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NHL 15 is missing a few things when playing a match

We were fairly clueless when we started playing NHL 15 Hockey Ultimate Team, and therefore paid a heavy price in how long it took us to get our team into tip-top shape. We jumped right into the games, foolishly thinking we could earn our NHL 15 pucks by stringing together a bunch of wins. That, as it turned out, was a huge mistake. The reason we focused more on concepts rather than specific values has to do with the constantly changing economy in NHL 15 Hockey Ultimate Team. There is just too much information for one person to always be up to date on, and it's for this reason that being active on the NHL 15 HUT is absolutely vital.
I wish I could say the on-ice improvements were more than enough to make up for the drop in features but sadly they aren’t. The highly touted new puck physics and multi-player collision system are nice but are not without issues. I often found the puck getting blocked in front of the net and magically shooting down the ice at mach speed. Battles in front of the net felt truly barbaric at times and it was hard to making fine passes through the slot, but these were let down by blind goaltenders who let in every terrible angle shot you could imagine. It really made you long for the ability to strap on the pads and play goal yourself, if that option was in the game.
Once you get a taste for skating in the big leagues, you can begin to appreciate the impressive visual upgrades. The powerful new engine gives the ice surface a new life. Degradation is specific to the paths the players skate, snow piles up in high-traffic areas which in turn gets swept away by skates and goalie’s pads. The crowd and arenas have gotten a huge makeover with over 9,000 unique character models to fill the stands of almost all of the NHL arenas which are faithfully replicated for the first time in the franchise. Toss the NBC Sports flavor into the mix, and you’ve got a true-to-life game environment that could easily turn NHL 15 into spectators, putting down their controllers in favor of watching.

In general, AI is significantly improved in NHL 15. Nonplayable teammates cover the appropriate areas on both sides of the ice and more often than not I'm able to confidently make a pass to the point without even seeing a player there on-screen. There are, however, some low points. I've had a surprising number of offsides called when it's the computer player who's at fault. Also, players will drag out of position more often than I'd prefer in the defensive zone -- it's frustrating trying to wrangle everyone back to where they belong.
There are still more modes to list in NHL 15 like Be a GM, Be a Pro, Practice, online Versus and my other personal favourite next to the HUT, NHL Moments Live. As a Canucks fan I did notice that there are no Vancouver NHL moments; what gives? I can think of many moments especially in recent years, like Burrows hammering a knuckler over the Blackhawks goalie Jamie Crawford in OT of game 7 or even Bieska’s surprise goal in OT of game 5 against San Jose. How about Pavel Bure in 94, or maybe the Greg Adams back hander past Felix the Cat in 84? Sure, this is personal, but for a hometown produced game where is the love for our team? Interestingly, NHL 15 is missing a few things when playing a match. Pull off a miraculous hat trick, for example, and you get no hats flying in from the crowd. This also includes home wins in Detroit, where no cephalopods get hurled. The naming of the three stars at the end of each game is also omitted, something that seems odd considering how easy it would be to implement. It is coming in a patch, though.
Finally, goalie AI still seems to be as hit-and-miss as it has in the past. The same goalie can sprawl out for a highlight reel save on one drive and then be beaten short side from a bad angle on the next attack. There still appear to be “glitch goals” from the demo and from past NHL titles that work with regularity, and one-timers-especially by the CPU opponent-are incredibly difficult for the goalies to contend with. Having been a goalie myself when I played hockey, it’s always a point of frustration to see the best athletes at the position in real-life finding themselves so outplayed in a video game simulation. There are some great-looking saves in this year’s title, but as you play the game you can’t help but feel that more re-tooling needs to be done in how the position plays.
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