Time for the next NHL game on my marathon. It’s definitely been pretty surreal to play so many of these back to back. I will say that unlike NHL 10, you can feel that the graphics have gotten a little sharper here. Maybe it’s the field I was playing in for the tutorial, but the arena looked incredibly well polished. The white stood out and you could practically see through the ground. The players also felt sharper, but that could also partially be that the game is more zoomed in. Regardless, NHL 11 is definitely a game you’ll want to have.
Naturally I went right into the quick play mode after clearing the tutorial. I was ready to take the hockey world by storm and while I may not have secured the win I do feel like I did pretty well. I was laying on the pressure pretty thick and I did manage to score a goal which was hype. After that they started laying on the goals since my goalie cracked under pressure. I lost 5-1 or something like that, but it could have gone worse I suppose. At least I was always right up in there with the action which is the important thing. I am working on the aiming and passing, but it almost feels like it just comes down to luck by the end.
I can get a good shot out if I have space, but usually the enemy players are right on top of me at all times so I can’t get a good angle. No matter how fast I move they seem to move just a touch quicker than me. There’s just no escape and these guys are really good at stealing the puck from right underneath your nose. Once in a blue moon you’ll actually make it to their side with nobody on you, but it’s not like making the shot is a cake walk in that scenario either. I talk a lot about passing and shooting, but at the end of the day you’re also going to need to play tight defense because odds are that this is going to go to overtime with a score of 0-0. The computer never eases up on defense so you just have to surpass your limits somehow.
When it comes to the fighting gameplay none of the opposing players wanted to humor me. I only got to take one of them down and for the others they would just ignore me when I tried to start the fight. I guess they just didn’t want to have to hold the L this time and I can understand that. Still, the fighting is always one of the best parts in these games so I was sad to see it go. Maybe there’s a better way to pick a fight but based on the tutorial just pressing triangle should do the trick when you’re near them. It typically makes your player mess with their hair.
This time I also went ahead and tried one of the bonus modes. The name of this one was Shootout and basically the concept is that it’s a 1 on 1 battle against the goalie. You have to get the puck past him and you’ve got 5 tries to do it. Likewise the computer also gets that many opportunities. I’m happy to say that I actually did win this round. I may have not done so well in the real games, but I like to think that this meant I was finally able to step up during crunch time. When the chips were down, my puck wasn’t. It took a bunch of attempts before I got the puck in, but the computer couldn’t make any shots so that’s why my team got the victory. The mode seems to go on past the 5 players until someone scores or at least it felt that way to me because I’m pretty sure I tried to shoot more than 5 times.
As always there is a ton of replay value here as long as you like soccer. While the shootout mode may not work for long periods of time, it is a good way to take a break from the main gameplay while also working on your fundamentals. Then of course you’ve got the full season to play and in general every game will always be unique. You can get this game for a dollar or two so that’s a lot of value for such a price. As I mentioned the graphics definitely look quite nice here and the presentation is definitely on point.
Overall, NHL 11 is a great follow up. NHL continues to be operating at a high level and I don’t expect that to stop anytime soon. It seems like a consistent series much like all of EA’s other sport titles. They may not have the best reputation, but I don’t think you can deny the fact that they tend to hit it out of the park with all of these franchises. Even if Hockey isn’t really your thing you’ll likely be able to appreciate how smooth the gameplay is. Soon I’ll be trying out NHL 12 so we’ll see if that one also shows a noticeable improvement around the board or if it’ll be the same. So long as it doesn’t get worse I can’t say that there would be any problems here.
PS3 Trophies 2/41
It’s time to take a look at the next NHL game in my marathon. This one’s pretty similar to the last few as always, but I dare say that it is even more similar than usual. You really wouldn’t know that you were playing a different game to be honest as it’s all basically identical. Still, it’s just as fun as the others were so that really works out quite well. I’ll definitely be continuing on into the later years soon.
So this one had a tutorial to start things off which is always a good idea. I quickly worked on my shooting and passing as I got ready to scrimmage against the real teams. I have to admit though that it didn’t really help all that much. The actual games still turned out just as you would expect as the team would just block all of my shots and parry them like they weren’t even there. I did manage to score 1 goal which was good, but it took forever and by that point I was already down by around 5 goals.
That’s one big change compared to the other games though as the defense just feels a little trickier. Usually I can hold them down to 0 goals or just 1-2. This time they actually scored 6 different goals so for some reason my goalie was just slacking. Maybe I wasn’t applying as much pressure or something, but I was still surprised. I would have hoped that it would also mean my offense would be improved as well, but I had no such luck with that one. Ah well, maybe I’ll be able to score the win next time.
I did get to indulge in the fighting mechanics a little more this time though. The tutorial actually included the boxing inside of it so I was able to land a few good hits and down the opponent. I think I won 5 out of the 8 fights. Towards the end I was really getting the hang of it which was definitely handy. It’s also just a lot of fun to see the players square up and just start slugging each other. You could tell that these guys meant business.
As for the graphics, they’re just as sharp as ever. The field looks good and the character models are on point. It may not be much different from the last game, but it all already looked pretty good so it’s not as if they aged any worse. It’s still a solid presentation and one that I believe will still hold up well 10 years from now. The NHL games do a superb job of really making you feel like you’re in the action.
As always there is a lot of replay value here as well. It’s to the point where I sometimes feel like my reviews are repeating themselves, but I suppose that is inevitable to an extent since the games themselves are so similar. At the end of the day whether you like the game or not will really depend on how much you enjoy playing Hockey. You won’t necessarily love the game just because you love watching the sport since the gameplay is a big deal. However, I would say that it helps and if you like the gameplay then you’re really set. Just get ready to go in there and play a bunch of games as you rise up the ranks and take names.
For my gameplay tips section, I’d recommend slamming the opponent whenever possible. You won’t have to worry about getting the penalties for tripping this way and they rarely care if you body slam the players. I only got in trouble a few times for picking fights which may also be why my goalie was overwhelmed since my team had less players on the field for most of the game. It was worth it of course, but if you don’t want to attract any penalties then you probably shouldn’t do the fights. The penalties aren’t too serious so as long as your skills are on the level you should be fine.
Lately I haven’t been getting too many trophies for these sport games so I was happy that I actually managed to snag 2 during my playthrough. I don’t even know why I got those trophies so don’t ask me that, but the important thing is that I was doing something right. It’s like I lost the match, but I ended up winning the war so I certainly can’t be sad about that. One day when I inevitably go back to improve my trophy% for each of these games this will probably be a high pick since most sport games likely have some easy trophies even if the platinum is incredibly difficult.
Overall, NHL 10 is definitely another solid installment in the series. Hockey still isn’t my favorite sport, but the gameplay is fun enough. You’ll have a good time regardless and the game is smooth with no real glitches that I could think of. You can reasonably be playing this for many hours as long as you like the game and there are enough various ways to play to keep you entertained throughout. Since the game is only around 2-3 dollars it’s not like it’ll set you back all that much either.
I didn’t earn any stats this time.
It’s time to check out the next NHL title. I’m fairly early on in the hockey marathon, but already I can feel myself improving a little bit. At least I feel like I’ve got the angles down for making the shots. I’m still not scoring goals are reliably as I would like, but I’m getting shots and that at least means that I at least have the opportunity to make the goal. Still no big wins for me here, but what can ya do right? The game still feels nice and smooth. While there isn’t much of a difference compared to 08 it also doesn’t introduce any negatives so it is still a quality title.
This time the game did start off with a little tutorial which was fun to play through. You get to practice your shots and movement options a little before going into a real game. Since there is a lot of pressure and the computers are always running at you during the real deal I definitely thought this was a nice change of pace. I definitely do need the training here so there’s that to consider as well. Ultimately I don’t feel like I improved much after this training session, but it was better than nothing.
When the game started I quickly went to my go to strategy which is to rush the opposing side and just keep swinging at the goal. Shoot off enough pucks and you should get a point eventually right? Well, it took multiple games and endless shots, but I eventually did get the point and it was a good feeling. I ended up losing 2-1 as the only time I scored was naturally when the other team decided to pick things up as well.
I found that swinging the control stick up seemed to work better than going for the power shot which is down then up. It’s nice to see your guy getting ready for a power move of course, but it just didn’t seem like it did any real good which defeats the entire purpose. The other way of hitting was a lot faster and since I’m banking on the goalie making a mistake either way the faster option just made more sense. I’m sure there are better ways to decide which shot to take of course, but that’s just my personal experience based on the 3 games I played.
I started by facing the team on easy mode and then ramping up til the final game I fought them on the highest difficulty. I’m happy to report that I didn’t get blown out in any of the matches. My defense is always able to hold strong even if the offense isn’t doing a whole lot. I also worked on not getting as many penalties as last time. I didn’t trip anyone up and I only did the body slams occasionally. I focused on getting the rebounds and I feel like it worked out pretty well for me.
I did manage to trigger a fist fight this time around which I missed out on in NHL 08. It was definitely satisfying to take the other guy down and it’d be cool if they officially made it some kind of minigame you could play. I’d also be down for all the other sports adding that in as well. Ultimately it’s not as if it would ever replace the main mode, but I could definitely see it doing well in side events. Now you can finally have 2 players literally duke it out for the title of being the greatest player of all time.
It comes as no surprise that the graphics are pretty sharp here. EA never phones that part in and you can always expect things to look pretty life like. You’ll feel like you’re in a real hockey game by the end of this adventure. As mentioned earlier the gameplay is also smooth so on a technical level the game holds up really well. There is naturally a lot of replay value here too since you can play as any team you want and go for the full season to see how your skills improve. I expect you’ll see a lot of improvement by the time you make it to the end because that’s just how these things tend to work. The more you go through the motions and repetition the better you will be able to see which tactics work and which do not.
Overall, NHL 09 is definitely a game that is worth adding to the collection. Especially since you can get it for as cheap as a dollar or two. It’s hard to beat that kind of value but a good counterpoint is that you can get a later year like NHL 12 for basically the same price. After the sport game has been out for around 2 years it drops to bottom price so you may as well ante up and get a newer version. I think you’ll be fine either way, but it’s definitely worth noting. I like getting them all as a collector, but otherwise I would probably just skip to one of the most recent years instead of getting them all.
Hockey is definitely one of the sports that I know the least about. This is definitely due in part to the fact that I just never watch it. I at least tune in for the NBA Finals, The World Cup, and several Grand Slams. For NHL I don’t even know what their championships are called. For some reason the game never seemed as interesting as the others to me. I still prefer it to Golf, but it just didn’t grab my attention. That may be due to the ice, but I’m not sure why so I’ll just leave it as one of life’s mysteries at this point. Either way it’s been years since I played an NHL game so it was fun to get back in it.
There are definitely a lot of similarities to the FIFA games. The gameplay for the two sports just tends to mesh well although NHL loses this battle. It’s a fun title but yet another sport where I am unable to score unless I put the difficulty all the way to the bottom. It gets even trickier than soccer because half of my team is constantly getting knocked out thanks to penalties so I have to field the whole section by myself. Once it’s 5 vs 3 then I’m really sunk. I suppose the idea here is to keep swinging until you get the puck past the goalie. Instead of pass plays I would just keep on hitting the ball until the goalie forgot to block.
It’s a little harder to move on the field because of how slippery it is, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. Mainly you just want to focus on outwitting the opponents and claiming the puck. Once you’ve got a lead you can camp out the other team pretty easy in this game or at least easier than in some of the others. At the same time if you’ve got a lead then you may as well try expanding it to really get a decisive victory. You never know when the tides will turn after all and sometimes it’s just a good idea to press the attack.
There was one point in the game where my players were in the perfect position. I kept on shooting at the goal and while he would block, the power was high enough where it would bounce over to another guy. I’d then pass it again and fire a shot. This kept on going until finally one of their guys got the puck, but I managed at least 10 shots in during that time which definitely felt pretty good. I was in the zone at that moment.
Interestingly you never actually take control of the goalie, which is different from soccer. I’m down with that since it means more time on the actual field which is always good. It also means I have more time to work on not getting so many penalties the whole time. One of them seems to be like Basketball where you can’t go backwards past the half point of the field or you surrender the puck. The defensive ones are a little trickier to get around as I end up getting slammed whenever I attack another one of the players. I guess you have to slam them while they still have the puck, but it’s hard to time it just right since they end up passing so quickly. Ah well, at least you’re only taken off the field for a few plays and not the whole game.
The graphics here are definitely sharp. Get ready to see the players complaining about the penalties a lot as it happens after each penalty and they get quite upset. These scenes are skippable but pretty entertaining. While there isn’t a lot to show off in terms of graphics on the small hockey rink you’ve still got a good amount of hockey gameplay and the arena looks sharp.
There’s a good amount of replay value here which is pretty straight forward since it’s a sport game. You can play as any of the professional Hockey teams and you can play under many different conditions. As you get better at the game it’ll all feel smoother and it’s always nice to actually see your improvement in a game. You’ll feel like a completely different person when you end from when you first started.
Overall, NHL 08 is pretty solid. I look forward to seeing if the title has changed a lot over the years or if it remains the same as I play the newer installments. I don’t really see what more they could add in, but I’d be game with some way to make more precision shots. As it stands a lot of my shots still go wide or don’t exactly fall into the place I was hoping for. I’m not sure how they can do this without making it too complicated so the easiest way is to just improve the accuracy. It may make the offense a little overpowered but sometimes sacrifices have to be made to save the game. Hockey fans will definitely get a kick out of this title as I feel like it really does the game justice with the mechanics and presentation.
No stats this time!
It’s time to jump back into the world of Hockey! It’s been a long time since I’ve played a hockey game so I must warn you that I was pretty rusty. It’s definitely not my favorite sport to play, but at the same time it can be fast paced so it’s not the worst either. It’s just got a high learning curve like the FIFA titles. Fortunately this one does give you a lot of different gameplay options at the ready which I thought was pretty nice. You can play through Arcade mode or simulation style. I tried both options to make sure I was ready for the review.
So there are the usual modes here. You can play quick games, jump into a franchise, or you can have fun coaching and practicing. I jumped right into the thick of the action of course. The gameplay is pretty straight forward as it’s a 3D title and the goal is to hit the ball/puck into the opponent’s goal. Once you’ve done that then you’ll have scored a point. Whoever scores the most wins. You can switch between players and shoot, pass, and a lot of other moves. One thing I like about this game is how it embraces the combat aspect of the game. You can body slam opponents and even accept fight requests.
If you accept a fight then the two characters will line up in a boxing battle. The controls even change to that of a boxing game’s which is a pretty neat touch. I definitely enjoyed those brawls even if I was basically just button mashing at that point. I won almost all of my fights which was pretty nice. As for the overall games, I won the match on rookie level, but lost on all other difficulties. It’s similar to Soccer in how it’s almost impossible to score. Even on the easiest difficulty I was having trouble doing anything. The CPU would just run in and steal the puck from me whenever I was getting close which was pretty sad.
I feel like there are more breaks in the flow of the game than usual here though. Whenever you do something it seems like a flag comes out or the puck is stopped for icing. As a result the games can be a little on the long side. The computers never seem to make these mistakes though so it’s just something that you’ll have to get around. I suspect that it would take you a very long time to get all of the mechanics down. It helps a lot if you already watch Hockey and know the rules. If you do not, then this will be quite the experience indeed.
There are naturally a lot of PS4 trophies to grab which helps with the replay value. Prepare to sink quite a lot of time into the game if you are seriously gunning for the Platinum though. If there are any online trophies then your chances are probably 0 before you even start anyway. Then you’ve got local multiplayer so as with most sport games it basically has unlimited replay value as long as you know someone who also enjoys NHL. This may be a bit of a long shot though as I don’t imagine that there are a whole lot of people who would want to play NHL 15 when you can play one of the newer ones.
Naturally the game’s presentation is quite impressive and fires on all cylinders. You actually have live action commentators giving feedback as the match starts and then we get a nice introduction to both teams. The graphics are definitely on point and the music is pretty fitting. None of this is surprising in the slightest as EA sport games always look really great, but it’s nice to see regardless. This is the level of design that all games should strive for, especially in this day and age.
After having played more sport games I can confirm that so far the standings are Football>Tennis>Basketball>>>>Soccer>NHL>>>>MLB>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PGA. I really enjoy playing the first 3 sports, but the other ones definitely take quite the tumble. Still, with the exception of PGA, it’s not like I would call any of them bad games. Even this one will still get a positive score. It may not be a title that I see myself ever getting back into, but there was definitely a lot of effort put into this game. The developers clearly cared and just seeing that boxing minigame was enough to get me sold. There aren’t any glitches and the gameplay does seem to make sense, I just need to learn how to master it.
Overall, NHL is not quite as fun as FIFA I’d say. It makes sense since I prefer Soccer to Hockey in general. Both games have a lot of similarities though so it’ll definitely come down to personal preference. What gives Soccer the edge though is that it’s easier to defend so at least the team won’t blow you out. In this game prepare for them to run up the score because they aren’t held back by the goalie. They’ll score whenever they feel like it and it’s very hard to stop them. The gameplay wasn’t quite as intuitive to me as the other games so moving around was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be. Fans of the NHL games will definitely like this one, but newcomers beware as the game is just very complicated and hard to master.