NHL 14

NHL 14 Gets Some Grit
by Matthew Kato on Apr 15, 2013 at 05:31 AM
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Canada
Rating: Everyone 10+
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Physicality is a big part of hockey, and developer EA Canada is adding some grit to its lineup thanks to some new-and-improved features for NHL 14.

Building off of the series' player collision physics, NHL 14 uses an improved impact engine and new left-analog hit controls to try and deliver bigger hits along the boards and in open ice. The debut trailer for the game below at one point insinuates contact of two players on one, but given how fellow EA Sports franchise Madden has struggled with this for years, we'll wait and see if this kind of contact is truly replicated in NHL 14.

Fighters are finally going to get a revamped experience with third-person fights where EA says all the players on the ice will "remain live" until the fighters step off the ice and into the penalty box. We're not exactly sure what that means (particularly in the context of an EASHL multiplayer game). Does that mean that players will tie-up and get into their own skirmishes while the fighters go at it, or something else entirely? Regardless, the fighting portion of NHL 14 uses tech from the Fight Night franchise, taking into account the sizes of the players as well as featuring jostling for position.

For the skill players, NHL 14 introduces a modified deke system using the left analog stick in conjunction with a button press for more deke options. The game's skating engine is also getting work, from improved lateral movement to better acceleration.

Finally, EA Canada is overhauling the Be A Pro mode where you play as a single player through a career. Off-ice activities such as media interviews and interactions with your teammates off the ice will occur and influence your relationship with the team, teammates, and fans, as well as mark your skills as a player. It will be very interesting how this all works out, and if implemented well, it could really be a shot in the arm for a mode that has been stagnant since its debut splash years ago.

No word currently on how the game's faulty Be A GM logic will be fixed in NHL 14, but here's hoping.

NHL 14 comes out for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 10.

In the meantime, check back this week when we'll have more details on the game, and starting on April 22, you can vote on the game's cover star.