NHL 15 Demo – Demoing what the future looks like for EA Sports

As you may or may not be aware, EA have released the NHL 15 demo. Although the UK is wholly unaware of the game, franchise, or perhaps what the NHL is, this demo is important for more sports fans that most are aware. NHL, the game of the National Hockey League, or Ice Hockey, is the franchise that EA sports uses to test and soundboard the newest ideas and techniques they’re thinking about putting in for FIFA. The physics engine and responses to tackles that we’re seeing introduced in FIFA 15 were fully perfected in NHL 14 but work had been started in NHL 13.

So, what have we got coming in NHL 15 and in EA’s pipeline for the FIFA franchise.

–          Overhaul of the crowd – something that has become more and more important for sports franchises this generation is the reactions in the crowd and the look and feel of a crowd. As much as I’d like to believe that an away crowd would chant much louder than the home crowd if they were 3-0 up, it wouldn’t be as overwhelming as it is on FIFA. The crowd is looking a lot more unique, varied and responsive to whats occurring on the Rink in this case.

–          Real footage from outside Stadiums – Incorporating the true look of a stadium adds such a layer to a sports game. To actually feel like you’re home and not just in a building meant to be your home is partly subconscious; but from the Demo we’ve seen great footage of the look outside both the STAPLES Centre and Madison Square Gardens…it looks simply fantastic. As well as this though, the inside looks 10x better at least; and while I don’t expect all 92 league teams in England plus the hundreds of clubs from around the world on FIFA to have their home grounds, work on this now could make FIFA 16, or more realistically FIFA 17 one not to miss.

–          More realistic player movement – One thing that’s been improving rapidly is the way that players move. With a new generation, comes a stronger desire to create the most realistic experience (obviously, they wouldn’t want to take a step back, but it needed to be stated) to date. The demo shows that not moving in the correct direction to start with can be punished easily and can be a huge mistake that loses you the game. Punishing, but I love it.

–          Scoreboard system – It’s something not everyone notices, but it hit me straight away. This new scoreboard system where it tallies the goals like a counter system; much like in real life. The system just adds a bit to that realistic tally, helping to blur the line between gaming and reality that bit further – in fact, I was asked during my short time playing the demo what channel the coverage was on…Must look good! As part of a partnership with NBC Sports Network, the game has a great authentic commentary look.

So  who do you play as? You get the choice of the two teams who fought it out for the Stanley Cup this year, LA Kings and NY Rangers – which the LA Kings won convincingly at 4-1 (Take that Thinkbad Monkey!)

Have you played the demo? What’d you think? If you haven’t, give it a try!