After its amazing run with over 10 sports game of the year awards, EA Sports is back with its follow up to last year’s smash hit with NHL 10. After such a successful year one must wonder just what EA would do to top themselves. As a result NHL 10 might not live up to its high expectations
Don’t get me wrong, it is a great game, but it’s not the huge leap forward that NHL 09 was from 08. At first glimpse if one was to pick up the game and start to play, they might think that they were simply playing last year’s game. While this is not necessarily a bad thing (If it aint broke don’t fix it!), it’s also not that next level of innovation I think some people were looking for. The controls, graphics, presentation, audio and gameplay, well it’s all mostly the same from last year. What has changed are slight tweaks and additions that really add to the overall gameplay experience. Boardplay is a new feature that adds to the authenticity of a real hockey experience. It allows you to slow down the game, cycle the puck and to better keep control going in the offensive zone. It also helps to make the dump and chase approach a viable option for the first time in a hockey video game. It’s hard not to miss the amount of work put into the amount of new goalie animations that have been added. You will see some truly amazing saves this year. Added in as well is the ability to fake a show by lifting your players leg and shoulder faking, Precession Passing which will finally let you throw the puck anywhere your heart desires, Preset Style Sliders, First Person Fighting and a brand new GM Mode. Finally it will take a little skill to pull off something as easy as a trade in a franchise mode.
The biggest negative I have with the game is in the online experience, specifically the EASHL. First and foremost the menu and navigation system is even clunkier then last year and can make for some frustrating times until you get the hang of the layout. This is not my biggest problem however. Now in order to level up your EASHL character, instead of earning your XP points to level up your character, you now have the option to buy XP and special boosts using actual Microsoft Points. In all of the games I have played online there isn’t a single team I have played where at least one player hadn’t taken the easy route. As a result right off the bat there is a huge advantage to such players….and that’s just not cool.
The bottom line is that NHL 10 is the best hockey experience on the market. It may feel more like NHL 9.5 at times instead of NHL 10, but they solid gameplay, GM options and the addictive online play (Even if you need to cheat lol) will have myself and others playing it for months to come
out of 10
I guess I have to quote the late great Eddie Guerrero…”If you’re not cheating, then you’re not trying”