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‘NHL 15’ boasts enhanced graphics, lacks core mechanics

“NHL 15”—Electronic Arts—PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

6 out of 10

By Reece M. Krantz ’16

“NHL 15” is the most recent iteration in Electronic Arts’ perennial sports congregation, often used as the benchmark for other sports games and other related events.

Alas, this time is different.

The NHL series has lost much of that depth in its transition to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. “NHL 15” marks the franchise’s debut on the new consoles, and it’s more notable for what’s missing than for what’s present.

Lack of depth is typically a death sentence for a sports game. Only having a few modes to play can get old, repetitive and shorten the overall enjoyment of the title.

“NHL 15” lacks many game modes present in previous versions, especially at launch date.

At launch it lacked EA Sports Hockey League, an online league system that supported six-on-six play and was introduced in 2008’s “NHL 09.” In fact, online play in general had been gutted.

Other game modes that were absent from launch include Winter Classic mode, Be a GM and Season mode. All these and much more were present in the “NHL 14.”

The only notable game modes were the classic quick play and the Be a Pro mode.

I am happy to see that since launch most, if not all, have been patched in. This still does not excuse such a prestigious title to make mistakes where quality is always expected, especially considering it is on the “next-gen” systems.

Apart from the missing features and content, there is little else that is wrong or incomplete.

One thing that “NHL 15” does extremely well is its overall presentation and aesthetics. From the instant you load into the game, you feel completely immersed.

From the NBC announcers to the rather impressive graphics and models of the puck and players, everything feels very natural.

The physics feel great; the moment you check someone you feel the weight from the quality sound design and then visually see them react in fairly realistic, and some times hilarious, ways.

Despite its blatant and cheap shortcomings at launch in terms of depth, “NHL 15” is some of the most fun I’ve had while gaming. If you are a die hard hockey fan or a casual gamer, NHL will satisfy most, if not all your needs.

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