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
Whether or not the horn sounds on home ice, every goal will give the fan in you the same satisfaction as if the game were live right in front of you.
The next generation jump for NHL 15 is far from a mind blowing one. It brings about fantastic visuals and more of the same excellent gameplay we have come to expect. Unfortunately, it really is just more of the same but with an impressive visual bump. Of course, the improved presentation is nice as well but it lacks that oomph needed to wow consumers. That being said, EA Canada has done enough to create a very recommendable hockey game, but they may have some trouble on their hands if they continue to provide more of the same next year.
NHL 2015 truly has glimpses of being a fantastic sports title on its own merit, given the improvements in the gameplay mechanics, visuals, physics and even sound. That being said, we have been spoiled to a degree by some outstanding previous versions with all the features and now I find that the series has lost a bit of its lustre given what they cut out to get this one out the door. The omission of key modes really hurts the end product, and in a way it feels like we're stepping back somewhat.
Its a graphical showcase, fueled by plenty of solid gameplay tweaks to an already amazing game and makes us wonder where the series can go once everything extra makes its way to the current generation via the announced updates. Even with that, it's still a bit of a letdown in terms of extra content, it's far from a disappointment and is best judged by those who play for the love of the series and sport and not those obsessed with extra bells and whistles.
NHL 15 may not be as feature rich as its last generation predecessor. But what it does offer is the most visually striking hockey experience available. The strong core gameplay for which the series has been lauded returns with slight tweaks to the physics. Everything looks great, plays well and feels like the NHL hockey I love. Even the tricky teammate AI can be addressed via settings tweaks. Where NHL 15 disappoints, however, is in the trimmed features and modes. NHL 14's fully featured practice mode is now just a single skater on ice who gets to practice his shootout skills only. And that kind of change just seems silly. I mean, we're talking about practice, man. Practice. Not a game. Practice. Ultimately, I prefer a solid core gameplay experience to a wealth of modes built around dodgy game mechanics. And with EA's announced content update schedule, fans can expect to find more reasons to return to the title in the coming months.
The choice to rebuild from square one on a new engine has resulted in a game that doesn't necessarily stand up to last year's on paper, but shows promise when taking into account the track record of EA Sports NHL. In the game of hockey, sometimes you have to make the counter-intuitive decision to take a big penalty to prevent a season-ending goal.
It boils down to this: if you like hockey, you will probably like NHL 15. It definitely has enough gameplay options to keep a hardcore hockey fan busy for months. If you aren't a hockey fan, it's a toss-up whether or not you would like NHL 15, just like any other sports game. But I will say that NHL 15 shows a lot of movement in the right direction on the new platforms and is a strong basis to make even better games for years to come.
For the last couple of weeks, the majority of the talk surrounding Electronic Arts' NHL 15 has been what is not in the game
NHL 15 is fun to play and pretty to look at, but it's disappointingly light on modes to keep you hooked on hockey.
On the ice, NHL 15 is great. Gameplay is smooth and fun to play, and the plethora of customization options means everyone should be able to find an enjoyable setting. The visuals and commentary round out the package that is only let down by the occasionally questionable AI. Where NHL 15 falls down is with its replayability and game modes. Not only are fan favorite modes missing, but the ones we do get are not feature complete. If you can deal with only having a few modes, then NHL 15 is well worth buying, but the lack of variation is sure to become an issue over time.