NOTE: For full review, including video, go to Gamesided.com.
Over the last year, the team at EA Canada wanted to take fan concerns that they received and use them to fix what needed fixing in time for NHL 14.
NHL 13 had unrealistic hitting, and a new skating engine that had a lot more bugs than EA had hoped. With NHL 14, the skating and collision systems have been tweaked in a way that makes the game play better than it has in years.
Now, more than ever, the way a player is built, both physically and in skill set, impacts how he plays on the ice. If a player is small and lightweight, then he’s going to be more susceptible to being a victim of a big it; if he’s a mammoth of a man, then he’ll be the one inflicting punishment on others.
With the other aspects of the gameplay, NHL 14 just feels how a hockey video game should when you’re on the ice. The passes look authentic, the shots look realistic, and the skating flows in a way that makes it look and feel smooth.
One of the biggest new gameplay features in NHL 14 is the new and improved fighting engine. Gone is the first-person fighting mini game that removed everyone but the participants from the ice. Now it’s a third-person engine built from the same engine that gave gamers the Fight Night boxing franchise.
Now fights start spontaneously and with reason. If you hit a team’s superstar, then you better be ready to answer the call and drop the gloves. It makes an aspect of the game that fans had come to hate over the last four years fun again.
The biggest issue in NHL 14 is the lack of updates to the Be-A-GM mode. The mode remains virtually untouched from last season. EA said that the scouting was adjusted for this year, but it really just feels the same.
Despite the lack of changes to Be-A-GM, NHL 14 is still a title than any hockey fan should pick up. The fun you have on the ice when playing will make you forget that mode is still the same as years past. And in the end, isn’t the way the game plays on the ice the most important part of the game?
For a full review, including video and a review of the new “Live the Life” career mode and NHL 94 Anniversary mode, check out our sister site, Gamesided.com