NHL 16 has been out for almost a month. We brought you a review of the EASHL Beta, and now it’s time to take a look at the final product.
As someone who has been playing the NHL franchise since NHL ’96, I understand that each player has his or her own favorite game mode to play. I prefer Online Ranked while many of my buddies prefer EASHL. One of the chief complaints about NHL 15 was the lack of game modes and features NHL fans had gotten used to over the years. NHL 16 is a triumphant return to Chel glory. The menus and UI make is easy to navigate everything from game modes to roster updates. Everything feels smooth and fast.
EASHL sees improvements in player/gear customization, on ice team/goalie AI, and of course the new skating system. **This got us excited, you can control what kind/color of TJ your player has!**
Be a Pro and EASHL players will really be able to feel the difference as they only control one player during the course of the game. The skating both with and without the puck is reminiscent of the Fifa franchise, making small moves of the joystick matter more and more. Shooting the puck low or five hole is now a much more viable option than in the past. New puck physics create almost crazy bounces that can lead to some pretty interesting goals. The one touch dekes and dangles remain a bit cloudy as you need to make sure the player you are controlling is capable of completing the deke you set out to pull.
The armchair GM will be thrilled with the “newish” style of the GM modes and creation screens. Scouting and player development are as important as ever, and any dynasty looking to be build will need to be managed accordingly. Of course, there are options to play with the salary cap so you can create your dream team. The same goes for HUT. I personally never got into HUT, but building a team and progressing your players using both power up cards and experience seems fulfilling. There is the option to buy packs using micro transactions, a bit of a turn off for someone looking for a simulation like experience.
All in all, NHL 16 is a masterpiece of hockey excellence. Something we have all come to expect from EA, but have seen fall off over the past few years. Ignoring trivial improvements like playoff beards and mascots, NHL 16 offers the closest thing to real hockey you can play without lacing ‘em up. If you are a fan of the game, and a fan of games, we suggest you pick it up.