"I Went to a Fight and a Hockey Game Broke Out"
Other than when I rented NHL 13, the last real hockey game I had played with dedication was a Wayne Gretzky game for the SEGA Genesis. It's the one where you could make their heads bleed as seen on the film Swingers. I figured it was a good time to get back into the hockey games. I've wanted to pick up a hockey game for a while and contemplated picking up NHL 13, but with NHL 14 so close, I decided to wait for that and just rent NHL 13 until the release date. I wasn't disappointed.
One thing EA Sports did fantastically was take what was popular in their other games and implemented it into NHL 14 of course with a hockey flair. The thing that I noticed most was the fight mechanics. While players don't have the arsenal of attacks that the Fight Night series has, we are able to throw overhand punches and uppercuts in the same manner as the Fight Night series. The collisions have been taken out of the FIFA series and look even better with every bone crushing hit. EA also expanded more on their Be a Pro mode from NHL 13 with the renamed Live the Life mode. The only real difference that I saw was that decisions off the ice affect your legacy status instead of just off your play.
The game just looks good. The graphics are clean and you can't really ask more than that for a sports game. Even the fans in the stands looked good. Obviously those guys weren't as detailed as the players, but each player looked like their real life counterpart. The animation of the players looks fluid and natural as if I were watching an actual hockey game. The engine runs well as a lot of the real hard checks I actually found myself wincing. I also really commend EA for the amount of detail as I saw each skater leave a trail of cuts into the ice as they skated by. I run into an issue where in sports games that allow you to create custom faces that they end up looking like some kind of in-bred alien. The same can be said for NHL 14.
The sound is what you would expect out of EA. The announcing is dynamic, but there can only be so many lines in a game where I could see it getting repetitive. The music isn't bad. I actually have the game on the menu right now as I write up this review. It features some artists that I really like such as The Dropkick Murphy's and Soundgarden. The music disappears during game time and we're left with the announcing and cheers or boos of the crowd as it should be. It's not mind-blowing but it's what I feel the game needs.
The game is also really fun to play. When I was skating around hitting people, scoring goals, and getting into fights, there were a number of times that I felt myself tense up and genuinely feel excited. The fight mechanics were very interesting and I loved how you could pick a fight. The first mode I tried was the Live the Life and I really liked how you would play a few games in the CHL and then get drafted into the NHL. This is something that I've wanted in games like Madden for a long time. It adds a level of authenticity and really helps make you feel like you're really a player.
NHL 14 has made my journey back into the world of hockey video games a good one. It takes me back to the days when I played hockey with my friends. Everything you could ask for a hockey game NHL 14 provides.
GameDynamo's Score for NHL 14 (X360)
|Exequiel Roman III
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He has been gaming since before he could spell video or games... or even his own name. While he can find a game he enjoys in any genre, he cites Tetris being his all-time favorite game. Oh yeah... he writes stuff too.
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