Top Critic Average
NHL 17 offers such variety that it’s easy to recommend to many players. The continued focus on accessibility and on-ice training fits the series well, and added depth to the EASHL keeps long-time fans like me coming back. The franchise mode finally gives the GM/owner mode a reason to be played, and even Draft Champions, while a bit simplistic, provides a motivation to interact with the Ultimate Team ecosystem. Most importantly, the hockey presented on the ice is dynamic and fluid, and it serves up an excellent version of the fastest game around.
The on-ice play hasn’t undergone a drastic transformation from last year, and outside of EASHL not many of the modes have long legs
NHL 17’s most promising features are held back by its reuse of old elements
The NHL series' gameplay continues to impress in NHL 17, but with only incremental upgrades, it feels like a game we've played before.
NHL 17 has some real strengths, but it still feels like it hasn't quite made it out of the previous generation. The gameplay is strong but increasingly dated; the feature set feels haphazard, and there are lots of niggling quality-of-life issues. It feels more and more like the series is stuck in a rut, and it's hard to say where EA Canada should take it next. For now, NHL 17 is another decent outing, but the next step remains elusive.
The game's overall presentation is solid, with the commentary and action cutscenes always making you feel as if you are a part of the heated battles and help keep the game flowing and relevant. There are few things I could say I wish NHL 17 had, mostly because it has them all. There’s no doubt EA has taken pride in bringing a well-balanced hockey simulator that's simple in delivery but complex in execution and something everyone can enjoy.
When compared to NHL 15, NHL 17 is miles ahead; when compared to NHL 16, it's incrementally better. That's the EA Sports way. There are some new features and improvements, but nothing mind-blowingly innovative. That's perfectly fine. There's a good hockey game at the core, and a lot of options on the periphery. That's all we ever wanted.
With some new depth, the already strong NHL series has remained solid. The product on the ice is great in almost every aspect, but the feature set could still stand to add layers.
If you’re looking for an authentic NHL game with excellent gameplay and plenty of modes, this is definitely the game for you.
While last year’s game was coming off its very disappointingly bare bones predecessor, NHL 17 already had a very solid foundation to build upon at the start and is one that will be enjoyed by most any fan of the sport.