The EA NHL series of video games has been ongoing since 1991 with NHL Hockey on the Sega Mega Drive. Since its first installment it has been the go to game for hockey fans all over the world save a few year when the 2K series of games took over for a short period in the early 2000’s but now EA’s is the only company making NHL games for the two big consoles the PS3 and Xbox360. Last year NHL 11 was released and praised for its almost perfect design having only a few flaws mostly with the BE A GM mode in which the UFA process was flawed causing a lot of player to price themselves out of any team’s price range causing 20 or more player to hold out on entire seasons. The gameplay on the other hand was praised as fun and compelling.
This year’s installment NHL 12 carries over most of its components from last year’s great game only tweaking things from last year with very little changes. One of the biggest changes this year is the physics system now both players are affected by a hit not just the player getting hit if you hit someone who’s moving toward you and you’re more less standing still you are more likely to stumble yourself and your opponent continue on his trajectory. Big hits are harder to pull of this year they have to be lined up just right with enough momentum to run over your opponent or you’ll just bounce off which is a little annoying. Using a poke check last year was futile unless you were pushing a guy up against the boards not so this year as poke checks are just as if not more useful then body checks in open ice situations making the game more realistic and that much better. The skating animations are also improved by leaps and bounds when accelerating from a standing position you take a few small steps to get up to speed the go into long powerful strides to reach full speed again making the game more realistic.
The stick handling is where the tweaks become very apparent, when you wind up to take a slap shot the puck will slide away from you. Some may say “but that makes it more realistic” to them I say no because only in peewee does a hockey player continually lose the puck trying to take a slap shot this is a professional hockey simulation game NHLer’s almost never loss the puck just taking a slap shot. This little quirk makes it difficult to recover from a mistake in the shootout mode when you pull the stick just a touch to far back you’ll lose the puck. Other then this little problem the stick handling is pretty much the same as last year, which is to say damn near perfect.
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