"NHL 12 Scores with the Legends"
Any serious gamer will tell you that sports video games have made enormous leaps in the past few years. We've gone far beyond the virtual sports classics like Tecmo Bowl, which introduced the concept of real teams and players to football gaming, or Blades of Steel, which gave us our first taste of fisticuffs in a hockey game. Sports games now allow sofa athletes to use just about every move and nuance seen on field, floor, or ice with the touch of a button or flick of a controller. The problem then becomes, what does each year's new version offer that's revolutionary enough to make us want to part with our money? So it is with EA's latest hockey title, NHL 12.
Does NHL 12 have all the teams and famous players? Check. Options to create your own players? Got it . Fighting, body checks, and vicious hits? All present and accounted for. A control scheme that lets the player control just about every variant from movement to puck placement on goal shots? Yes, yes, and yes. So then, what is new with NHL 12?
- "Y'know, it's not so much me as Roenick; he's good" - Trent, Swingers -
Many hockey fanatics believed NHL 10 was the pinnacle of the series, but EA took a step up with its "real physics engine" in NHL 11, giving us a more realistic movement and skating. Perhaps most anticipated is the addition of classic players like Gretzky and Lemieux. The only question here is, why did it take so long? In a unique move, these hall-of-famers are accessed through the “Be A Legend” mode. In essence, your legendary player can start his career with any team and play against modern rosters. NHL 12 has added some new variants to equipment and stadium venues. With one major exception, these will likely only be noticed by hardcore fans.
More detail has been added to the character graphics, making the video versions more closely resemble their real life counterparts. Aficionados will also be pleased to discover that NHL 12's goalies are far more involved and will jump into the action near the net instead of just blocking shots. Also for the first time, players will be able to compete in an outdoor venue, Pittsburgh's Heinz field, site of the 2011 Winter Classic. This was a great idea and a refreshing addition, slapping the puck amidst the snow flurries. Hockey Ultimate Team makes a return, but with enhancements including injury cards and legends, and the ability to go head to head with a friend.
In a sign that the folks at EA are actually listening to feedback from fans, for the first time players can actually create a female avatar. Even more exciting, in NHL 12's online mode EA Sports Hockey League gamers will now have the ability to create players for each of the six playable positions. Based on fan response to earlier incarnations of NHL, EA now allows you to build a player with certain strengths to play center, and another with all different attributes to play wing.
- This is a complex sports sim that will have fans gushing -
Overall, NHL 12 is a great game, but to be clear, it's not really an intuitive one. With football simulations for example, a novice can hike the ball and point the joystick in a direction for a basic run. NHL 12 has a number of control sequences that need to be performed just to get into position and make a shot on goal. For someone who's been playing the series for some time this isn't a problem, but for players just starting out, it could take awhile to become accustomed to the control scheme. This begs the question if you've been playing NHL for years, is it worthwhile to rush out and upgrade your copy of NHL 11? Normally, I would say no, but what swayed me was the addition of the legends. How can any genuine hockey fan be satisfied if their copy of a game doesn't include the ability to play as some of the greatest names ever? The answer is... they can't.
GameDynamo's Score for NHL 12 (PS3)
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