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NHL 15 is not the hockey title fans wanted or deserve at this point, however it does offer significant, if expected improvements to the gameplay and graphics in some circumstances

Each year EA releases a new hockey game that features new content and more realism to the game. As this is the first time a hockey game to hit the newest generation of consoles, gamers are expecting a lot out of it. To start, the announcers have finally been changed to non other then Doc Emrick and Eddie Olczyk who announce the games on NBC. As nice as this feature seems, it lacks throughout the experience. Besides hearing the new commentating it really doesn’t flow with the game play. Doc sounds very bland and is not into the game as he is in real life, while Eddie will have a comment here and there but you barely hear him throughout the game. For a supposedly new hockey experience the announcers are very boring which is a main feature in any sports game as you want to try to make it as real as possible. Each game features a nice opening scene where it shows the home teams area with a little description but this gets repetitive after about the fifth time of hearing the same intro.
On the topic of the Hockey Ultimate Team mode, you are no longer able to play against user-created teams offline as you could in previous titles. You may play offline with your team, but your choices are limited to actual hockey teams ranging from CHL to NHL, but at no point are you given the option to play against a randomly chosen (or even specific) user-created team. This may not seem like a significant loss, but part of what made that game mode special was playing against teams that do not actually exist and because of this change, the mode itself has lost some of its charm.
Of course, none of that matters if the gameplay is cruddy, but thankfully NHL 15 doesn’t fall short. Players have more realistic-feeling skating, where momentum is king when you’re trying to land checks and whatnot; if you aren’t skating very fast, don’t expect anyone but yourself to end up hitting the ice. Some of the series’ shortcomings remain, however, such as the fact that there are still sweet spots on the ice where you can usually score every time, regardless of which goalie or team you’re playing against. Higher difficulties also seem to just translate into more penalties being called against your team, sadly, which could prove frustrating to some gamers.

NHL 15 is the first entry of the NHL series to the current generation of consoles. After not making a splash in the first year of these consoles, big things were expected from the franchise and developer who consistently produce a hockey title that keeps fans happy and also updates new features and gameplay consistently. NHL 15 is not the hockey title fans wanted or deserve at this point, however it does offer significant, if expected improvements to the gameplay and graphics in some circumstances.
For any player of the NHL series the minute to minute gameplay is very similar to what we’ve seen before. The dual stick skating and shooting controls make the transition to next-gen largely unchanged. The differences from NHL 14 to 15 are subtle but effective in making this feel like a new experience rather than a roster update. The skating tweaks initially introduced in NHL 14 are carried over and updated; players take time to get up to speed and can’t stop or turn on a dime. It takes some getting used to initially but definitely helps with a sense of immersion. The reactions on screen are closer to what would occur in a real NHL game if the defenceman abandoned his position to try to lay a huge check. You absolutely will feel like a fool in your first few games when your players are constantly out of position.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing with the Red Wings or getting drafted in my Be A Player mode, but I could not help but be be disappointed with the lack of depth that I have come to expect from an EA Sports title. I love that more updates are planned, but a full-priced game should not be incomplete in the first place. Taken from within a vacuum, NHL 15 is a perfectly solid hockey title, however longtime fans of the series are bound to be disappointed by the things that they have grown used to over the years that are missing.
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