The lights are on
EA’s NHL series celebrates what makes hockey what it is: the competitive spirit. This year, the restructured skating mechanics makes it feel like you’re actually on the ice with speed bursts, enhanced physics, and realistic skating momentum. For the most part, these enhancements paid off, but regardless NHL 13's single-player modes still need work. With NBA 2K, FIFA, and Madden making improvements to their career and franchise experiences, NHL needs to step up. Below are some additions that would give this hockey game a clean sheet of ice.
Be A Pro Needs To Feel Real
Fans dream of experiencing the glory of being a professional hockey player. For most of us, this will never happen, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to know what it’s like. Part of what makes NBA 2K13 so fun is its My Career mode, where you transition from a freshly-drafted rookie to having your own Nike sneaker. Be A Pro has the potential to go that route (with skates instead of sneakers, of course), but it has seen only minor improvements over the past few years. NHL 13 lets you request trades, but that’s only scratching the surface of its potential.
I want to watch my character grow to fame, but I’ve had a hard time staying motivated in Be A Pro. Incentives that simulate the trials and perks of celebrity would definitely help me stay on board. For instance, letting my Be A Pro character interact with the media through press conferences like NBA 2K13 would be a great start. Throwing social media into the mix and having fans rise or fall depending on my performance, complete with messages full of snark or adoration, would also be an engrossing tweak. Additionally, adding coach and GM meetings, where they discuss roles and performance would add significant depth. Right now, Be A Pro gives you a letter grade based on your performance, though your goals are almost always too inflexible and based on the player type you’ve selected, not the game at hand.
Another implementation could be intense contract discussions – maybe I’m the top scorer and I’m not settling for anything less than $7.5 million, but the GM only wants to offer me $5 million. I’d love the opportunity to offer threats and be swayed by other teams for more money. To riff off this, wouldn’t it be awesome to see fan reaction if I betrayed them and left for another team with more money? I want to be like Marian Hossa every time he plays in Pittsburgh or Detroit.
A big part of a successful team is how well you and your teammates jive. Be A Pro could offer more opportunities for interaction with teammates and have it impact line chemistry. Maybe I didn’t give my teammate enough credit for assisting in my wonderful goal, so he decides he won’t pass me the puck as much. This could even expand into one-on-one interactions in the locker room between periods where I can give teammates pep talks that either inspire or infuriate them depending on their mood. The impact of jealousy is rarely seen in sports game – having this influence line chemistry would create a legitimate behind-the-scenes feel. In addition, requests to change lines when I’ve established myself as a top-tier player would help if I didn’t feel my line was working out.
[Next Up: Being the boss ....]
Email the author Kimberley Wallace, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.