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NHL 21

Electronic Arts, EA Vancouver
Oct 16, 2020 - Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5

OpenCritic Rating


Top Critic Average


Critics Recommend

6 / 10
3.5 / 5
Game Informer
7.5 / 10
9 / 10
2.5 / 5
8 / 10
8 / 10
God is a Geek
8 / 10
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NHL 21 Trailers

NHL 21 Official Gameplay Trailer thumbnail

NHL 21 Official Gameplay Trailer

NHL 21 Official Reveal Trailer thumbnail

NHL 21 Official Reveal Trailer

NHL 21 Screenshots

Critic Reviews for NHL 21

Arcade goodies are mashed together with NHL 21's legacy issues that span an entire console generation.

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NHL 21 is the best hockey game around by default – but it seldom genuinely stands out from this generation's pack.

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NHL 21 doesn't feel like a huge leap from last year, but EA Vancouver makes strides in addressing long-known issues and sets a better foundation for the next generation

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EA's NHL 21 is a success thanks to its improved story mode, exciting new skill moves, and excellent controls.

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NHL 21 tries to end the current generation on a high note, but legacy issues continue to hold it back. Its revamped Be a Pro mode is particularly disappointing, proving to be a disjointed, somewhat sloppy experience. It has its usual strengths, with online team play being a definite highlight, but longtime fans of the series will likely find this year's entry eminently skippable.

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NHL 21 is another strong entry into the series’ history. It delivers a new strand of flavor with Be a Pro, maintains quality on the ice, and makes franchise mode more enjoyable. However, the limitations in customization and the subtractions to HUT keep NHL 21 from being the series’ ultimate edition.

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I’m not old school like the coaches and GMs that still make up a large part of the NHL, but I’m old school in that I grew up in the 80s and 90s and value hard hockey played the right way over flashy dekes you might see once a season. I love dekes as much as the next person, but not at the expense of solid core gameplay. EA Vancouver tried to sell dekes, cosmetics, and the idea of being a superstar, but what resonated with me, an old-school hockey guy, were the core gameplay improvements.

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Whilst the gameplay changes and additions to the game modes are welcomed, NHL 21 feels more like an update than a brand new game.

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OpenCritic Coverage

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