NHL 2013 marks yet another notch in the belt for the series. They can once again say that they managed to out do the rest of EA Sports lineup in pushing the series forward in a positive fashion.
The addition of minor league teams to the series a few years ago was a huge leap. But the addition of world teams is even nicer. It adds so much to the game it isn’t a surprise the Ultimate Team mode has become a huge aspect of this game.
The menus have been completely redone this year as has the soundtrack. It is an alternative rock friendly blend that is a welcome retreat from the other sports games I enjoy playing as they are nearly jam packed with only rap and r & b. It would be nice if games offered a little better sampling of musical flavors but then again, its not a perfect world.
In game sound is the best it has ever been. Crowd chatter is a nice touch and ice crunch is awesome. But the sound of the shots bouncing and colliding off the boards or net frame is excellent. Player collisions are decent suffering more from a lack in frequency than an issue with the sound effects. You see, the series trademark thud happy check fast has slowed the last couple of years in favor of focusing on different teams game play styles. And that is by far best represented in this year’s title.
New animations do make wiping each other out a blast but there is a subtle art to making that happen. It is pretty hard to time the really big hits using the right thumbstick. But it grows on you.
New modes are always an intersting draw. And the newest is Free Skate. A mode that allows you to go one on one just you and a goalie, (And for some reason your own goalie hanging out in the net behind you.) You can pick a player, practice taking different shots, learn the new body positioning controls using the left trigger, and figure out how to become a monster in front of the crease. Deking is a nice factor in your arsenal and finally this years game has fixed the issue of allowing a player to rear back for a slap shot, not touching the puck for several seconds, and somehow keeping the puck moving with them in the direction they choose to move. This year, you have to make your move and shoot. You can’t rope a dope the goalie or you’ll lose the control of the puck and it will glide away from you.
Realism that makes sense and really adds to the fun of the game. This year’s game really stands up well to scrutiny. So when the demo launched on live this week. I wanted another go. The game is releasing in only a few weeks so check the demo out. Its a blast and really makes the experience drive you to want more. Except in the typically scheme EA throws at you where you can only play the third period of each game. They let you try out a small portion of Ultimate Team and relive the cup victory of the Devils vs Kings. But they don’t want to give away the bank. So they limit your time at any one point. But that’s no big deal. You can check out the free skate demo and learn some of the new mechanics.
Visually speaking this game is the best looking hockey title ever created. The new HDR lighting system makes everything look super real, and the rest of the game is cool and crisp as well. Nothing was left out. Even the fans in the stands look better than they ever have. No card board cut outs in this title.
Overall this game is a four out of five. Well worth the price of admission if you haven’t picked up a hockey game in a while and for you year in year out types. It has a lot to offer you this year as well.