Monday, September 18, 2017
"NHL 18" Review
Hockey has always been one of the sports that translated best to video games. Dating from the crude early NES sims to the 1990s, when EA started dominating dorm rooms with its annual releases, the digital version of the sport has served as a gateway drug to the genuine article.
"NHL 18" marks an attempt to snap out of a stagnation, and shows marked advancement in encouraging directions. The key is that developers didn't insist on taking the gameplay in one definitive direction, but rather adapted it to the varied needs of both lapsed video game hockey fans and annual re-uppers.
You can tweak countless options, ranging from standard difficulty levels to rule sets. Want to let it fly with no offsides, over-the-top checks into the boards and slap shots that careen into the goal from center ice by players who never tire? There's a preset mode for you. Prefer a gritty, grimy brand of ultra-realistic hockey with strategic line changes, clock management and special teams lineups? "NHL 18" has got you covered as well.
Everything including the controls layout is adaptable. My favorite way to play continues to be "NHL 94" mode, which simplifies controls to equate to those of the franchise's Super Nintendo glory days. Savvier players will probably gravitate toward the modern control setup, which utlizes the analog stick as an extension of the hockey stick. The beauty of the diverse control layouts is how they allow players of different backgrounds and skill sets to compete on balanced middle grounds.
Although be-a-player, card-stacking fantasy team and franchise modes continue to develop, the calling card continues to be the MMO-like online multiplayer, which allows you to form pickup games with A.I. relegated to the sidelines. This rooftop-style hockey continues to capture the glee of the sport, and makes "NHL 18" an essential pickup for serious sports gamers.
Publisher provided review code.