I know I would definitely move a team and make them the Whalers again… probably Ottawa.. .hate them. I shouldn’t say I hate them, they just have an awful uniform.. please change them in real life.
But besides that, all they kept saying was your “legacy” and the “vision”, how they are working on making it the most real life game yet and so on. They promise this every year and while I do like the game, I will play it, I just cant get passed the fact that the puck will always be like a magnet to the sticks of the players on the ice and only if the computer allows the puck to go in will it. After falling in love with Rocket League how can I go back to those mechanics? In Rocket League you win and lose primarily if YOU are able to shoot on target and score and if YOU are good enough to make the big saves. YOUR decisions and YOUR strategy and effort is the way you win or lose, the ball isn’t connected to the cars, the computer isn’t deciding if you made a good enough shot to go in, it is all HUMAN action and reaction. In the NHL series if you don’t shoot at a correct angle, then the puck isn’t going in, period. It has got to the point to where you have to find the “glitch” areas to be able to score well and often and that isn’t fun, there isn’t any real suspense, just whether the computer will keep the puck out of the net.
Until EA Sports finds a way to replicate the real physics of an NHL game without relying on computer percentage to decide a goal, we will never really see a true to life hockey game. I am interested in seeing what they unveil next and I hope it is more exciting than this was.