NHL 17 is a trademark ice hockey game by EA Sports, being the 26th game in the series. It is the first NHL game to actually be published exclusively for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, and not their predecessors PS 3 and Xbox 360. With NHL 16 repairing the damage done in the NHL 15 debacle and reinstating the dominance, there was finally space to put the effort into upgrading the solid foundations into a modern and even more appealing game through smart customization.
NHL 17 Gameplay
After the last year’s improvements all around the NHL, series were back on track and with an enjoyable gameplay, better control over different aspects such as the skating, passing, goalkeeping as well as the return to more varied game modes.
There are now better game difficulty differences in NHL 17, regained through the re-introduction of the Semi-pro difficulty, which will make improving your skills and game level easier. The On-ice Trainer was one of the most praised features of the NHL 16, and with NHL 17 we can see further improvements to one of the best in-game tutorials we’ve seen. These include directions from coaches and more on-ice visuals on where you should position, projection lines for different passes and more. It will thus help develop a sense of basics as well as the strategy and specific class features.
The timing of your moves and decisions is crucial and it now becomes more obvious with the high difficulty levels as you will have less time to make decisions when it comes to both offense and defense. Team play is a massively important factor as you will need to pass and move accordingly to lose markers.
The goalkeepers have seen some massive improvements too, acting more authentically and making the saves more naturally with AI decisions on glove saves and shouldering finally addressed. The goalkeeper positioning to cut down the angles and improved saves will provide a more enjoyable and believable gameplay when it comes to both attacking and defending your own goal.
The Graphics and Commentary
The NHL 16 graphics felt so good you’d sometimes not see the difference between the live footages and the gameplay, with an amazing set of real videos and in-game cut scenes providing a great feeling and conveying the overall feeling of arenas. There are no radical changes to the new release in the series, and the experience is still all about the visuals and the hype of a hockey stadium. With no major noticeable changes, there are definitely further developed details in physics and authenticity providing a more real sense of the on-ice experience.
Further attention was dedicated to the crowds and the excitement after scoring a goal definitely made us jump a couple of times celebrating. The presentation and graphics still definitely seem up to date and feel generally modern. The NHL 15 has been developed in high fashion when it comes to graphics and presentation and there is not much you can take into it just yet. As said, the goalkeepers have been given special attention and they now move and react more authentically. Also, they now have a more distinct stand, with many keepers’ stances specifically developed according to authentic footages.
The only thing we could object was the commentary, which also received quite some criticism last year around. While we do find it enticing and generally very authentic, it seems somewhat repetitive and lacking variety as there were no major works done there for NHL 17 it seems.
We could say that NHL 16 was all about reintroducing the game modes which were very much missed in the NHL 15 game. With the replicated graphics, the NHL 16 was published with standard Hockey Ultimate Team, returning the EA Sports Hockey League, as well as upgraded Be a Pro mode and Be a GM modes.
The NHL 17 now includes the again improved HUT and EASHL game modes, a refurbished Be a GM mode named the Franchise Mode which now includes the team owners and a whole lot of extended features and two completely new game modes which will bring new heights to your gameplay.
Firstly, World Cup of Hockey brings the international competition to our game consoles with name representation and a very detailed presentation which will bring the excitement of the competition to the fans worldwide. All eight teams are available with authentic jerseys but the rosters are fixed and cannot be changed, most probably for the licensing issues for some players. You can use the teams both in Play now and the tournament modes, granting a personalized experienced with a complete schedule of the World Cup 2016, different presentation songs and more.
On the other hand, Draft Champions is another new mode allowing you to build a team of your own, drafting players from different player pools in an attempt to win four consecutive games. This fantasy-themed game mode proves to be competitive, thrilling and very fun in both offline and online campaigns. While it was already introduced to Madden and FIFA 16 in a somewhat different manner and under a different name, for us the mode proved even more fun for the NHL series.
NHL 17 has not made any major improvements on the graphic or sounds from the NHL 15 & 16 but we just found the game modern and sharp-looking. It seems that EA Sports have hit a jackpot in turning towards the new game modes in the NHL 17, as it opens up great ways to have fun for both the veteran players while being very appealing to the new players as well with the slick gameplay, tutorials, and improved difficulty settings.
The NHL series has definitely made up ground for the losses when developing the NHL 15 graphics and the massively detailed approach pays off through both NHL 16 and NHL 17 success through enriching the gameplay options and the difficulty settings topped with one of the best in-game tutorials out there.
NHL 17 Competitions
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