Summary: NHL 15 loses much of the franchise's complexity in its first entry to the current generation of consoles. This may be alright for some, but critics say fans of the series will be dissapointed
Top Critic Average
NHL 15 is not very good. It's not whole. But I keep playing, because it's enough.
NHL 15 may be a step forward in terms of gameplay and presentation, but it's a step back in nearly every other way. New players and those dedicated to the franchise will probably find something to like here, but everyone else will be left with a huge sense of missed opportunity.
I have always enjoyed EA's NHL games, and what there is of NHL '15 works. But, it's not what's there that's the issue, it's what's missing. And, for what's missing EA Sports needs to spend a lot of time in the penalty box.
In the end, NHL 15 feels like the skeleton of a better hockey game. Even with the missteps, the core game mechanics are solid and provide players with some fun hockey experiences. Those who don't care much for anything beyond this will be pleased with what's on tap. For those looking for the more involved modes the series has traditionally offered, they are either missing or watered down to the point that they feel like inaugural attempts rather than classic modes that have been tweaked for the better. The game will be patched to address some of these issues, but as far as what's on the disc or initial digital download, it seems like a step backward. With the groundwork already laid out, the hope is that NHL 16 will be a more complete hockey package. For the time being, NHL 15 just isn't what fans are looking for.
There are undoubtedly great things in the pipeline for the NHL franchise, but NHL 15 isn't a part of those plans.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing with the Red Wings or getting drafted in my Be A Player mode, but I could not help but be be disappointed with the lack of depth that I have come to expect from an EA Sports title. I love that more updates are planned, but a full-priced game should not be incomplete in the first place. Taken from within a vacuum, NHL 15 is a perfectly solid hockey title, however longtime fans of the series are bound to be disappointed by the things that they have grown used to over the years that are missing.
I would not say that the game-play is drastically different when compared to NHL 14 from last year, but the game-play somehow feels much more lifelike.
Even with everything missing NHL 15 is still a great playing game. The on-ice action is still hard to top, and if EA does patch in all the missing features, this could end up being the best in the series in years. Sadly, as it stands right now there is too much missing to make it feel like a complete package.
As the first next-gen entry in the series, 'NHL 15' breaks new ground - and the hopes of the hardcore fans along with it.
The hardened NHL fan looks past visual achievements, and finds a hollow experience devoid of some of the depth that made NHL 14 so good.