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Why is there no online team play and other funny modes in NHL 15 gameplay

Quite a bit, unfortunately. Like many of the other sports games EA has released recently, NHL 15 commits one of the worst sins in (next-gen) sports games and cuts out much of the modes and features that were in previous versions of the franchise. To call the game “stripped down” would be underselling it. How bad is it? The best comparison could probably be made using EA Sports UFC or NBA Live 14. It’s certainly not as bad as the latter, because, let’s be honest, few things are, but it’s certainly one of the worst sports games to grace the new consoles so far.
 
It’s a shame, too, because EA Canada has clearly spent a lot of time and money here, and they have gotten quite a few things right. In fact, the on ice action feels quite good. The physics have been completely redone and are better than ever, the NHL 15 puck feels more alive and realistic, and the action behind everything generally feels satisfying.
 
For some reason, EA Sports has left a lot of content out of the game this time around. While you can still take on players in ranked and unranked match-ups both locally and online, the majority of modes that really bring out the best in hockey fans are nowhere in sight. Playoff mode is nowhere to be found, leaving us imagining a Stanley Cup match-up instead; Online Team Play is missing, taking away any opportunity to see how ideal squads match up (even though Ultimate Team is still somewhat intact). And the fact that Career Mode is so painfully short without the ability to draft players and work your way up the leagues just takes away from the NHL experience entirely. After all, hardly anyone magically joins a team anymore. Everyone knows you have to work for it.

 
Again, that’s not selling the core game short, as this is easily the best that the NHL series has played in some time. The hustle on the ice still feels as realistic as ever, whether you're sizing up someone for a check as they're coming down the ice, or looking for that crucial opening on a goalie as you attempt to set up a one-timer from the side. Better still, shots can be executed with either the right analog stick or with the tap of a button, with both options handily available in case a certain play style isn’t working for you. The most crushing feature in NHL 15 is the lack thereof. Why is there no online team play, for instance? For years now it has been my go-to mode, the one with the greatest depth and most rewarding successes. It stood as a shining example to other games trying to do anything remotely similar, Alas it's gone. Other staple modes have been culled rather than simply removed, with Be A Pro less involving and less worthwhile than it's ever been. After you've exhausted the strikingly limited options to compile the appearance, position and general information of your player, you simply get drafted straight into an NHL 15 team. I was picked fourth overall and went to the Calgary Flames.
 
In spite of a slew of missing, yet soon to be added content, “NHL 15” satisfies thanks to solid gameplay and the best visuals in a hockey game, ever. In terms of control, it’s the best “feeling” NHL game since the introduction of the skill stick and a great foundation for the series moving forward on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But with only a handful of ways to play right out of the box, especially with Online Team Play delayed until November, “NHL 15” on the Xbox One and PlayStation 3 hurts itself right from the start with less features than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions.
 
Online team play is supposedly going to be added in the next month or so by means of a free update. Update implies 'new'. Online team play has been around for years. The fact that the game has been released without it is borderline blasphemy and no amount of smiley-faced press releases communicating future content drops will change that. If they don't call the first update the Apology, and bundle in a whole swathe of complimentary top tier Ultimate Team content, then I'm grabbing the puck and taking it home. Game ruined for everyone. These changes have resulted in a game which plays ok for casual fans of hockey, but are horrible for the hockey enthusiasts who have relied on NHL through the years to provide a realistic experience which accurately simulates play on the ice. It remains to be seen what will be patched into the game, but for now, the game looks rather poor for hardcore fans.
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