October. Colder. Darker. Faster. Stronger. Wait….
Anyways, October signals different things to different people. Whether it be that Halloween is here, or whether it be the realisation that mums starting to do Christmas shopping, or, in my house it signifies that Mum is allowed the heating on (Dads a funny old…thing). For me, it’s the start of another ice hockey season, with another NHL title to pass, deke and fight my way through.
NHL is always a series that is pushing through the latest features that EA are coming up with. For example, be a goalie (that’s now transferred over to FIFA) was first used on the NHL Series, and the same goes for the new skating system, which was a new running system in this years FIFA. The latest instalment, NHL 14 (thank you for at last paying tribute to the greatest goalie to ever grace ice hockey), has brought in an entirely new and upgraded fighting system. Wow, what an improvement it is. It’s changed the view which used to have you in the mind of the player on your side involved, to a view where you’re watching the fight take place from above, allowing a better view of the grappling and punching. It’s now less about spamming the straight punch option and now encorporates the already-present block and dodge option into a more viable option and into the better option at times to be honest. The best…and at times worst part of it is the support. By this, I mean when I do a brilliant check/hit, if big enough, as it usually is, the AI realises that his team need a morale boost and drops the gloves straight away without giving you the option, something I both love and hate. I love it when I’m fired up in a big game and I force the opposition to come try it on, but it can be a pain when you haven’t hit that hard or you’re trying to go through a game as quick as possible because you have something else to do/go/next big game. For example, I had three fights in a row from face offs where I did a check after losing the face off.
The deke system has also had a bit of a revamp with a closer and more controlled movement over the puck and a better system for puck control within the dragging motion.
The other major addition to the franchise is a change to the be-a-pro mode, now entitled ‘live-the-life’ mode. A few touches have been made, similar to the FIFA questions but done better, introducing multiple answers and what is said has repercussions. Answers affect levels of support from teammates, family, management and the fans. Likability gives different things, higher the fans support, the more likely/better sponsorship or advertisement deal you get handed. Teammates, at a certain level, invite you out for dinner, management reflects a better paycheck come time for a new contract, and family, well, I haven’t worked that out yet (after looking it up, apparently you gain more skill points towards your overall rating. It goes in a simple 100 to -100 meter. Bit simple, but keeping it simple sometimes works the best.
I’m a NHL series fan, and will continue to come back to the franchise time and time again, but this latest version has done nothing to harm that.