Tag: video games


Here’s what people think about NHL 16’s EASHL beta


After missing features left a sour note for many upon the release of NHL 15, EA Sports is bringing some key modes back to NHL 16.

That meant giving the popular “EASHL” a test drive this past week via a beta released for Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Here’s the short version for those who see EASHL as a garble of letters: the mode – which stands for EA Sports Hockey League – allows you to play as a single, created player (instead of a team) with other people online. You can be a forward, defenseman or goalie, with a few templates like “sniper” and “power forward” to spice things up.

If you get lucky, 12 humans could be controlling the six individual positions per team in a single game.

Considering the potential there, people were upset that NHL 15 didn’t include the feature, but it appears to be back. So what kind of feedback did this trial run receive? Let’s take a quick look.

Game Informer was pleasantly surprised by how well the artificial intelligence handled things when a full team of human players wasn’t available (which is most common):

These non-player skaters are better than we anticipated. Defenders skillfully patrol the middle of the ice, intercepting passes and denying easy entry to the slot. If you pair a CPU defender with a human, it is smart enough to stay back should the player pinch or join the rush. On offense, we saw a few A.I. players put home juicy rebounds and successfully dislodge the puck from a defender during a forecheck.

This Hockey Writers post praises the customization options:

Even the team you create in NHL 16 is given more uniqueness with the new system. Now Mike “Doc” Emrick and Eddie Olczyk have the ability to say the name of your team that is given by you when you create your EASHL team. From standard team names to ridiculous ones you and your friends can get extremely creative when you create your team and team name, while at the same time getting the name recognition on-screen from one of the best announcers in the National Hockey League.

Fansided postulates that NHL 16 is already better than NHL 15, even based on what amounts to a dress rehearsal.

The Vancouver Province’s detailed write-up concludes on a down note for EA Sports:

The problem I have right now with EASHL is that it just wasn’t fun for me. Everything felt like a grueling game of old Minnesota trap hockey, where each game left me drained after it was over, instead of jubilant after having played a game with some friends. It might be an issue of a learning curve, and maybe after more time I will learn to adapt to the new NHL 16 way of life. It’s just adapting to a certain game play doesn’t necessarily guarantee a fun hockey game for me.


The beta is running through August 10, allowing the developers to make some tweaks before the game’s release in about one month. It sounds like there may still be some work to do, although there was plenty of positive feedback, too.

(EASHL logo via EA Sports.)

Uh oh, Columbus’ cannon will be in NHL 16


To the torment of hockey beat writers who also play video games, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ cannon will apparently be recreated in EA Sports’ NHL 16.

The Blue Jackets believe that the real-life cannon blows up the digital counterpart, but let’s compare them side-by-side with a photo from Getty and EA’s screenshot:

source: Getty Images
Via Getty


Not bad.

For the sake of realism, will EA also post simulated tweets of on-the-scene reporters nearly having heart attacks thanks to the cannon, though? The game should include this nifty bit, too, actually:

It seems like NHL 16 is striving to emulate league arena atmospheres more and more, including the Tampa Bay Lightning’s tesla coil:


Video: NHL 16’s trailer features mascots, coach speeches


You may understandably be unaware with the 2015 Stanley Cup Final heading into its final stretch, but video games are also in the spotlight this week with the Electronic Entertainment Expo (or “E3”).

With the exception of a few indie games, EA Sports’ NHL series is basically the only hockey show in town. After the polarizing release of NHL 15, the next title NHL 16 has some work to do. Perhaps this trailer will turn a few heads?

Polygon caught up with the development team, and one big aspect seems to be receiving more attention: passing.

Until this point, EA’s NHL games have forced skaters into a glide as they receive a pass. Players will now be able to receive a pass while accelerating or turning. New puck pickups are designed to lead to smoother transitions to the player’s next move.

That doesn’t sound like a revolutionary change, but those disappointed with the most recent release will probably be glad to see all the returning features in NHL 16. See a full list here.

Now, if they’d just add icon passing and Be a Mascot mode …

PHT Morning Skate: Saying goodbye to Nassau Coliseum, plus the making of NHL ’94

Minnesota Wild v New York Islanders

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

NHL.com’s Sunday Long Reads series continues with a look at the New York Islanders’ final season at Nassau Coliseum. (NHL.com)

Want another lengthy, interesting look at a piece of hockey history? This is some great stuff on the making of the classic hockey video game NHL ’94, and really the origins of EA Sports’ beloved series in general. (Read Only Memory)

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $25,000 league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $2,000. Starts Monday at 7:00pm ET. Play Now!

Maybe these NHL rivalries are really working out, huh? (The Hockey News)

The Edmonton Oilers signed Kyle Platzer to an entry-level contract. Apparently he has some golf-course prowess to go with his hockey skills.

Quite an interesting moment as a goalie doesn’t realize a shootout attempt begins, yet makes the save anyway. Click here for the story behind it.

Rebuild mode: Critics batter EA Sports’ NHL 15


It’s been two weeks since the North American release of EA Sports’ NHL 15 video game, so this seems like a fair time to take a look at how the title has been received. Considering the cacophony about the many missing features in the Xbox One and Playstation 4 versions of the game, maybe it shouldn’t be surprising that critics gave the title a bit of a face-wash.

Metacritic – a review aggregation site that’s basically the video game equivalent to Rotten Tomatoes – averaged the scores for NHL 15 across the two next-gen platforms (all out of 100):

Playstation 4 – 60

Xbox One 61

Most publications didn’t fully review the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions of NHL 15, but the word of mouth on those titles have been harsh as well, prompting dreaded “just a glorified roster update” quips.

Here’s a smattering of excerpts from reviews of the game on Playstation 4 and Xbox One (note: the two versions are virtually identical):

IGN (70 out of 100):

It plays extremely well, whether online or offline, proving why EA Sports’ long-running series has been the king of the ice for over 20 years. But there needs to be a reason to keep playing, and it’s there that NHL 15 falls short and feels somewhat vacant.

Game Informer (5.5 out of 10):

With the startling amount of missing content, kneecapped modes, and uneven gameplay in NHL 15, either EA Sports isn’t giving EA Canada the same level of resources as its other sports franchises or the development team is woefully incapable of negotiating a console transition. If the publisher doesn’t care to put a winning effort into its NHL series, hockey fans have no reason to jump over the boards and buy the game. 

EGM (7 out of 10):

It feels like so much time and focus went into getting the graphics and physics systems up to snuff for new-gen that EA Canada forgot about the rest of the game. At the very least, there’s hope, though. Now that the transition’s been made—however painfully—next year’s title can bring NHL back to its former glory.

As flawed as video game review processes can be, these must be pretty tough scores for EA Sports to swallow. When you consider the fact that developers may lose significant chunks of money for review scores averaging in the high-70’s and the NHL series’ history as a well-reviewed sports title, these reactions are disturbing.

(Sports video games probably get a little more leeway in these situations than something like “Destiny,” but one can assume it still stings quite a bit.)

It’s unclear how much the controversies are hurting EA in the “wallet,” however. Sales goals are pretty difficult to suss out when you ponder the fact that a) the NHL series is a “niche” title compared to FIFA and Madden and b) the jump to new consoles can be messy even when things go well.

The title is getting content updates that might soothe some wounds, even if some modes are unlikely to come until future releases come out.

On the bright side, more than a few reviews essentially argued that the title has a strong foundation … it just sounds like the series is now in something of a “rebuild mode.”

(Screen shot via EA.)