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A Lot of Missing Features in NHL 15 Make Hockey Fans Upset, they requiring EA to make further improvements

For some hockey fans, NHL 15 is a little disappointing. Plenty of other features large and small have disappeared. Season mode is nowhere to be found, so you can't play a full season without the additional team management elements of the franchise mode, Be A GM. Gone are the NHL Winter Classic, the league's series of games played outdoors in January, and the Action Tracker, which tallied every individual event over the course of a game and let you watch replays of them all. You won't even see a list of the three stars at the end of each game. It's also impossible to edit players, a seemingly minor omission that matters greatly to die-hard fans.
 
The problem isn't only that whole swaths of the game are missing. To add insult to injury, even the features that did make the cut are scaled back, half-baked. For what it's worth, EA's patching some of these missing features back into NHL 15. Already added are a playoff mode, coach feedback in Be a Pro, and the three stars of the game (how the latter was ever overlooked, I'll never know). Coming soon are online team play and the aforementioned ability to control the draft in Be a GM. That's the extent of the plans that EA has outlined thus far.
 
The artists over at EA Canada have made NHL 15 feel like a true next generation game by creating character models and environments that pop with beauty. Every player looks unique and the ice you skate up and down has never looked better, with blade marks increasingly appearing as the game rolls forward. There is also an increased level of detail to be found within the crowd as you will find 9,000 unique models – the most ever in a video game – staring straight at the action happening on the ice. Possibly the most impressive thing about NHL 15 are the animation systems. Every character movement is flawless, with the physics never taking over and making a fall awkward. The NHL Collision Physics continues to come closer and closer to perfection, upping itself from last year.

 
That's despite being, on the surface at least, a serviceable improvement to NHL 14. That might be damning with faint praise given how unbalanced last year's version was, but the action is definitely smoother, the physics are more realistic, and the NHL 15 pucks feel livelier. The changes are most apparent when the puck is loose down low and everyone is trying to jam it into the net. With the way the puck moves now, there are quite a few more rebounds and dirty goals, which is more in keeping with the real sport. One-timers and slapshots from the crease aren't completely dead, but they aren't the only way to score either. Considering where NHL has been over the past few years, that's a relief. 
 
EA Sports has also nailed the sounds of hockey; the slash of a skate on fresh ice, the bounce of a puck into the boards, the collision of rubber on the crossbar. When I think about playing hockey, I think about the smell of the locker room, the sound of the Zamboni laying a fresh sheet down, and all of those aforementioned noises of the game. I'm so pleased that the telltale audio cues of hockey were captured so realistically, even if the crowd noise itself leaves something to be desired.
 
NHL 15's equally archaic "rock-paper-scissors" face-off system continues to employ the same tiny selection of predetermined win/lose animations. Some moves like the stick lift actually put the winning centerman's team at a disadvantage, due to how slow the animations are and how unrealistically quick the defense can explode out of their stances to intercept the puck or poke it free from the recipient. Face-off participants still cannot get ejected from the circle for drawing early, despite the fact that this rule is enforced at all levels of professional hockey.
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