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The only major offline mode in NHL 15 is Be a GM

There’s a long-standing argument in both video- and board- games culture about complexity and how much of your time and energy you should give to a game before flipping a table or putting down a controller. Sometimes this is explained in patronizing artistic terms: “If you really put in the sufficient time, then you would understand how brilliant this is.” Sometimes it is laid out in the classic hardcore vs. casual gamers frame: “The game opens up when you develop a required bare minimum skill to access its complexity.” In both of those contexts, there is the feeling that you need to wholly give yourself over to something in order to really grasp its beauty. To love the machine as much as you should, we are told, you must turn into that machine.
 
The only other major offline mode in NHL 15 is Be a GM. You still choose to take control of a team, and hope to guide them through the years by managing the player roster, signing contracts, handling trades, and so forth. Player information screens have been revamped to provide better clarity, and now include life long career stats for the pros. But Be a GM has too been stripped bare of important functions. There is no longer an entry draft, as the game simply assigns you players from a list. You do still get to scout talent, but the ability seems moot when you can't select any players at the draft. Just in the same way you can't play in the minor leagues in Be a Pro, you cannot do so in Be a GM. Not only that, you can't even manage your affiliate club's lineup. Transferring players between your club and the minors is simply picking from a list. The GM tracker, a tool that organized your progress and presented RPG-like objectives, is gone. Simulation times have barely improved. Be a GM mode is now basically just a continuous seasons mode with some scouting and free agents. It's another huge step back, and shallow not just by the standards set by its predecessors, but by modern sports games in general.

 
Other gamers have vented their frustrations on a popular video game forum, in a thread entitled “EA may lose 25+ percent of pre-orders/sales for NHL 15.” Some perplexed gamers have even purported canceling their pre-ordered copies of the game upon hearing of this disappointing news before the game’s release: “Man, If this is true I’d cancel my pre-order right now and wait for NHL 16.” Another stated, “EASHL is the only reason I buy these games. Definitely not buying if it’s excluded.” NHL 15 was heralded as the next step in hockey gaming. It is the first NHL game to come out for the "New Generation" (Xbox One and PS4). As a tip of the hat to those troglodytes who had not yet upgraded to the newest hardware, EA also released the game on the older consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3). That was their mistake.
 
The problem EA now faces is that they have released 2 very different games,and while one looks better, runs smoother, and generally is prettier, the other is heftier, with more content and a better user experience. The other modes in NHL 15 are very minor and not very noteworthy, such as NHL moments live where you have to complete a moment that actually happened in the real NHL in the game, or you have to change history that happened in the past. There is Verses mode that was also patched in the game, which you and 4 other people take control of individual players on a team and play against 5 other players, this game mode is a sad excuse for an “online” game mode.
 
Where “Be a Pro” stands out is in the actual gameplay. When gamers take the ice in the “Be a Pro” mode of NHL 15, the camera shifts from the standard top down view of the players, to a dynamic third person camera that circles and surrounds the character. The camera change does an excellent job accentuating the experience of being a single person who needs to contribute to the team’s effort to produce a victory. However, there are some moments - particularly when your team is advancing the puck - when the camera’s focus is too narrow, leaving players to guess at a teammate’s position, likely resulting in a turnover.
 
NHL 15 plays a great - if somewhat atmosphere-free - game of hockey, but the sheer amount of modes missing from the package as a whole mean that unless you become obsessed with NHL 15 Ultimate Team or enjoy playing severely limited career modes, there’s very little to actually do. When a publisher steps up a week before a game is released and admits that it’s dropped the ball and will be patching in bunches of stuff in the future, that’s kind of a sign as to how poorly things have gone.
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