The NHL ’12 demo has been out for a few days now for Xbox Live Gold members, so most everyone who was going to check it out
likely has (unless, you know, you live in the middle of nowhere in, say, Alaska). I thought, though, that I would leave my thoughts here as a forum to start some discussion about the game. Anywho, here are some of my thoughts on the game.
- This is, by far, the most hockey that EA has let you play in a demo. You can access the Play Now mode, the Be A Pro mode and the Hockey Ultimate Team mode (in which you can play up to 8 games at a time). Granted, the games are still just the third period and beyond and just five minute periods. But, hey, it’s still a ton of hockey for just a demo.
- The first thing that caught my attention was the attention to detail paid to the game by EA. Graphically, this is the most stunning NHL title yet. EA said that they were going to pay a lot of attention to the little things, and they did just that. The character models are terrific, as usual, as are the all of the big parts of the game, but what really makes the graphics stand out are these little things. The shadows that the net casts on the ice, the scuffs on the boards and the goalie’s pads – all of the small things about a hockey rink that make it an immersive experience are 100% there.
- One of the tweaks I was looking forward to the most was the revamped AI and I wasn’t disappointed. Players act more like real players than like computer simulations. The aggressiveness level has shot up and players are more proactive, rather than reactive. The detail is there with the little things (such as players dragging their legs to stay onside), but one of the best
displays of the new AI was found when I was stick handling in front of a defenseman. In the older iterations of the game, the defenseman was content to let you dangle and dangle and dangle. In this one, though, after a couple seconds of stick handling the defenseman had enough and stepped up, playing the body and taking me out of the play.
- The Be A Pro mode highlighted two major changes to the game. First, all of the changes to Be A Pro and second, the new sim engine. First, the Be A Pro changes. Now, you not only have to earn your ice time, but you have the opportunity to sim to your next shift. For people like myself who like realistic experiences when playing sports games, this is perfect. No longer will your ice time be 30 minutes as a third-line forward. If you’re playing well, you’ll get rewarded. If you’re not, well, you’ll be using the new sim engine a lot more than you’d like. As far as the new sim engine, it looks very similar to the GameCenter feature on NHL.com. You can see where shots have been taken from, same with hits and other important events, and you can watch replays of these occurrences.
- The other big tweak was some of the physics. The goalie is fair game in this year’s game and, while it adds a sense of realism, it
takes some getting used to. I spent half of the last Be A Pro game I played because I accidentally ran the goalie. While it takes getting used to, it’s nice to be able to knock the net off of its moorings or to bump a goalie here and there. It makes it feel like you’re actually playing a game and it makes you play with a sense of caution that you didn’t have to before. You can’t stand in the crease behind the goalie and disrupt him now. Nor can you crash the net without repercussion.
- One thing that has been added to the Ultimate Team is injuries and the ability to swap positions. There are healing cards now, so that if a player gets injured you can minimize the amount of time he is on the shelf. The cards are injury specific, so I would expect them to be on the trading block for a mint if you need them. Also, the ability to swap positions is there. Last year’s iteration saw your team take a chemistry hit if you had two left or right defensemen playing with one another. This time, you can get a card that can make a right defenseman a left or vice versa. It’s a highly useful option that opens up so many more roster possibilities in the game.
Overall, the demo for NHL ’12 shows a very promising game. I’ve been having a great time playing it and can’t wait for it to come out so that I can enjoy all of the options, not just a certain few.
What do you guys think?
Who’s got two thumbs and loves video games?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a huge video game nerd as well as a huge fan of music. So, in the interest of that and, in conjunction of the release of the track list for the soundtrack of NHL ’10, here is my 18-song NHL ’10 mixtape.
- Typical by Mute Math
- If You Could See Into My Soul by Silverstein
- Everyday Combay by Lostprophets
- The Downfall of Us All by A Day to Remember
- Welcome Home by Coheed & Cambria
- The City Is At War by Cobra Starship
- Get Your Back Off the Wall by Family Force 5
- The Likes of You Again by Flogging Molly
- Paralyzer by Finger Eleven
- Fight Like This by Decyfer Down
- Secret Crowds by Angels and Airwaves
- Wings of a Butterfly by H.I.M.
- Undead by Hollywood Undead
- Weightless by All Time Low
- Low (Travis Barker Remix) by Flo Rida
- Party In Your Bedroom by Cash Cash
- One Thousand Apologies by Demon Hunter
- Toxic by A Static Lullaby
So there are my 18. What are yours?
So I’m going to be honest. I’m a big nerd. I love video games and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
My most recent addictions are the new UFC game and Left 4 Dead, but I’m not going to lie…All of these are merely a stopgap for the one important game coming out September 15 — NHL ’10. Like all puckhead gamers, I’ll be setting aside a good portion of my time to sitting down and wasting my life away in front of my TV and, like all puckhead gamers, I’m absolutely rabid for any small snippet of information regarding the game.
In addition to being a huge video game nerd, I’m also a huge music nerd. I’ve been playing some sort of instrument since I was about 6 years old and I grab at any music I can get my hands on whenever I can.
Why am I telling you this? To explain the excitement that this announcement from EA holds for me.
Businesswire has released the soundtracks to EA’s 2010 line up of sports games, and here are EA’s picks for NHL ’10:
The complete in-game soundtrack for NHL 10:
ARTIST SONG Alexisonfire Young Cardinals Cancer Bats Deathsmarch CKY Hellions On Parade Disco Ensemble Golden Years Drangonforce Heroes Of Our Time Eagles Of Death Metal Anything ‘Cept The Truth Earl Greyhound Oye Vaya Green Day Know Your Enemy Megadeth Peace Sells Metalkpretty Wake Up! Wake Up! Ministry & Co-Conspirators Keys To The City (Chicago Blackhawks Theme Song) MxPx Kids In America Nickelback Burn It To The Ground Papa Roach Into The Light Priestess Raccoon Eyes Rancid The Bravest Kids Scorpions Rock You Like A Hurricane Thousand Foot Krutch Fire It Up
My initial response to this is that it is a fairly broad span of punk, indie and alt-rock bands. You’ve got your platinum-selling artists (Megadeth, Nickelback, Greenday) and your relative unknowns (Cancer Bats, Disco Ensamble, Metalkpretty). The recent years of NHL games have resonated with me musically, because they are typically the type of music that I listen to the most, which is why I get so excited about seeing their line ups.
I am a bit disappointed that there are a few more well known bands on this edition, as editions past tended to lean a little more towards more unknown bands, but bands like CKY, Alexisonfire and Thousand Foot Krutch leave me very hopeful for the latest iteration of NHL’s soundtrack.
But I’m interested in seeing what my good and faithful reader(s) have to say about this. What are your thoughts? And, heck, while we’re at it, let’s throw together a little mixtape action here. I’m going to post my 18-song soundtrack for NHL ’10, personalized to me. Let’s hear yours!