NHL 10 Preview


NHL 09 was the winner of 12 Sports Game of the Year Awards last year, and NHL 10 is going to have to come out and prove it can be an even better game than its predecessor.  So how do you improve an already impressive game?  Add some new features!

The first feature that EA added to NHL 10 is a boardplay feature.  With this new boardplay feature, you can now protect the puck from your opponents when you’re on the board.  This allows you to wait for teammates to get into a position to help you out. You can then kick the puck out to them instead of always getting checked into the boards and losing the puck, which was a little annoying in the previous game.

New after the whistle action has also been added, which will allow players to affect momentum even after the whistle is blown.  With a slight grace period after the whistle blows to stop time, you’re able to take action against your opponent, making them angry and changing the way they play against you.  For example, if you take a shot at the goalie after the whistle blows, the goalie’s teammates will get angry and come after you.  These little actions can get into your opponent’s head and affect their gameplay for the rest of the game.

First person fighting is probably one of my favorite new features in this game.  The new fighting engine will allow you to experience a hockey fight from the first person view, thereby immersing you further into the game.  Also, fighting at correct times will affect player stamina and overall momentum of the game.

New audience interaction.  I think it’s really awesome that they took the time to adjust the audience in a sports game.  Too many times have I been bored watching the same old terrible audience animations.  Also, seeing all these awesome looking hockey players and then seeing the terrible looking fans makes it seem like you’re not even playing the same game as far as graphics is concerned.  Well that’s all about to change.  NHL 10 has implemented a new crowd feature which changes the dynamic of how the audience acts.  There are glass bangers, towel wavers, people who boo, people who cheer, and even women in the crowd!  I think all these improvements will really help the overall feel of the game and keep gamers, as EA likes to put it, “in the game”.

Finally, they are boasting over 200 gameplay refinements, many of which have come straight from the gaming community.  It’s always great to hear that the developers listen to their community and implement features that the fans want.  A couple of examples are defenders being able to bat the puck out of the air on rebounds, being able to jump up and catch a high puck and put it down at their stick, more realistic goalie play, being able to fake a shot, and even players being able to fall to their knees and still be able to handle the puck and score!

As a long time fan of the NHL series, I absolutely can’t wait for this game to come out.  With the already impressive NHL 09 as a template for NHL 10, in addition to all of these new features, NHL 10 looks to be the best hockey game in existence come September.  So with all these new features, only one question remains – will you prove you’re tough enough to win the Cup?

Check out the official site.

(NHL 10 will be available September 15th on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360)

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