Top Critic Average
Publisher: Electronic Arts
NHL 19 proves you can have your cake and eat it, too. It has a complex, sim-heavy Franchise mode, fun, fast, ridiculous arcade modes, and everything in between. There's a style of play here for anyone, from the absolute rookie to someone who lives and breathes hockey. The action on the ice feels excellent and there's just so much to do in NHL 19 that I was able to find a game mode to match any kind of mood I was in at the time. We don't need to ask “where did all the arcade-style sports games go?” anymore, because NHL 19 folded them all into a fantastic, robust package oozing with pure fun. What's most amazing is how the modes are so different in tone, but maintain excellence throughout.
These are the kinds of upgrades you expect if you follow an annualized sports franchise. Yet I feel more impressed at the fact that EA Vancouver was able to build an online suite for NHL 19 that didn't just draw me in with the shiny trinket of outdoor play, but kept me going despite the frustrations that are sometimes inherent to online gaming.