EA Sports NHL 13

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EA Sports NHL 13

Post by archibalduk » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:12 pm

News of EA Sports NHL 2013 is starting to come through. In my view, the most recent iterations of the NHL series have been a bit disappointing with usually one new gimmicky feature each year which "will revolutionise the way you play the game". Although the game has improved somewhat each year, I haven't bothered buying a copy since NHL 09 because the single player has never really felt that different. A large portion of the development has been in the mutliplayer aspect of the game.

Will this year be any different? Maybe...

Producer Sean Ramjagsingh recently said that the developers are looking to dispel the general view that the game's AI has been underdeveloped. NHL 13 will see the introduction of what they're calling EA Sports Hockey IQ. According to EA Sports, they have spent more time developing the AI in NHL 13 than the past three years combined. Examples of this improved AI, or Hockey IQ (to use its fancy name), include better goalie awareness (particularly during odd man rushes), improved team mate AI (e.g. if you cross over into their lane, they will know that they should criss cross and position themselves for a scoring opportunity), and better player differentiation on the ice (e.g. the fourth line will play more aggressively in the corners and finish their checks). There will also be improved and more realistic tactical options. This all sounds quite promising. If it lives up to its promise then it may well make a big difference to the single player game.

The most hyped feature for this year is most probably the True Performance Skating. According to a study by EA Sports, players in the NHL glide nearly 40% of the time. In contrast, players in NHL 2012 glided less than 1% of the time! EA Sports is looking to make the skating more realistic and also prevent forwards from being able to unrealistically skate rings around the defence. Additionally, players will fatigue more quickly/realistically. Whilst on the topic of defence, apparently defencemen will no longer be successful when "poke check spamming". With regards to the offence, apparently it will be much harder to shoot accurately when skating fast. This all sounds rather good - assuming of course that EA Sports actually delivers what it says.

Another area undergoing overhaul is the Be A GM mode. The trade AI is being targeted in particular (EA Sports has dubbed it the GM Brain AI - did it really need a name?!). Oddly, users won't be able to take part in the NHL Entry Draft. Instead, you set up your preference list and then the AI runs the draft based upon your list.

As for new features other than gameplay, there is going to be an NHL Moments Live feature allowing you to play "memorable moments" from the 2011/12 season (maybe the Bruins v Canucks game from earlier this year?! :D) along with 2012/13 moments which will be added throughout the duration of next season.

With the exception of the Be A GM mode (which is both single and multiplayer), there hasn't been much news with regards to the multiplayer game. As far as I'm concerned, this is really great news. All things being well, this year's iteration could be a big step forward for the franchise...


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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by bestrafer7 » Sun Jun 10, 2012 8:45 pm

As most of you know by now.. The EA NHL series is nothing more than a glorified arcade game compared to ehm in terms of their be a gm mode. :razz:

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by McQwak » Sun Jun 10, 2012 9:08 pm

It looks fantastic! Seems like they focused on legs moves.
The last EA NHL I played was NHL 2001. Since that year I only sim :)

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by robotco » Mon Jun 11, 2012 4:58 am

users... won't be able to take part... in the ENTRY DRAFT? what would be the point in eliminating that?

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by Primis » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:23 pm

I did not buy NHL 12 and unless I see a lot more impressive stuff I probably won't be buying 13. New skating mechanics just isn't going to do it for me. And that's too bad because I played a lot of NHL 11 online, so apparently it'll be another year of no online hockey for me.

If they'd ever get around to adding the User Created Team features like they did in NCAA Football where you could download other user-created teams... well then I have to admit, I'd be screaming "TAKE MY MONEY!" and throwing it at the screen.

So to recap: last year the addition was Improved Defensive AI (and from the demo it was a bit) and Legends. And this year, it's gonna' be More Realistic Skating.

Be still my heart. *eyeroll*.

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by archibalduk » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:25 pm

I still haven't made my mind up about this release. IF they really do overhaul the AI then I'd be very interested in getting it. The game's AI has felt pretty much the same since 2004 (the last version of the game that I truly enjoyed and played to death). I don't mean totally the same; just not all that different. Yes, the skill stick was a neat idea but that feels like the only major gameplay change over the past seven years.

Compare NHL with the development of FIFA's AI and gameplay between 2004 and 2011 and it's huge. FIFA is now an extremely good simulation of football (soccer) whereas NHL is more arcade. FIFA has moved away from the annual release of a gimmicky feature to concentrating on solid AI. I know I say this every year, but if only NHL would move away from marketing gimmicks. Even with the anticipated improvements this year, they've still had to use ridiculous names such as GM Brain AI, True Performance Skating and Hockey IQ. Why couldn't they just be called trade AI, skating engine and game AI?!!! :roll:

Having said that, I do feel more positive about their planned features this year. More realistic skating could be a game-changer and improved AI would be brilliant. But only if they put 100% effort into the development and don't just do something half-hearted. As with each year's release, I'll try the demo and, if it doesn't feel just like NHL 2004 version 1.2, then I'll probably buy it because I love hockey.

As for the Entry Draft, I do wonder what simulation is going on in the background there. I can't be hard to enable user input during the draft. It sounds like lazy coding and a suspect "simulation" to me. Sorry to be so negative, but I just find it hard to be positive when EA Sports just don't give a darn so long as it makes money.
Primis wrote:If they'd ever get around to adding the User Created Team features like they did in NCAA Football where you could download other user-created teams... well then I have to admit, I'd be screaming "TAKE MY MONEY!" and throwing it at the screen.
Or if nothing else, I'd be happy if they added some additional leagues. I don't care if they don't have commentary recorded for their names, etc. FIFA 12 has three times as many licensed leagues as NHL 12. I'd love to be able to play in some of the other NA leagues and the British leagues. :dunno: And where is the KHL?!
bestrafer7 wrote:As most of you know by now.. The EA NHL series is nothing more than a glorified arcade game compared to ehm in terms of their be a gm mode. :razz:
I couldn't agree more!! :thup:

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by JakeTheSnake » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:21 am

archibalduk wrote: Oddly, users won't be able to take part in the NHL Entry Draft. Instead, you set up your preference list and then the AI runs the draft based upon your list. :\
This is actually only true for the multiplayer GM-mode, you can still do your own drafting in the offline, single player mode.
Gameinformer wrote:16. If you want to keep your GM experience offline, you still have that option. Doing so will allow you to make your draft selections like in past NHL games.
Full Gameinformer article can be found here: http://www.gameinformer.com/games/nhl_1 ... -mode.aspx

The multiplayer GM-mode is a great thing, although the drafting system is far from ideal in it.

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by archibalduk » Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:18 pm

Thanks Jake! :thup: Clearly I'd misread. I've corrected the original post.

I found this video which discusses the Hockey IQ. If you're interested in the NHL series, I strongly recommend watching all nine minutes as it explains very clearly some of the key improvements coming this year.



Having watched this, I feel really positive that NHL 13 could well be something different (of course, this is on the assumption the game really is improved as the developers promise). The new goalie actions sound good - the limbs move individually and therefore the goalies don't react as rigidly. In the video they gave the example of how in previous NHLs, the goalie would dive for the puck using a set animation - therefore if the player shot higher or lower than the goalie's hands/stick as positioned by that animation, you'd always score. With the new individual limb control, the goalie is able to react and adjust to the position of the puck.

It looks like the defence has been further worked on, but there wasn't much mention on the offence AI. However, they did say that all AI players now "read" the game whereas before they would just react to wherever the puck was.

There are five times as many strategies in the game this year in order to make the teams reflect their real life strategies. Hopefully EA will take the time to set up each individual teams' strategies because this will give some nice variety - so that the game actually plays differently depending upon your opponent...

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Official PC/Console Thread: NHL

Post by B. Stinson » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:43 am

I actually don't think I would mind that too much. After all, that's really all most sports game need, is some patching and updated rosters. As long as their pricing was reasonable, I think I could support that system. But of course, that's the key: reasonable pricing ;) . Or, well, now that I think of it, maybe I wouldn't. Because first: fixing the product (patches) should never cost money. And second: I don't think that I, personally, care enough about updated rosters to buy them. Maybe for under $5.00, but no more.

Speaking of sports games, how have they been doing? I loved NHL 2001 and 2002 back in the day, but really didn't like 2003. I switched to NHL 2K3, liked its potential, then 2K4, but disliked that. At that point, I abandoned "console hockey" for EHM. Almost ten years later, how does the NHL series look? And is the 2K series even still alive? According to Metacritic, they don't appear to have been doing too hot, and their last NHL listing is 2K10. I'm guessing they gave up, and let EA run with the NHL?

I also hear FIFA, and MLB: The Show are really good...?

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Re: Official PC/Console Thread: GENERAL Games

Post by archibalduk » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:43 pm

I can't tell you much about MLB, but I can tell you about FIFA and NHL.

FIFA
This is probably/arguably the best sports game out there (in terms of live action as opposed to management sims). They've done what the likes of the Madden and NHL guys should do - torn the match simulation apart and rebuilt it using the knowledge and feedback over the years. I owned FIFA 10 and I've played FIFA 12 - both are excellent. It feels like a real game of football (soccer) and plays like one too. Ever since about FIFA 09 or 10, the game has been revolutionised. Each year it continues to get better - and they spend much of time on developing the gameplay and match engine rather than wasting a lot of their time on gimmicks. As you know, I dislike EA, but I cannot fault their FIFA game.

A feature I particularly like is how you can play through the current season and compare your performance with the real life season as it unfolds over the year. Another brilliant feature is the online Be a Pro mode (it might be called something else, I can't remember) - this is an absolute blast to play online with 11 human players on each side. I don't know how much the online has changed, but it was certainly brilliant back in 10.

I haven't owned FIFA since FIFA 10, but I intend on getting the new release this September.


EA NHL / 2K NHL
2K Sports' game died a death back in about 2008 IIRC. EA Sports revamped their game with NHL 2007 (e.g. the introduction of the Skill Stick) and this really harmed sales. 2K pulled the plug a number of years ago. They did a release for the Wii and iPhone and then gave up. It's a shame because, IMHO, the competition helped push EA to develop a better game much in the same way that PES pushed FIFA.

The last NHL I owned was NHL 09, however I try the new demo every year. To be honest, the game hasn't changed all that much between 09 and 12. Yes, the AI has been improved marginally, but it hasn't felt a big enough improvement to warrant purchasing it. EA has spent most of their time developing the online game (which is virtually unplayable now if you don't purchase online credits for boosts, etc) and have neglected the core gameplay/AI and the Be a Pro mode.

Having said that, NHL 13 is sounding very promising. One of their big selling points is that they've spent this year more time improving the AI than they have over the last three years (they say this in every interview, like a broken record) and an improved skating engine. There's also improved goalie AI (they anticipate better and move less like robots) and players/GMs will adapt to your style of play and change up tactics if they're not working. All in all, it sounds promising - so long as they deliver on those promises. I'm going to try out the demo when it comes out and will then decide whether or not to purchase it.

I recommend you check out the summary and discussion re NHL 13 here as it has much more detail: http://www.ehmtheblueline.com/forums/vi ... 84#p141584

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Re: Official PC/Console Thread: GENERAL Games

Post by Mattias.William » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:51 pm

as far as I know, 2k games is running away with the basketball franchise, and EA still has a hold on Football and Hockey... I have heard rumors that NHL 13 is supposed to be their biggest update in a very very long time -- not sure if it will be enough for me to purchase another copy though.

If they put half as much effort into the NHL franchise that they do with Madden, it would be an exceptional product.

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Re: Official PC/Console Thread: GENERAL Games

Post by Mattias.William » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:59 pm

archibalduk wrote: One of their big selling points is that they've spent this year more time improving the AI than they have over the last three years (they say this in every interview, like a broken record)

This year I'm pretty sure they said they spent more time on improving the AI than the last 3 years combined

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Re: Official PC/Console Thread: GENERAL Games

Post by archibalduk » Thu Jun 28, 2012 7:59 pm

Mattias.William wrote:
archibalduk wrote: One of their big selling points is that they've spent this year more time improving the AI than they have over the last three years (they say this in every interview, like a broken record)

This year I'm pretty sure they said they spent more time on improving the AI than the last 3 years combined
That's what I meant - but you worded it much better than I did! :D

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Re: Official PC/Console Thread: GENERAL Games

Post by B. Stinson » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:07 pm

Here's a couple E3 videos of NHL 13:

Hockey IQ


True Performance Skating


It's nice to see them finally do away with that floaty, bubble hockey movement I remember from the past; The new skating looks nice.

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Re: Official PC/Console Thread: GENERAL Games

Post by philou21 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:10 pm

Cool! Skating definitely looks real now, that's a nice improvement. I've got NHL 11 at home and I like it, most critics were saying it was the best NHL to date and that the 2012 was just 2011 with new roster, like most NHL games. Normally it would take 3-4 years to see massive changes in an NHL game, glad to see they are already improving 2 years later.

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Re: Official PC/Console Thread: GENERAL Games

Post by B. Stinson » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:27 pm

Being EHM fans, I would assume you guys have some experience with the management side of things... how is that in the NHL series?

From what I remember of hockey games back when I was still playing, the "Franchise" modes were definitely secondary features. 2K4 didn't even use money for signing players, it worked with a points system, and I think NHL 2002 only had a two-round Entry Draft. Can't remember if it had any free agency or much of an offseason.

Have things changed much over the years? I'm sure its no EHM, but what can be expected from the modern "Franchise Mode"?

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by archibalduk » Sun Jul 01, 2012 9:32 pm

Yeah, it has certainly been developed by EA over the years. In fact, there's some sort of 2D / text commentary view of the games as such (the 2D mode shows the location of incidents/shots rather than the location of all the players) - and IIRC you can jump in and play the game at any point.

There's a good list of the GM side of improvements for NHL 13 here: http://www.gameinformer.com/games/nhl_1 ... -mode.aspx

Here's a decent video of how things work through NHL 12. If you flick through it, you'll be able to see the various menus/options/functions. At about 3:15 you can see the 2D sim view:


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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by archibalduk » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:31 pm

There's a fairly interesting blog post on the AI here: http://www.easports.com/nhl/news/articl ... ife-ai-yet

I really like the sounds of the various tactical settings. It's nice to see this part of the game get a well overdue overhaul.

Here are some of the highlights:
In previous NHL games, players were only aware of skaters in their immediate proximity and were restricted to reacting based on their actions. With EA SPORTS Hockey I.Q., all players are now fully aware of every other player on the ice, resulting in quicker, smarter and more true-to-life decision-making. Think about that for a second. Imagine if Gretzky were only aware of just a few players on the ice, would he still have been an offensive dynamo? No way. Would Datsyuk be the great two-player we know him to be? Not a shot. EA SPORTS Hockey I.Q. allows players to play within a system and fulfill their role accordingly. All this is now possible because EA SPORTS Hockey I.Q. delivers the deepest and most customizable set of real-world hockey systems and strategies ever for the franchise. Essentially, it’s like the players in NHL 13 are now coached by a Jack Adams Trophy winner rather than a minor league coach.
1. Authenticity has always been paramount for the NHL franchise. To create the team systems for EA SPORTS Hockey IQ, we had pro coaches come in and sit with the development team to make sure we captured every detail of the systems we were recreating.

2. The AI will recognize if they have given up an odd man rush a few too many times and be able to respond to that even if they were able to recover in each of those scenarios. They understand specific details such as being beaten with long stretch passes, vacating the far side and being beaten with reverses and will be able to adjust accordingly.

3. AI will not only analyze how their opponents are playing but will also adjust throughout a game based on their own success or the type of game being played. If the AI goes up by a few goals early, they may sit back. If they go down by a few goals, you will see them get much more aggressive and push for more turnovers.

4. All NHL teams will be set to default strategies that match how they play in real life. Due to this, you will get different looks right out of the gate throughout a season depending on who you are playing. If you play Tampa Bay, they may sit back more when the game is tied early on where as a team like the Kings may come in flying with an aggressive forecheck.

5. All of the team strategies are able to be updated through roster updates. We can make changes to the strategies if teams happen to change throughout the year and/or if a team happens to get a new coach and change their style of play, it can be reflected in game.

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Re: Official PC/Console Thread: GENERAL Games

Post by AaronRStanley » Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:18 am

B. Stinson wrote:Being EHM fans, I would assume you guys have some experience with the management side of things... how is that in the NHL series?

From what I remember of hockey games back when I was still playing, the "Franchise" modes were definitely secondary features. 2K4 didn't even use money for signing players, it worked with a points system, and I think NHL 2002 only had a two-round Entry Draft. Can't remember if it had any free agency or much of an offseason.

Have things changed much over the years? I'm sure its no EHM, but what can be expected from the modern "Franchise Mode"?
NHL 12 had a pretty good system. The CBA was more accurately reflected, with RFAs being introduced, and offer sheets. Compensation is used for RFAs that's accurate.

You're given a GM "Rating" that goes up or down depending on certain moves you make. So, as in the NHL, if you signed a player in FA, then traded him in the early part of the next season, you'd take a hit to your rating. If you offered lopsided deals to other teams trying to rip them off, your reputation would go down, and so on. It was ok, but not a huge part of it for me.

The other big part was GM Tasks. You'd have a laundry list of tasks that you'd have be able to achieve, each having a point value. Those point values would allow you to upgrade your Amatuer Scout, Pro Scout, Medical Staff, and Assistant GM.

You'd be able to assign scouts to a region for a selected amount of time. The longer you scouted an area, the more accurate the reports.

The trade logic was brutal though. As long as you hit an even amount on the trade value, you could trade Conolly and a few picks for Crosby.

Also, as mentioned, important star players would be left in UFA for years.

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by B. Stinson » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:24 am

They've posted some gameplay footage:

http://www.easports.com/nhl/media/play/ ... Nt433LKhac

To my untrained eye, I think it's looking very good. I may very well be grabbing it as soon as I can.

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by gazzw87 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:32 pm

To reply about the 2K Sports NHL - Their last attempt was it 2K10? Was shocking, apart from the 'drive the zamoboni' at half time obviously!.. But yeah shocking game! They did state they are giving up on console hockey to concentrate on NBA 2K which is probably a wise idea but the same statement also mentioned that they are going to revise and bring NHL back to the PC market for 2013. If that's true we'll have to wait and see I guess!

As for NHL 13, I've watched all them videos but they never give enough away so it's nice to see the gameplay one but.. I don't see any difference other then this 'chop' move on the boards. Im not bother so much about the graphics, but they haven't changed in a while. It's the gameplay, jagged, seem's uneasy, not how you'd move when actually skating! Then the goalies.. they have all these fancy moves yeah.. until somebody tries playing goalie on Be a Pro mode and you're they stuck with around 4 different saves you can make as a goalie?! It's random!

I don't hate games, contray to beliefe with some of my recent posts :P But this game is just making money year on year for now for no reason. FIFA is great because it's been made great now. It feels like you are playing a game of soccer/football. You can play how you decided to play on FIFA it's upto you. Be creative, be aggressive, hold back and counter and so on and you can use each player to your advantage. 2K NBA, once you get used to how the players move (I find that awkward at first) is again a good game. It can feel like your in control of what to do... NHL.. it's just the same everytime. What the gameplay video and then ask yourself when you've ever seen an NHL game played out like it does on EA NHL. There is zero board play for a start! and im not to big on the fighting because well it's shockingly bad on EA! They should steal the fight mechanic from the only 2K games or even from NHL 94/93 I know one didn't have one on it but even now, my friend modded the only NHL 94 Megadrive game and we called it 'EPL 10' Made it an English Premier Ice Hockey League mod. It's still better then the new NHLs!

I always give in and buy NHL but I'm never doing it again! Especially with OOTP Hockey on the way too!

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by B. Stinson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 8:08 pm

The NHL 13 demo is out today for PSN and Xbox Live :thup:
gazzw87 wrote:Was shocking, apart from the 'drive the zamoboni' at half time obviously!..
Did they seriously have "Drive the Zamboni"?! I think that may be the point at which you know your game is on the brink of collapse... when you're adding stuff like that. :chuckle:

Can't say I'd be surprised at the inclusion, though - from what I remember of 2K4, the series was no stranger to weird gimmicky stuff like that.

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by archibalduk » Wed Aug 22, 2012 1:04 pm

Have you tried the demo? I'd be very interested to hear people's views on whether this iteration is any different to the previous versions. I like what I've read in previews and this has made me less cynical than previous years; but it's the hands on experience with the demo that is the real acid test.

I'm not sure if the demo is available in the UK yet, but I'll check this weekend.

Btw there really was a zamboni mode in the final versions of 2k!! In fairness, the mini games in 2K6 were good fun and, importantly, the core hockey game was still very good. It was strange; the 2K series seemed to suddenly fall apart after 2K6.

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by B. Stinson » Wed Aug 22, 2012 5:22 pm

I got some time with the demo yesterday. I don't think I could give much of an assessment, though, I spent most of that time playing around in Free Skate. I haven't played console hockey in about ten years, so I've got a lot to catch up on, so I started with just skating around and figuring out how to shoot :oops: . Things have certainly changed from the days when you hit a button to pass, another to shoot, etc.

But with that being said, I think I really like the skating in NHL 13. It looks, to me at least, so much nicer than what I remember of their animations. And most importantly, it felt good - the "weight" of the guy was there, but I never felt out of control. I also like the idea of using the right thumbstick for stick control. Maybe this is an old change, but I like it.

Overall, I'm pretty sure I'll be picking up NHL 13 :thup:

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Re: EA Sports NHL 13

Post by B. Stinson » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:33 pm

I've been playing around some more in Free Skate to see how the new goalies play, and I'm pretty pleased. After hearing that they were going to be much better and smarter, I was afraid they'd be overpowered "super goalies", but they're not. They do they're job well, but you can still sneak some shots in here and there. I've actually instinctively threw my fist up after a number goals, because they felt right. Probably best of all, I haven't been able to find any "money goals" yet; Nothing that the goalies consistently fail to handle.

One slight thing, though, is that they seem to ignore the trapezoid. At least in Free Skate, I've seen the goalie go back a couple times and play the puck well outside of the trapezoid.

And I still can't get over this new skating. I almost love just watching my guy skate around with the puck, because it looks so good :p

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