At a recent event, NHL 14 developer EA Canada talked more about the features revealed so far for the game.
- EA Canada says that consistency in the execution and effect of hits was one of the most requested features by fans, and it's trying to match that expectation. In my very brief hands-on time with a one-on-one practice area designed to show off the game's new contact physics, more momentum was preserved through hits. This made them feel more full and satisfying as players drove through their opponent. I tried to experiment to see how partial hits would register, but I didn't get a chance to adequately test this aspect.
- Hits can be engaged with the left analog – the movement stick – as well as the right analog.
- With the ability to de-skate someone more often, boarding and charging should be called more frequently. EA Canada says that it will adjust the refs so they call these penalties as they occur.
- The game's impact system uses tech borrowed from FIFA. This now accounts for the size and strength of the players involved.
- Players prepare and predict hits multiple frames in advance so there are less awkward situations where players bump into each other seemingly unaware.
- Unlike NHL 13, fighters will be their actual size in NHL 14, which greatly affects the leverage game and relative arm lengths for punches.
- Fighters can utilize different punches, including one-hit KOs.
- Fights begin seamlessly from gameplay, and you see non-combatants tie up and jostle in the background.
- To counter the top-end speed of forwards, defenders will have more lateral mobility and pivoting. This will help them angle forwards towards the boards or step in on them if they try and drive the center of the ice.
- There will also be tweaks to how players handle their top-end speed.
- To reduce the amount of controller inputs to perform dekes, these are now performed by holding down the left bumper with the left analog stick.
- Dekes can be more easily chained together, and players will get in/out of them quicker. This should be helpful in shootouts and breakaways, allowing you to recover and get a shot off on the goalie.
Finally, EA Sports is going to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the seminal NHL '94. The company isn't saying exactly what, but it would be great if it was included as a mode in NHL 14 or as a separate download.
For more on the game, check out its first trailer and reveal in our earlier preview.
NHL 14 comes out for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on September 10.