Will future tweaks be enough to salvage NHL 15?

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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:

Modes/Features

  • 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

Gameplay

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

Be A GM

  • 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.)