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NHL 16 is at the receiving end of multiple gameplay improvements

EA manages to secure its place as the best source for virtual hockey, especially given its exclusive use of the license, by presenting the game in a way that actually makes sense of line-changes, zone-control, defensive positioning, and even goal-tending. Less accomplished skaters don’t have to worry about the buttery smooth transitions and puck-handling driven by NHL 16’s artificial intelligence too. As disappointed as I was by odd glitches and a few errant score runs on lower difficulties, NHL 16 still manages to impress this great one.
 
Okay, so it totally sucks that some game content has been cut from the Xbox One and PS4 version, but it’s still the one you should be playing, since most of the back-end improvements made this year are exclusive to new-gen systems. The game’s collision physics received an overhaul, which applies to all 12 players on the ice, meaning the chance of massive pileups is radically increased. In addition, the puck now moves more realistically than ever, while stadium crowds - called “living crowds” - react authentically to plays, hold up signs, and include over 9,000 new models.
 
While the actual gameplay is superb, it is severely let down by the missing game modes and features. While it may seem harsh to complain about something that isn’t there, the lack of options really do limit how much you can play the game. Simple “play now” games obviously aren’t enough to hold your attention for long, and online head to heads offer a nice change to playing against the AI, but can become repetitive, and the NHL Moments Live is currently lacking in content – although more will be added during the season.

 
The biggest improvement comes from the revamped physics, though: huge player pileups when you crash the net, realistic puck bounces that lead to frustrating turnovers or fortunate close calls, and more dynamic goalie saves make it seem like you’re watching a game in real life. All the goal-scoring glitches of past years have seemingly been erased as well—the AI’s improved all around, and your opponent always tries to anticipate your every move. And even the issues with faceoffs—my one disappointment from last year’s game—are now fixed, since you can use your stick with more pinpoint precision than ever before.
 
Play online with up to twelve skaters including user controlled goalies. Using real-world NHL rosters you can compete in ranked drop-in games against players from around the world or invite your friends to a private OTP session before you step into EA SPORTS Hockey League. The perfect way to play when you and your friends want to jump on the couch, join forces and play some drop-in hockey online. It’s the best place to practice your team play skills before playing OTP or EASHL.
 
Besides a visual upgrade, NHL 16 is also at the receiving end of multiple gameplay improvements. Most noticeable is the Superstar Skill Stick, which introduces independent control of skating and decking using both the left and right sticks simultaneously. For instance, players can head down the ice idling the puck by holding the right stick out to one side, but will protect it when the left stick is used to steer in the opposite direction. New Stride Dekes are activated by pulling both sticks quickly to the same side and are useful in beating a defense.
 
The option to run a connected franchise with friends via Be a GM is completely gone and players cannot choose more than one team to run during the course of a season. So, if you had plans of running a season with your friends (or, in my case, son), toss that thought completely out the window because you can’t do it. Additionally, the ability to draft your own players )you know one of the primary functions of being a GM) is absent from NHL 16 as the game instead auto-drafts for you. And on the same coin, Be a Pro has been inherently gimped from last gen iterations with the in-depth RPG-like Live the Life mode absent from the game, as is the ability to simulate between shifts you aren’t on the ice.
 
Instead, you get a pretty standard, albeit fun, individual career mode and the ability to create a female skater. So I guess there is that. After debuting on the new consoles with 'NHL 16,' the series is ready now to go PS4 & Xbox One only. Coming this September, the PS4 & Xbox One exclusive 'NHL 16' boasts a slew of new and renewed features with a heavy focus on online, including 6v6 online team play, a new EA Sports Hockey League (online team mode), and even online couch co-op. 
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