NHL 13 will be the Sports Game of the Year.
Glenn Wigmore - Fiction: The NHL franchise these days is always a quality product, without a doubt. It brings to the table a strong suite of modes, very solid visuals, constantly improving gameplay mechanics, and incredibly addictive online options such as EASHL and Hockey Ultimate Team.
All that said, the game is not without some nagging issues. The fighting engine continues to be awful, as it really doesn't represent what fighting is in hockey or how it works. The bells and whistles in the presentation haven't seen much of an upgrade in years, and the commentary, while robust in some respects, is also getting a bit long in the tooth. Additionally, the online modes continue to be hampered (although a lot less now) by some shoddy AI and annoying exploits.
This year's revised skating engined and GM Connected feature both sound like meaningful upgrades in a lot of ways, but it's hard to stack up the steady plod of upgrades that NHL receives to the visual and gameplay might of titles such as MLB 12: The Show, NBA 2K12 and FIFA 12.
I truly enjoy the NHL series a great deal, and I always feel that the product is top-level stuff. However, to be a true GOTY, I feel the product needs to address the lingering issues, add something truly revolutionary, and get people who aren't just hockey fans talking about the product.
NHL 13 a Sports GOTY candidate? Not so fast says Kelvin and Glenn.
Kelvin Mak - Fiction: Well, mostly fiction, anyway.
Even though I seem like OS' resident cynic, there is a part of me that holds out hope that all their promised improvements will pan out (and not introduce any new glitches). If two of my biggest gripes-- CPU defenders' gap control, the inability to cycle the puck down low because of the none-too-bright AI teammate positioning-- are indeed fixed, then I'll be a lot more convinced.
But that's a hard ask, and, even if they all lived up to the billing, there are still a few things that has been neglected for a while, and need to be patched up. My list is pretty much in line with Glenn's: the fighting engine, Thorne and Clement's commentary, and the still too magnetic puck. The last one is a biggie for me: The day I see teams chipping and chopping for loose pucks in the neutral zone is the day I'll be voting for the game as GOTY.
Make no mistake, I'm not saying I won't have a great time with NHL 13, because from everything I've seen I probably will. It's just that to be the Game of The Year, a game has to thoroughly simulate the sport that it's representing, and be the best one amongst a crowded field, at that. That's the main reason I'm saying mostly fiction-- it's because there are other games out there that do the job better for their respective sports.
What about you OS'ers? Will NHL 13 be the Sports Game of the Year in 2012?