Top Critic Average
NHL 16 brings the series back up to speed with some great modes and features, but you can't count on its online modes.
Strong on-ice gameplay and terrific multiplayer are offset by a lack of innovative modes. While this is a solid rebound from a shaky next-gen debut, NHL 16 still has work to do to regain greatness.
A competent hockey experience still looking for a game-changing feature
NHL 16 fixes the mistakes of its predecessor, bringing the NHL franchise back to form.
Outside of the fantastic in-game trainer — which, it's worth noting, is similar to what's available in EA's other sports games this year — and the revamped EA Sports Hockey League, NHL 16's updates are incremental. The issues I saw are uncharacteristic of the high EA reached on the previous consoles, and as the series is finding its footing in the new generation, NHL 16 doesn't quite reach that bar.
There's a lot to like about NHL 16. EA Canada has worked diligently to bring back almost all of the features that were missing last year, with Be a Pro and EASHL being notably improved. The presentation has also received a really nice bump, and the gameplay on the ice is smoother and more exciting than ever. While it's more ambitious than it looks, though, the next step remains elusive. For now, we'll just have to settle for a really solid hockey sim.
NHL 16 isn't perfect, but it's a substantial improvement over what released last year.
Despite the draw of the EASHL and the core gameplay in NHL 16, there's a layer of familiarity that might turn away some folks. But after the missteps of last year's series entry, NHL 16 represents a step back in the right direction for EA's virtual hockey franchise and its fanbase. Some of the game modes feel underdeveloped in key areas, namely Be a Pro, but the variety on display and the hook of online multiplayer make NHL 16 an easy recommendation.
NHL 16 not only makes strides ahead for fans of the video game adaptations, but for fans of the game of hockey as a whole. A middle ground has been reached between realism and fun that is wholly surprising. NHL 16 isn't just a step in the right direction, it's the game hockey fans have been waiting for.
While some game modes still feel like they are living in the past, the return of fan-favorites like EASHL and the improved Be A Pro make NHL 16 a power play that hockey fans are bound to love.