The NHL franchise has become one of EA Sports' most consistently good series, but the innovations have been slowing down in recent iterations. NHL 13 will try to address some areas that are due for an upgrade.
Players' speed on the ice will be highlighted to replicate the acceleration and top speed among different skaters. EA Canada says this will not only open up a host of new animations, but hopefully this will also mean that skaters can finally turn the corner on defenders unlike in previous NHL games.
The AI of skaters and goalies will get a boost as they will be more aware of those around them. Last year's game did a good job of keeping teammates onsides, and it sounds like this new feature could lead to better awareness by goalies of off-puck skaters sneaking into the slot or two-on-one situations. This could also mean better cycling in the offensive zone as well.
The game is also boasting customizability so you can try to mimic the strategies of teams. Maybe we'll see a repeat of the Lightning and Flyers' 1-3-1 neutral zone/forecheck stare-down.
The GM mode is taking a big step forward with GM Connected. This takes the Be a GM mode and not only brings it online in a 30-team NHL league, but also lets you and your friends fill specific roles. You could all play with or against each other as players, or perhaps someone will specialize in a role like being a GM or coach. The mode is also supported by a mobile app.
You can re-live moments from the current season in the game (augmented by real-life footage), and new situations from next season will be added after the game ships.
This is just the beginning of the game's features, so come back on Monday, May 21 when we'll reveal more about the game.
NHL 13 ships for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 11, and will also feature a NHL 13 Stanley Cup Collector's Edition ($79.99) featuring:
- Embossed Stanley Cup tin
- Two Stanley Cup-themed Ultimate Team packs
- Gold Jumbo Ultimate Team pack w/ 24 items, including an exclusive Wayne Gretzky Ultimate Team Legend
- CCM Boost Pack w/ the CCM RBZ stick for use in Be a Pro and the EASHL
- A one-time 10% discount at the NHL.com shop
- The game, of course