video games

Will future tweaks be enough to salvage NHL 15?


When a sports video game series makes the leap to more powerful consoles, it’s common for some features to be missing. Even so, an Operation Sports post laying out the sometimes-glaring omissions expected from NHL 15 created an uproar among fans of the game, especially since EA Sports’ NHL series took a year longer than other titles (like NBA Live, FIFA and Madden) to make the Xbox One/Playstation 4 jump.

EA Sports took a step to try to quell some of that controversy with a post in its forums on Monday, a day before the video game is set to release in North America.

There are plenty of bigger-picture questions stemming from this situation. Will patched updates be enough for fans? Should people wait to see if the changes are substantial enough? Is the game worth the money even without features many came to expect?

Addressing some issues

Series producer Sean Ramjagsingh detailed that the following changes are expected to be patched into the game after it ships (with some notes from PHT in parenthesis):

Note: some of this stuff is highly specific, so people who don’t play the game might be lost here.

September planned updates

  • There will be a “playoff mode” in which users can set up a tournament with up to 16 teams from any of the available leagues in the game.
  • Three Stars of the Game will be added (yes, that’s a strange omission).
  • Be a Pro coaches feedback will be added. (Many are still up in arms about being unable to simulate between shifts in one of the game’s most popular modes.)
  • Tweaks to the Hockey Ultimate Team Mode.

October planned updates

  • Online Team Play will be back, though it sounds like it can only be 5-on-5 (rather than 6-on-6) and it doesn’t sound like the popular EA Sports Hockey League will be included (at least there’s no announcement of that yet).
  • “GM Draft” tweaks the previous NHL Draft setup so that you face a limited amount of time to make picks and trade offers come in real-time.

(Click here for Ramjagsingh’s full descriptions, as those bullet points were simplified.)

So, that forum post does lay out some useful tweaks, but just check this daunting list of missing features from Operation Sports:


  • No GM Connected
  • No Online Team Play (when this is patched into the game later this year, it will use real NHL players and teams)
  • No EA Sports Hockey League
  • No EA Sports Arena
  • No Online Shootouts
  • No Live the Life
  • No Be A Legend
  • No Winter Classic
  • No tournaments or Battle for the Cup
  • No season mode (you can only play seasons in Be A GM, which is limited to NHL teams)
  • No NHL 94 Anniversary mode
  • No custom music support
  • No create-a-play designer
  • Cannot customize each team’s AI
  • No create-a-team
  • No way to edit individual players
  • Practice mode is now limited to one skater vs. an AI goalie


  • No custom camera option
  • No Action Tracker replay highlights
  • No Top 3 Stars at the end of games.


  • Yearly draft is fully automated by the CPU
  • Cannot play the AHL games for your chosen franchise
  • Players sent down to the minors do not accumulate any season stats
  • No fantasy draft option
  • No preseason games

Be A Pro

  • No option to sim ahead to the next shift
  • You only play in the NHL; you cannot play for minor league teams
  • The Memorial Cup tryout period is gone. You now begin by picking an NHL team, or by letting a random CPU team draft you.
  • No All-Star game

Ultimate Team

  • Cannot play against your friends
  • No tournaments
  • No mobile app

As you can see above, there are some fixes, but that’s still a list that will give many pause (some are even stating that they’ve canceled their pre-ordered copies of the game).

That’s a lot to digest, but what are your thoughts on NHL 15 hours from its release? Are any of these missing features deal-breakers? Will you buy it right away, wait a few months, skip this edition or even disavow the series out of principle? Do tell.

(Image via EA Sports.)

Video: EA reveals some actual gameplay from NHL 15


EA Sports is doing a nice job of allowing a slow trickle of information and videos to come out about NHL 15 – people might debate Sidney Crosby standing clearly alone atop the ratings mountain for a day or two, for instance – but more than a few people wonder if there will be significant advancements as the series debuts on Playstation 4 and Xbox One.

The video game company will release a demo to give fans a real taste of the action on Aug. 26, but for those who are dying to see the title in action (as in, not just gussied up videos that don’t show actual in-game events), there are now two clips that give a solid taste:

Note: It’s unclear which version of the game these videos were taken from.

The most obvious differences come in the pre-game video presentations that feature scenic shots and commentary from NBC’s Doc Emrick and Ed Olczyk. (It’ll be interesting to see if there’s a good variety of material before contests or if it repeats quickly, for one. Also, does Doc ratchet up the “Score” a few notches when the goals come at bigger moments? Lots of questions there, but it’s nice to hear new commentary after a long run with Gary Thorne and Bill Clement …)

The gameplay improvements seem like more of an evolutionary step than a giant leap, but that’s also without actually playing anything. Did those videos affect your interest in buying the game when it launches?

(H/T to The Hockey News’ Post to Post. Screen via EA.)

Video: EA shares NHL ’15 trailer, release date


While the hockey world is fixated on the 2014 Stanley Cup Final, video game enthusiasts bask in the hype of the E3 2014. That event featured the unveiling of a trailer for “NHL 15,” EA Sports’ jump to the Xbox One and Playstation 4 in the latest iteration of the series.

Beyond the fantastic song and some dramatic staging, the biggest takeaway is just how smooth everything looks:

“NHL 15” will release in North America on Sept. 9 and Europe on Sept. 14. Along with being on those next-generation consoles, the game will also release on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It will roll out some new features, including “authentic arenas.”

The game’s cover star will be unveiled at the 2014 NHL Awards.

Video: Brian Campbell’s campy campaign to be NHL 14’s cover star


Whether it’s the Florida Panthers’ doing or the work of EA Sports, Brian Campbell’s campaign-style video to be NHL 14’s cover star sports a desirable mixture of cheese and genuine laughs:

There’s plenty of good/cringe-inducing stuff in that video (the “Mmm … mmm … good” bit infringes on taste, if not copyrights), but the attacks on Kris Versteeg could use some tweaking.

While the karaoke clip begs for a full treatment, golden opportunities were missed to mock Versteeg in more meaningful ways.

Specifically, he should probably be teased for his hair from last season:

source: Getty Images
Or his fantastic handlebar mustache from 2013:

source: Getty Images

Honestly, “Soupy” might need to pull out a few extra spin-o-ramas to beat that ‘stache and the Hulk Hogan hair.

EA Sports’ NHL 13 demo available today


EA Sports rolled out the NHL 13 demo on Xbox Live and Playstation Network today.

(Unless you have a PS3 in Europe. Then you’ll need to wait until Wednesday.)

The demo includes four playable modes.

  • “Play Now” is the basic team vs. team mode. In the case of the demo, players can choose to control the Los Angeles Kings or New Jersey Devils.
  • “Hockey Ultimate Team” allows players to put together teams in a card-collecting style.
  • The new “Moments Live” mode recreates events from last season. In the case of the demo, you need to lead the Kings beyond the Phoenix Coyotes in overtime, although you don’t need to score with Dustin Penner.
  • There’s also a “free skate” mode.

Here’s EA’s promo video for the demo:

In case you’re wondering, the song is “Run with me” by Classified.

How do you feel about the demo?