If you are Canadian like I am, hockey is part of your actual genetic makeup. Chances are you played it as a kid whether on ice or on the street. You watched it at one time or another. With seven NHL teams in Canada, even if you are not a die-hard sports fan, you probably jumped on that bandwagon and cheered on your city’s team in the playoffs at one time in your life.
Canada lives and breathes hockey.
The NHL series from EA Sports is the Stanley Cup for hockey simulations and has been, like, forever. It helps that EA Canada has been developing the series since its inception in 1991. Who else better to develop a hockey game than good old canucks?
No, not Vancouver’s NHL team but my fellow Canadians.
I must admit right off the bat, sports games are just not my thing, unless it is a wrestling game then you hooked me eons ago. Having said that, NHL 18 is the closest you will come to lacing up your skates and heading onto the ice, stick in hand.
With the polished gameplay on lock, the draw of the latest release is the new features, one of which enhances the replayability factor to new heights.
NHL Threes mode is more fun than a snowball fight. Using NHL overtime rules, Threes is a 3-on-3 hockey game with a smaller rink for faster paced games and get this…you can play as team mascots. Threes is so much fun, especially when mascots are slamming other mascots into the boards or knocking them head over heels on the ice, it is almost worth buying NHL 18 for that mode alone.
Another new feature that makes NHL more genuine that any other hockey game ever developed, is the ability to use your right stick as a virtual hockey stick. You can deek better, shoot with more precision, sweep your stick while on defense and overall, just feel like you are playing an actual hockey game using stick-handling skill. It is assuredly the biggest evolution in the NHL series or the of hockey simulations.
Even though the game now includes the Vegas Golden Knights, much of the other options remain untouched but as strong as ever. There is single player career mode, Be a Pro, the Ultimate Team challenge, sort of like an RPG mode where you slowly and surely build up your fantasy dream team.
While the franchise is begging for a revival on many fronts especially when it comes to a better story for Be a Pro, NHL 18 is like the Montreal Canadiens who have been a team for 99 years and made the playoffs for 82 of those years. NHL 18 is another dependable, consistent release in the franchise.
- THE GOOD
- Fun and Addictive NHL Threes mode
- Virtual hockey stick
- Solid and reliable gameplay
- Addition of the Vegas Golden Knights, other teams
- THE BAD
- Not a major facelift
- Anemic story mode