Waiting to be Impressed, NHL ‘13 Gameplay Reveal Shows More of the Same
As a writer here at Kona’s Korner, I can’t always jump on the ball (or puck) when it comes to reveals or press releases to a lot of games, most importantly sports games since that’s what I play the most. So when I saw the gameplay video today for NHL 13 that was released on Saturday, I couldn’t just come here and post up the video and say look at all this new stuff they showed. Instead, I figured I would post up the video for anyone who didn’t see it but quickly focus on what I thought about the trailer.
The NHL franchise has been one of my favorite sport franchises in the gaming world. I’ve devoted a ton of hours to the NHL series and have had my share of accomplishments and pure hatred because of this series. Sadly, NHL 12 was the year where I just had the most rage out of all the years NHL has been released. It’s not that it was a bad game, but normally I wait to trade the game in for the next year’s installment a week before release. This year, I’ve already traded the game in and have had no urge to play it and the new installment doesn’t come out for another month and a half. Just so you know what problems I had with the game, here’s a quick list of things that bothered me about NHL 12:
- EASHL Online Matchmaking was horrible.
- Be a GM was barely any different than the year’s previous installment
- Be a Pro got boring very quickly.
- Presentation is practically the same it’s been for years.
- Players online are complete a**heads (not NHL’s fault however, it just spoiled the experience).
- EA Servers sucked badly (let me play the computer on EAUHL, lead by 4, get disconnected for I don’t know what reason, and be hit with the loss. This happened countless of times).
- Defensive AI was just bad.
- Figure skating was still a major part of this game.
- Tuners or updates came very few and far between.
This is just some of the issues I had with NHL 12 and with all this aside, I still enjoyed jumping in exhibition to play a game or two against the computer. Yet after I got rid of NHL 12, I still needed my hockey fix and you know what I started playing? I started playing NHL 2K10. There are things I wish EA would do for their NHL game when compared to 2K10, and I think it’s bad when I wish NHL 2K would return to challenge the EA Sport’s NHL franchise.
Looking at the gameplay video above, a few things stood out to me. Skating seemed more fluid, goalies seemed smarter and more desperate, and forechecking in the neutral zone seems like it finally works the way it should. That is the most I can gather in the positive department of this video, but as for the negative?
- As fluid as the skating is, it seems players will still be able to dance around defenders very easily.
- Checking still looks a bit odd.
- EA still has generic arena names for places like New York and Chicago
- Presentation has received no changes for what I think is the third or fourth year in a row now.
- Skating backwards was already part of the game; all they did was fix it to work better. It’s not an addition.
I can be really nitpicky about this video and I can already sit here and tell you everything I like and don’t like about NHL 13 from what’s been revealed. However, I rather just wait until NHL 13 is released and I personally get my hands on this game to give it true judgment.
Knowing the NHL series hasn’t had any real competition the last few years, and the other sports games on the market have been improving their games at a much better rate; it’s surprising how the crew at EA Canada can’t make the same strides forward like it used to. Gameplay wise it’s been slowly but steadily getting better with things that haven’t been fixed, i.e. figure skating around defensemen, but the games presentation has suffered for too long.
NHL 10 was a great game and put the NHL series on the map by winning a ton of awards, even with its issues. Since then, it’s been very much cut and paste. They also don’t seem to care about the little things that make a sports game great in terms of its presentation which I feel I’ve explained here enough. While I understand gameplay is what makes the game playable, by now they should be able to improve the gameplay while also giving a damn about everything else that surrounds the gameplay. Hockey isn’t just the fastest sport on ice, it’s also the most dramatic and the most on the edge of your seat ride from start to finish that some sports can’t compare to. When you can’t bring that excitement that used to be in this franchise, to where it is now? You start to lose interest. Then again, that’s just me.
As I mentioned though, I will hold my judgment on NHL 13 until September when I get the chance to review it. For now, I’m not hyped, am not excited, and am not holding my breath. I’m just waiting…