EA Sports Continues to Ruin NHL Games
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01-11-19 08:13 PM
tgags123 is Offline
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POST EXP: 508683
LVL EXP: 37416785
POST EXP: 508683
LVL EXP: 37416785
Likes: 1 Dislikes: 0
NHL 13 was a great game that I thoroughly enjoyed. NHL 14 was a game I spent countless hours playing, from the time it was released until the day NHL 15 came out. NHL 15, the first game on the "next generation" of consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) sucked. NHL 16 was slightly better, but everything has been downhill since then. NHL 19 is just the latest in a series of horribly disappointing and terribly executed games by EA Sports.
If NHL 19 has any strengths at all, I would have to say it's the graphics. The game does look pretty nice. The players skate smoothly, have unique facial features that allows you to tell who they are without looking at the back of their jersey, and there is a lot of customization when it comes to equipment. There are also a ton of goal celebrations in the game, some of which are based on player's signature celebrations in real life, others of which are just awesome or funny celebrations for your Be a Pro or EASHL characters, like the "Air Guitar Solo" celebration. In most aspects, the visuals in the game are good. However, there are also a pretty good number of visual glitches. If your goalie is too tall, for example, his back will go through the crossbar when standing up. It is also not uncommon for two players to have their sticks or parts of their bodies go through each other. I've also encountered instances where the puck has gone through players. Despite the upsides the graphics have in NHL 19, I can't possibly rate them higher than an 8, due to the abundance of visual glitches in the game.
The soundtrack in NHL 19 is garbage. Prior to the transition to the PS4 and Xbox 360, NHL games always had great soundtracks, full of rock and metal songs. Songs that actually fit in with a sport that's full of hits and collisions and fights. NHL 19, on the other hand, features a bunch of pop and EDM songs that don't fit in with hockey at all. Instead of soundtrack full of artists like The Offspring, Shinedown, and Band of Skulls like there was in NHL 13, NHL 19 features artists like Imagine Dragons, Panic! at the Disco, and twenty one pilots. Bleh. There are a few bright spots in the soundtrack, but for the most part I am not a huge fan. Additionally, the commentators use the same recycled phrase they've used for the past 4 NHL games. If you've played any of those games, the commentary is already stale your first game into NHL 19. If you've played all of the previous 4 NHL games, like I have, you're probably better off just playing with the TV volume off. The one positive for sound is that in the World of Chel mode, there are a lot of cool goal horns you can choose from, and different custom phrases you can
Every year I play the NHL games less and less, and NHL 19 was no exception to that trend. It's crazy that back in NHL 14, I played the game extensively every day for a full year until NHL 15 was released, even when the hockey season was over. I played NHL 19 for about two weeks before giving up on it. The game just isn't fun, and there's nothing about it that makes me want to keep playing. Hockey Ultimate Team, my usual go-to game mode, hasn't kept my interest since NHL 16. Franchise Mode is stale, and hasn't changed much at all since NHL 15. The big selling point for NHL 19 was the introduction of World of Chel, but all it really is is a combination of game modes that already existed in previous games. Overall, NHL 19 completely failed to keep my interest for more than a week or two. 4 out of 10.
NHL 19 makes more of an attempt at providing players with new and different things to do than previous NHL games, but the attempt is pretty poor. As I mentioned above, they added a "brand new" game mode called "World of Chel", but all it really is is EASHL, Be a Pro mode, and NHL Threes all combined into one central hub, with some new things you can unlock. Woohoo. There are a number of game modes that you can play in NHL 19, but the only ones that have any longevity to them are Hockey Ultimate Team, Franchise Mode, and EASHL within World of Chel. Hockey Ultimate Team is a game mode where you open packs buy cards to build your team. It's their money-making mode, where they charge $20 for two packs of cards that never have any decent players in them. Hockey Ultimate Team, or HUT, was a lot of fun in NHL 13 and 14, when you could complete collections to earn coins, and there was a ton of fresh content being added all the time. Now they removed collections and added sets and collectibles instead, which discards your items after you use them, presumably so you have to spend more money on the game. EASHL can still be fun, but only if you have a team of at least 5 other people that want to play at the same time as you. EASHL stands for EA Sports Hockey League, and it's a game mode where each player controllers one skater on the ice, and they have to work as a team to win. It's something that you can play for months without getting bored of it, as long as you have a team to play with. Franchise mode is good for about a week, until you get to the year 2030 and realize it's the same thing over and over again. All in all, NHL 19 does not have that much to offer. There are a lot of game modes, but most of them are just some variation of "Play Now" that have no play-ability value after about an hour. The game modes that do actually have some depth are just not as fun as they were in previous games, or require cooperation from a lot of friends. 6 out of 10.
Difficulty is hard to rate in a sports game, but I decided to give NHL 19 a 9 simply because the amount of bull crap in the game makes it difficult to win consistently. I outplayed my opponents almost every game I played, with more shots and more time on attack, and I only won about half of the time. I'll get into it more when I discuss gameplay in the next section, but being a consistent winner in NHL 19 is nearly impossible no matter how good you are at the game (unless you simply IP boot your opponents every game, like a large number of people do), and for that reason I've rated the difficulty a 9 out of 10.
Now we get into the worst part of the entire game - the gameplay. For most games, the actually gameplay is the most important part, and NHL 19 is no different. The gameplay is the most important part of the game, and it is absolutely awful. For starters, playing defense is impossible, and the most effective form of defense by far is to switch to your center and sit in the middle of the defensive zone and let the AI handle it for you. I'm not kidding, this is how all of the top players play, and it works really well. If you try to play defense yourself, your opponent will easily get by you and score. Trying to get by the AI defense though is a much more difficult task. Let me reiterate this again for you - THE BEST WAY TO PLAY DEFENSE IS TO SIT THERE AND DO NOTHING. It's even more frustrating on the other end when you're trying to score, and your opponent's AI takes the puck from you within five seconds of you entering the offensive zone. On top of that, scoring and goalies are also a mess. There are very specific ways to score, and anyone that has played the game at least ten times knows them all. Those specific ways go in basically every time, and any other kind of shot will rarely go in, if ever. Instead of playing hockey, you're playing a game of "get passed the AI-controlled defensemen into an area where I can set up a very specific play that works 100% of the time." It's really stupid, and really annoying. Additionally, there have been rumors of "ice tilt," and I'm starting to believe them. The theory behind ice tilt is that there is some mechanic in the game that gives an advantage to the player that has worse players on his team, or to the guy that isn't playing as well, to make the games more even. At first I thought it was a bunch of crap, but after playing for a while, and seeing some of the bull crap goals that were scored against me, I started to buy into it. Who knows if it's real or not, but it definitely feels like it is sometimes. Overall, playing a game against an online opponent is just an awful experience. I'll give the gameplay a 3 out of 10, and frankly, that's being generous.
I cannot urge you enough to stay away from NHL 19, and EA Sports NHL games in general. For the first time since NHL 13, I will not be buying the next NHL game, NHL 20, when it comes out. I have been so disappointed with the games that have come out in recent years, and I refuse to give EA any more of my money until they get their act together. 2K, if you're reading this, I'm begging you to start making NHL video games again. Regardless of whether or not they're better than EAs, at least they will provide competition and force EA to put out a better product.
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