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NHL 10 Preview

NHL 10, the latest edition of EA's rejuvenated NHL series, is set to hit stores on September 15. Both NHL 08 and NHL 09 received a healthy dose of critical acclaim from gamers and reviewers alike, so, needless to say, expectations will be high for this version. So without further delay, here's a look at what's hot and what's not in NHL 10.

What's Hot?


Gameplay Refinements

EA's introduction of the skill stick in NHL 07, followed by the new skating engine implemented in '08, drastically altered the gameplay in the NHL series. In NHL 09 the gameplay changes (stick lifting, defensive skill stick, etc.) were decidedly more subtle. This year the development team has promised a couple gameplay refinements that should fall somewhere in the middle of that spectrum in terms of impact.

Precision passing, the 360-degree passing mechanic that promises to give players full control over both the direction and speed of their passes, should introduce even more realism to the series. The tape-to-tape, laser-like passes the NHL series has always been known for should now be a thing of the past. This is a welcome development, as it will go a long way towards helping the game mirror what NHL hockey looks like in real life.

However, as unrealistic as the old passing mechanic was, in many ways it was a necessary evil because firing perfect passes from player to player was the only way to maintain possession in the offensive zone, particularly on power plays. Luckily, another promised gameplay alteration for NHL 10 -- improved board play -- should offset the impact of the odd errant pass. By shielding the puck along the boards and kicking it to teammates, teams in the offensive zone should now be able to maintain possession in a manner similar to teams in the real NHL.

Improved Goalies

The goalies in NHL 09 were susceptible to a couple of exploitable goals that could make online play frustrating at times. Thankfully, EA took note of those exploits and has pledged that the goaltenders in NHL 10 will be significantly better at stopping the cheap goals, while at the same time remaining vulnerable to genuine scoring opportunities.

It remains to be seen whether or not new exploits will be discovered (they will be), but it's encouraging that the development team recognizes cheap goals as a problem worth addressing.

More Gameplay Modes

The feature set for NHL 10 appears to be decidedly robust. In addition to Be a Pro, the EASHL and the modes included last year, NHL 10 will add Be a GM mode, a multi-user season mode, playoff mode and Battle for the Cup mode.

Gamers have been clamoring for the return of season and playoff modes for awhile now, so it's nice to see those implemented, but it's Be a GM mode that might be the most interesting. Essentially a fleshed out dynasty mode, Be a GM will add little things that NHL fans should appreciate, like draft-day trades and deadline deals. In this mode players will try to work their way towards becoming a legendary GM by completing GM tasks like upgrading the roster and winning on the ice.

The mode will also assign you a reputation, which is based on your dealings with other GMs. Presumably, this will mean you'll quickly become a pariah if you're constantly trying to make lopsided trades with the CPU, which will make trading both more difficult and more realistic.

 


Our 2008 Game of the Year Returns to defend it's crown, does it have a chance of a repeat?


What's Not?


First-Person Fighting

First off, let's be clear: fighting is a part of hockey -- and an entertaining part at that. But fighting in hockey videogames has never been particularly interesting, and moving it into the first person isn't likely to change that fact.

The inclusion of a new first-person fighting engine as one of the bullet points in NHL 10 says one of two things about the game and the development team: Either the existing foundation for the game was solid enough that it afforded the team time to play around with secondary aspects of the gameplay like the fighting engine; or the team has yet to stumble upon the next revolutionary idea for the genre (similar to something as important as the skill stick), and is therefore biding its time tinkering with lesser components of the game.

Given the track record of the NHL team in recent years -- and the quality of the finished products -- we're inclined to give the developers the benefit of the doubt and say it's the former. Nevertheless, first-person fighting strikes us as little more than a novelty at this point.

Flashy Plays

EA is touting the fact that NHL 10 will feature new, flashy ways to score, including players shooting from their knees and batting the puck out of mid-air -- that, in and of itself, is a good thing. The concern is that whenever a new gameplay element like this is introduced to a series there's a tendency in the first year for the element to occur far too frequently or simply be too effective. A player scoring from his knees is a relatively rare occurrence in real life, so hopefully it won't be something that happens every other game in NHL 10.


EA released the demo for NHL 10 on Xbox Live last week, and you all have been very vocal on OS about what you think about it. PSN users should get their chance to be vocal as well when the demo hits the Playstation Store later this week.


NHL 10 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 LuGer33 @ 08/25/09 10:25 AM
Lots of good stuff here. I think worrying about flashy plays is a little unnecessary after the demo though. I've played dozens and dozens and dozens of periods in the demo, and I've only seen three stumble shots, none of which were converted, and only one "bat in" goal, with most of the attempts missing or going wide. It seems the frequency of these flashy goals is pretty solid this year, but I suppose it never hurts to be cautious.
 
# 2 onlybygrace @ 08/25/09 10:35 AM
Same here as Luger...I scored on the only stumble shot I've seen...it was awesome and just a couple bat in attempts, both by Crosby--both failed.
 
# 3 Ovie @ 08/25/09 10:37 AM
I've seen only 1 goal batted in and zero stumble shots and I've probably played well over 20 demo periods. I also find first person fighting a massive upgrade over last years fighting engine. It feels a little more realistic than the 1-2 punch knockout.
 
# 4 Ovie @ 08/25/09 10:38 AM
Double post
 
# 5 Redshirt_EA @ 08/25/09 11:00 AM
Quote:
The concern is that whenever a new gameplay element like this is introduced to a series there's a tendency in the first year for the element to occur far too frequently or simply be too effective. A player scoring from his knees is a relatively rare occurrence in real life, so hopefully it won't be something that happens every other game in NHL 10.
Scoring with a batted puck and after getting tripped to your knees are rare. They are meant to allow for spectacular plays to happen once in a blue moon, not to be an everyday occurrence. I've scored one goal with an on knees deke and never scored with a bat in (hit a post once) -- that's in hundreds of games played.
 
# 6 onlybygrace @ 08/25/09 11:41 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redshirt_EA
Scoring with a batted puck and after getting tripped to your knees are rare. They are meant to allow for spectacular plays to happen once in a blue moon, not to be an everyday occurrence. I've scored one goal with an on knees deke and never scored with a bat in (hit a post once) -- that's in hundreds of games played.
The goal I scored on my knees was quite exhilerating...

Funny thing is I forget which player I did it with.

But anyways I had a breakaway and the Detroit defensemen dove in attempt at disrupting me from scoring, tripped my player to his knees about 15 feet in front of Osgood sending me sliding past the left post... a couple dekes and outwaited Osgood, and top shelf as I approached the goal line on the left side of the net.

'Twas Sweetness.
 
# 7 StormJH1 @ 08/25/09 12:12 PM
My only complaint with the demo is that I'm a big-time Detroit Red Wings fan, and every time I lose at the demo (starting with a 2-0 deficit, mind you), I get to see Pittsburgh hoist the Cup AGAIN. Thanks EA. Haha

I liked the demo. I thought most of the change were actually pretty subtle, and the flow from one animation to the next is much smoother, as it was from NHL 08 to NHL 09.

I really think the longevity of this game might depend on the stuff we can't see in the demo...namely the new Be a GM mode.
 
# 8 Percyswan @ 08/25/09 01:17 PM
Yeah we haven't heard enough about the new GM mode imo, I think it will turn out well though based on what we have seen. This will be the first year that I am going to try to play a simulation style of hockey. I've always played the NHL games but never felt that Franchise mode or even the gameplay were realistic enough to play that style, I think NHL 10 will be a good game to start my simulation experience with based off the demo.
 
# 9 onlybygrace @ 08/25/09 02:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Percyswan
Yeah we haven't heard enough about the new GM mode imo, I think it will turn out well though based on what we have seen. This will be the first year that I am going to try to play a simulation style of hockey. I've always played the NHL games but never felt that Franchise mode or even the gameplay were realistic enough to play that style, I think NHL 10 will be a good game to start my simulation experience with based off the demo.
Welcome to the dark side...


There is no going back.
 
# 10 Percyswan @ 08/25/09 03:10 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlybygrace
Welcome to the dark side...


There is no going back.
Lol I hope not, I always get bored after about a month when I can easily outscore the AI and than I focus on playing online.
 
# 11 savoie2006 @ 08/25/09 04:27 PM
So are both these simply based off what we've heard so far or from actual hands on? Anyone can write one of these based off what we've heard so far, heck I did, but it really means nothing until the full games are played.
 
# 12 Percyswan @ 08/26/09 10:04 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxsilverhammer67
I just dont understand why so many people tout this game so highly.... I watched the video of the new broadcast cam and it does not look nearly as good or animate as well as 2k9s . Why do people continuosly buy these EA games? Madden has been lackluster at best, since last gen, they make no baseball and when they did sega was far better, the ea basketball games are always well behind 2ks, and this hockey game is so overrated its rediculous. 2ks hockey game last year was the best broadcast cam representation of any hockey game ever made period. It looks and plays like REAL hockey.Too bad that not many people ever played it because of nhl09s ea hype machine.
Are you a producer for NHL 2K10 or somehting? Why are you posting this everywhere?
 
# 13 Qb @ 08/26/09 10:52 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Percyswan
Are you a producer for NHL 2K10 or somehting? Why are you posting this everywhere?
Again, please don't indulge those attempting to stir the pot...
 
# 14 BleacherCreature @ 08/26/09 10:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxsilverhammer67
I posted it twice to be exact: once here in reply to whats hot and whats not and once in response to the broadcast video. I have no allegiance to any company. Whichever one makes the game look and PLAY the most like the sport is the game I buy. All I am saying is that 2ks game last year looked and played much more like actual hockey then ea's and yet it received poor reviews and everyone bought ea's game.
Ummmm ok.
 
# 15 Eski33 @ 08/27/09 04:10 PM
Will the Hartford Whalers uniforms be represented in the game? Specifically the green jerseys?

I have had one stumble shot. It was awesome however I wasn't able to get good wood on it. The animations are outstanding....
 
# 16 Mad 69 @ 08/27/09 06:20 PM
I'm just hoping for an improved franchise mode, it has been stale and boring since its existence, last year they focused on the online hopefully this year we can expect an improved Career mode.
 
# 17 OddyOh @ 08/27/09 09:42 PM
Is there any hope of online co-op in this game? I mean two or more players on the same time VS the CPU...I'll take it in any game mode...Exhibition, Playoff, Battle for the Cup, whatever. Just tell me it's in there?!
 
# 18 kai123 @ 08/27/09 09:54 PM
There 6 on 6 team play. Any 1 on 1 versus. There is online leagues thst allow 6 on 6 team play.

For real co-op, NHL 2k10 has coop franchise and all other modes.
 
# 19 OddyOh @ 08/28/09 08:22 AM
Ok thanks, I thought that might be the case. Maybe someday.
 

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