|a game by||EA Vancouver|
|Platforms:||XBox 360, Playstation 3|
|Editor Rating:||5/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||9.0/10 - 6 votes|
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|See also:||Hockey Games, NHL Games, Sport Games|
When it comes to hockey games, no company does them better than EA Games. NHL 15 is the first entry of the series to arrive in the eighth generation of consoles, introducing some next-gen upgrades over its last-gen versions. These new additions result in a game that’s much better than its predecessors – in some ways.
It seems like EA’s design philosophy for NHL 15 is “one step forward, two steps back.” While all the next-gen bells and whistles are a technological marvel, the removal of some staple elements from the mix is somewhat concerning, especially for a series that has virtually no competition.
Like every yearly entry in the FIFA series, NHL 15 has been known for doing the bare minimum in terms of real innovation in each of its releases. That said, this version offers EA the perfect chance to redefine its formula thanks to the power of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The visual differences between the next and last-gen versions of the game are immediately apparent. Character models on the newer consoles look incredibly detailed, a trend we’ve noticed in titles like EA’s FIFA 15. It’s understandable that the new generations are the focus of the development process – but the half-baked older-gen versions could have looked much better.
Other than that, some landmark game modes return here to spice up the gameplay. The star of the show is the Playoff Mode, in which players create custom tournaments from the many leagues available in NHL 15.
To keep things interesting, the game features the popular “Be a Pro” mode that focuses on a single, customizable player. In this mode, character progression and developing skill becomes the only focus.
However, Be a Pro has been gutted compared to how it was in previous entries. Most of the more intricate aspects of the simulation have been diminished in some way or another, leaving the mode feeling like a husk of its former self. In fact, most of the game feels like a shadow of what it was, as many elements that once were staples of the genre are now missing in action.
Customization has always been one of the most important parts of any sports game worth its salt. Surprisingly, it seems like EA has decided to severely limit the amount allowed to players in most of the game’s modes.
Players’ ratings are all over the place; some rookies are considered legends by the game’s standards, while some well-known players pale in comparison to some of its less capable teammates.
Creating a player from scratch is also missing from NHL 15, which is a shame. To compete in Be a Pro, players will have to use a character that’s already 50% done by the time they get to edit them. Part of the fun of playing such a character-centric mode was creating a wholly unique character, but it seems like EA doesn’t agree with that sentiment.
All in all, NHL 15 feels like a pretty downgrade from last year’s entry. Sure, it showcases the next-gen’s potential, but it does so at the cost of some much-loved features.
NHL 15 is not a great hockey game, but it’s virtually the only one available in the market. The lack of competition results in a game that’s not terrible, but could definitely be much better.
- Excellent character models add an extra layer of realism
- Some landmark modes return from last year’s entry
- The new AI and physics make the game feel more realistic than before
- Missing some key components from previous entries
- Some odd physics glitches
- Stripped-down customization options