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NHL 15 is missing huge chunks

Carrying an annual franchise from one console generation to the next is no easy task. But as EA Sports has demonstrated, it is certainly viable, with last year’s FIFA and Madden not missing a beat being ported onto the newly available consoles. The NHL development team, meanwhile, chose to stick with the current generation in 2013, citing budget and time constraints. Great things were promised for when the next-gen version of the hockey sim franchise did arrive. As NHL 15 skates into stores this week, the title offers revamped presentation and somewhat improved gameplay, but shockingly not much else. Maybe you’re the one, and if it works for you, then godspeed. You are accessing powers and information that I can’t think of, let along exercise, and I salute you. I can say that there’s very little that’s as thrilling as skirting around the edge of the goal and barely tapping the puck in right behind the goalie. My little hockey player skates around in front of me and I yell “yessssss” and we all have a great time together. But the rest of the time I’m tipping and tapping and not managing this system very well. I’m not good at becoming the kind of machine that NHL 15 needs me to be.
 
Frankly, that’s not good enough. The launch version of NHL 15 - which is the version we have to review, as we can’t score a game based on promises - is missing huge chunks and what it does include feels rushed and hacked together. The on-ice improvements are so good that some will be convinced to soldier on with the game and play single match after single match against their friends offline, or solely play Ultimate Team online, but to say that EA have let the puck slip through their fingers on this one is a massive, massive understatement. When all is said and done, it may seem as though NHL 15 for the next-gen consoles is a sure win. But those of you who have chosen to go the retro route by sticking to your roots and buying NHL 15 for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 may have the last laugh. I guess it really comes down to whether you are a casual gamer or a hardcore gamer.

 
Calling all casual gamers: you will love this game! Go buy it! The graphics are insane, the gameplay is phenomenal, and you know no better. It’s an awesome game to showcase the capabilities of next-gen technology. It’s a great game to play with friends and family for fun, money, shots of Patron, or whatever else you find worth competing for. The online mode is also worthwhile and enables you to see how you fare against others around the world. So the big question: should YOU buy NHL 15? Well, that depends. It has updated rosters, which might be very important to you. If you devote the time, you can do that yourself using the creation center.
 
NHL 15, presentation wise it’s amazing, a huge upgrade from the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 game and rightfully so but, Gameplay wise, NHL 15 is a huge letdown. Electronic Arts had 2 years to develop NHL 15 for next generation consoles, and it seems like they only focused on presentation, stripped the entire game, put in the bare bones of content, including their money maker Hockey Ultimate Team, and released an unfinished product just to make their deadline and maybe a profit. EA and the NHL development team have a huge amount of work to do, there is no other developer currently making an NHL game, they have the entire NHL gaming market monopolized, yet they can’t produce? Shameful EA, Shameful. NHL 15 is a huge letdown and comes with a heavy heart that I have to give this game a lowly 4/10, marks are only gained because playing the game once you get the menus sorted is actually somewhat fun, and the graphics are beautiful. Electronic Arts, this is coming from all of your NHL series fans, please make NHL 16 a great hockey game. If NHL 15 was just a hockey simulation, if EA didn’t have the rights to use anything to do with the National Hockey League. You wouldn’t have business. The motto of NHL 15 “EA sports, it’s not in the game”.
 
With those missing on top of the EASHL, Online Team Play and GM connected, you are really buying what feels like a half finished game along with a promise from EA sports to update the game throughout the year to hopefully add in some of these missing features. The problem is the game is still going to cost you $60-$70 at retail. Full price for half a game and a promise doesn’t fly with me, even more so when it happens to be my favourite gaming franchise. So, as it stands right now, I can’t recommend buying NHL 15 on Xbox One/PlayStation 4 in its current state. My hopes are that EA lives up to its word and hopefully by Christmas the game is much more complete, but again, we aren’t reviewing what it COULD be, we have to look at what it is, and right now it’s not worth your money.
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