Since NHL08 we have been expecting a lot from EA. Every year they have worked their hardest to add more and more to there games to give you the best hockey experience ever. I believe they have once again created a game that will be a contender for best sports game of the year. This year one of the main objectives was the ability to do things that can actually be done in real hockey. Such as playing the puck while on your back, much like Ovechkin, or the ability to control the play with out a stick. This is turning out to be the most realistic hockey game yet.
And what is it you ask that they added to this years iteration? Let’s start off with the first major update which is the real time physics added to the major impacts of the game. What this new system does is make it so every hit is going to be different. Picture this, your Big A$$ Dougie “Crankshaft” Murray from the Sharks squaring off against the evil Ducks Getzlaf. Murray has Getzlaf in his sights and wants to take him out. In the previous NHL games you would still want to take him out you just expect a canned animation. There was a sense small sense of satisfaction, but with the new NHL11 physics you will get a much more realistic and satisfying hit. And because no hit will be the same you can try and line up this hit hundreds of times and get a different collision sequence. Also added to the game are glancing hits which will make it that much more realistic when you are trying to push your way through a group of defenders. One of the added benefits of a much improved physics engine for body contact is the way in which it makes defensive play more satisfying and more realistic.
The next major addition to the game this year is the improved face off system. I know I was kind of bothered with the simplicity of the old system. Where it was just a matter of who hit the right button that the right moment. Which has been part of hockey games since the NES. In my opinion it’s about damn time it got improved. The NHL team went above and beyond what I had expected. You now have a couple of choices on how you approach the face off. You can tie up the opposing player, push through him and take the puck with you, and shoot the puck. And much like in real hockey some moves work better against other moves. So choose wisely. And for all you old fashioned people out there you can still just pull the stick back and try to win that way.
The last major update is the addition broken sticks. This feature just adds to the realism of the game. It happens in every game – a defense men lines up for an amazing slap-shot, that would most definitely go in, and the stick breaks. Well, know it will happen to you. Though it won’t be a common occurrence in the game, it will happen. Once a stick is broken the player will drop it to the ice will be able to skate around without a stick. He will be able to kick the puck around and push other players as to not be useless. If you feel the need to get the stick back other players on the ice may lend them to you if you skate up to them or if you skate to the bench you can get a new one. If you happen to borrow a stick and if you pay close attention, you can see your player actually using the other player’s stick. Once there is a broken stick on the ice it can and will affect the puck in play so watch your passing.
Lastly a minor addition is the improved deke system. They have improved many of the animations and added a few more that will definitely be impressive.