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NHL 20 Adds Authentic Signature Shots, Revamped Broadcast Package, New Game Mode & More - Cover Athlete is Auston Matthews

NHL 20

NHL 20 Adds Authentic Signature Shots, Revamped Broadcast Package, New Game Mode & More - Cover Athlete is Auston Matthews

EA has revealed the first look at NHL 20, to hockey fans during the 2019 NHL Awards, presented by Bridgestone in Las Vegas. Three-time All-Star and former first overall pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Auston Matthews, was announced as the NHL 20 cover athlete, while taking the stage at this evening’s NHL Awards.

“Growing up I always admired all the players who got to be on the cover of the game. This is a very cool honor and I am proud to represent my organization,” said Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “I’m also really competitive, so now I can’t wait to fire up NHL 20 in the locker room and play against my teammates.”

NHL 20 has added authentic signature shots, a revamped broadcast package and a new eliminator game mode, alongside major Real Player Motion technology innovations.

The cutting-edge Real Player Motion (RPM) Tech continues to evolve the way that gamers showcase their mastery. This year’s gameplay introduces Signature Shots that replicate the most recognizable shot styles of the biggest NHL stars, including PK Subban’s booming slapshot wind-up, Auston Matthews’ half toe-drag wrist shot, and Alex Ovechkin’s seamless one-timer. Hundreds of new shot animations allow for more dangerous attacks, and RPM Tech-powered overhauls to passing and puck pick-ups create a faster and more fluid game that can be executed at full speed to replicate real NHL action. New goaltender A.I. includes a full offensive threat analysis, allowing netminders to read and react to the development and threat level of each zone entry.

NHL 20 also introduces an all-new competitive way to play ONES and THREES called Eliminator, creating a winner-take-all competition inspired by battle royale. ONES Eliminator pits 81 players against each other in a survival tournament bracket en route to crowning the ultimate winner. Players can also squad up with friends in THREES Eliminator in an attempt to win back-to-back rounds against increasingly competitive opponents.

Continuing to deliver a fresh feel to the franchise, a revamped broadcast package delivers new play-by-play and color commentary to NHL 20, paired with overhauled scoreboards, overlays and motion graphics, all built to put players in the center of the game’s biggest moments. New to NHL 20, Play Of The Game brings memorable plays to life through highlights designed to put top moments on a pedestal for both your teammates and opponents.

Fan-favorite game modes Hockey Ultimate Team and NHL ONES return with exciting new options and updates, including the ability to play ONES via local multiplayer with class-based NHL stars, creating the opportunity to challenge friends to a 1v1v1 battle at any moment. Hockey Ultimate Team introduces a new way to play in Squad Battles, the highly acclaimed mode from EA SPORTS FIFA that allows players to compete and earn big rewards in offline battles. New opponents are refreshed every day, including weekly Featured Squads assembled by NHL players, hot musical artists, hockey influencers, and superstar athletes from other major sports. Squad Battles introduces a brand new way to take on the best teams assembled by the biggest names in sports and entertainment. Hockey Ultimate Team also welcomes a new roster of playable hockey Icons, bringing the total number of collectible and playable Icons to over 400.

After its introduction last year, the World of CHEL continues to evolve with CHEL Challenges, weekly in-game events across all of fan favorite modes that unlock unique customization rewards, character XP and more are introduced in NHL 20. World of CHEL now offers over 2,000 unique customization items to craft your look and your playstyle – from gear and equipment, to lifestyle apparel from hockey’s biggest brands. Additionally, four new outdoor locations bring the game to never-before-seen ponds in the remote wilderness and city landmarks inspired by iconic locations.

NHL 20 is available on September 13, 2019 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Be among the first to experience the new modes and innovations, unlocking the full game three days early on September 10, 2019 when you pre-order* the NHL 20 Deluxe Edition or NHL 20 Ultimate Edition. EA Access** members can experience the game first during the Play First Trial starting on September 5, 2019 and receive a 10% discount when purchasing the full game. For more information on EA SPORTS NHL, visit the website at www.easports.com/NHL.

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  1. Thanks Steve.
    Sorry EA I'm not going to make the same mistake again. I was very disappointed with NHL 19 and stopped playing it after a month. I just couldn't get into the game. My expectations are low. No pre-order for me this time around. Don't want to be disappointed again. I'll wait for the reviews and the community before I decide on a purchase.
    Sounds like a whole bunch of stuff added that I don't give a crap about. I guess if you really like the NHL, it just sucks to be the offline franchise player, because there isn't a game for you.
    You know, you hear some promising things,like a bigger development team, revamped commentary, and you think things are going to get better, but then you read things like Drake, and Chance the Rapper joining commentary. Buzzwords and clear marketing terms, HUT and CHEL stuff and to me, it becomes clear that the extra dev help went into the money making and online modes, rather than gameplay and franchise.
    Sorry EA... no pre-order here. I'll patiently wait for the EA Access trial, burn my 10 hours and likely be over it until hockey season gets in full swing or I get tired of F1 2019 (good luck on that happening quickly) and I'll pick it up when it's on sale real cheap. They've just really killed my desire to play this game.
    One that that could lure me in earlier is roster sharing, but doesnt' seem like that's on the radar again.
    Sorry, don't mean to be negative, but I didnt play much of NHL19, and with the key features of 20 being "signature shot animations", World of CHEL, 3's, and HUT stuff along with commentary featuring guest spots from Drake and Chance the Rapper... I'm not even close to inspired at this point to purchase.
    Id think they're maybe just out of touch with their fan base, but I think they're just out of touch with most of us here in a community like this. They're catering to the younger generation, the arcade style, and the casuals. I dont consider myself a hardcore sim guy when it comes to video game hockey like some of you, but I'm more to that side of the spectrum than arcade, but nothing here sells me on this day one. Not when I know I have a 10 hour trial to burn before spending any real cash on it.
    I am very happy as pig and poo, better broad cast package, 45 different shot animations, this old broad cast package in NHL 19 was growing stale, am all aboard for this excitin' stuff, bring me the beer cooler, improved goalie AI that's switch, this is right direction, I hope be a pro is back too and new and improved :D.
    I.. wanna do Alex Ovechkins shot man, the big boomer to top cheese, I also cannot wait to see awesomeness of wrist shots, begs question will this year be the Actual Sim or more Arcade-Sim, if its one the other, NHL 20 will blow are minds away, I'll make team full of alex ovechkins shot and Sidney Crosby's wrist shot.
    :grin: :D
    the NHL 20 is quite operational - meme of SuperGoalies of Emperor Palpatine
    Literally nothing excites me about what they listed.
    45 new shot animations - I honestly don't care. There is so much else the game needs besides new shot animations.
    81 Player Battle Royal Ones - Honestly WTF! They wasted development time on this? This isn't friggin Fortnite, or Call of Duty. This is like when Ace Combat tried to become Call of Duty in the air. Remember how that worked out?
    Goalie BUZZWORD TECH - I'm guessing they had to improve the goalies because they added 45 whole new animations. Wooooooooh! That would be exciting if ZONE ENTRIES worked like the NHL, and the AI on offense and defense wasn't exactly the same as it's been for practically a decade besides incredibly small adjustments.
    MOST POPULAR MODES CHEL AND HUT - Yeah, because it's not fun to play Be a Pro and Franchise in SINGLE PLAYER IN 2019! Holy crap! May be HUT and CHEL wouldn't be the most popular if those other modes were online and you didn't put next to NO investment in them year in and year out. They almost only get changed by mistake and due to changing other modes.
    More HUT investment - Woo! You had to make MORE cards! I'm sure the 2 guys in the card design department are swamped. Wow. So much investment. Thanks for caring about the average player!
    More CHEL customization - Oh the other thing that would just make the game so much better, new scarves, and the ability to wear bunny ears. You've truly completed the game EA.
    I'm so upset right now. The effort behind NHL 20 is absolutely embarrassing. This isn't worth $20 bucks as an upgrade to 19.
    Worst thing they could of done was going the Fortnite battle royal with the new game mode. I have seen requests from the community on multi-sites and the only thing that comes close is new commentary. I am sorry but the people who make this game are nowhere in touch with their fan base. It's sad.
    I didn't play NHL 19 much.. but as I said in the other thread.. I'm a bit excited for these additions.
    Speed and Shooting Fueled by RPM Tech
    NHL® 20 introduces the next major innovation in RPM Tech-powered gameplay with Superstar Signature Shots. Your favorite NHL stars now look and feel truly authentic with the trademark shooting-styles you recognize from the real world. Additionally, over 45 new contextual shot animations make shooting more lifelike as players use new tools to get the puck on net.
    RPM Tech also ignites more speed to gameplay through revamped animation blending that allows players to execute shots, passes, and puck pickups without slowing a skater’s pace; creating faster, more skilled and more fluid plays up and down the ice.
    Finally, new goaltender A.I. includes full offensive threat analysis, allowing goalies to read the positioning and threat level of every attack before actively controlling rebounds and redirecting pucks away from danger.

    A New Generation of Hockey Broadcasting
    A revamped broadcast package delivers fresh new play-by-play and color commentary to NHL 20, paired with overhauled scoreboards, overlays and motion graphics; all built to put you at the center of the game’s biggest moments. See your most memorable plays come to life in new Play Of The Game highlights designed to put your best skills on a pedestal for your teammates and your opponents.

    The Coaching Carousel Comes To NHL
    NHL general managers have legendarily itchy trigger fingers when it comes to canning coaches. Hell, after a slow start this year the Blues fired Mike Yeo and went on to win the Stanley Cup, so who can argue with the results? This dynamic comes to franchise mode for the first time with the introduction of coach carousels. As a GM, you control the fate of eight different coaches in your organization – four in the NHL and four in the AHL. Sadly, none of them are licensed, so don’t expect to see red-faced Bruce Boudreau screaming at players or the Q Stache patrolling the Panthers bench. Instead, EA created 300 different fictitious coaches, all with unique attributes, specialties, and schemes. The coaches affect the morale and performance of your players, and you can have conversations with them over the course of the season to promise or deny them that coveted upgrade they seek for the roster. Like with the scouting system last year (which returns), former players can transition into coaching over time.

    A New Line Chemistry System
    After years of experimenting with line chemistry in the early aughts, a while back EA pulled the feature altogether. This year it returns with the inclusion of coaches. In NHL 20, every line is rated on how well it fits your coach’s scheme. Have too many poor fits? Perhaps it’s time to exercise that trigger finger and fire the coach rather than make a flurry of trades.

    NHL 20 Finally Adds A Trade Finder!
    If you do decide to trade some players with low chemistry, you’ve got an exciting new tool in NHL 20 that we’ve been requesting for years. Taking another page out of NBA 2K (do you sense the trend here? It’s a good one), NHL 20 features a trade finder. Instead of fighting repeatedly with finicky general managers, now you can put players on the trade block and immediately see a selection of counterproposals. You can accept, decline, or modify these trades right from the menu, which should help lower the friction to midseason roster improvement.
    MizzouRah
    I didn't play NHL 19 much.. but as I said in the other thread.. I'm a bit excited for these additions.

    I'm just frustrated, because for the most part none of that means very much.
    * New shot animations isn't going to impress me in 2019. Unless they make players truly unique by feel, then it is just eye candy that's not going to make a true difference by the 20th game you've played.
    * Broadcasting is always a welcome change, but it will be stale next year, and we'll be repeating the same lines 20 games in again.
    * Coaching carousel is a nice touch to depth of Franchise mode, but I'm not going to get excited until we see it in action, especially with no licensed coaches. It needs to be a toggle-able feature in case it's a disaster and ruins Franchise mode.
    * New Line Chemistry - 2005 called, and it wants it's features back. Come on, how many times can they reintroduce this. It's not a new feature, it's just one they're adding back after a stupidly long absence for no real reason. I mean seriously, did they just find the code in the game and switch it back on? I'm not going to praise them for this.
    * Trade finder - Again a nice feature, but only if it works.
    There are far too many major areas that everyone wanted addressed that aren't even mentioned here. Things like Board Play, GM Connected, Player Differential, FrostBite, the Simulation Engine, etc. are requests that have been incredible popular requests that haven't been addressed in years now.
    It just pisses me off that they can announce how popular HUT and CHEL are compared to other modes. I mean, I'd drive a working car over one with 2 flat tires and a dead battery, but that doesn't mean the working car is a marvel of engineering.
    I just feel like the bar is pathetically low, and this is the crap that come at us with after adding people to the team to "bring it up to speed." If this is up to speed, I'm out.
    I don’t think there’s any hope left unless 2K or someone gets in the mix and creates some competition.
    This is exactly as one would expect with a company being unchallenged year after year.
    I’ve seen dairy cows get milked less than the NHL series is doing to its fan base.
    All fluff again, no A.I. update, no frostbite, no my player, prob no roster sharing, no changes to eashl
    Instead we get cheesy *** eliminator mode and some other bull****
    “So we've developed our own broadcast package where we have a lot more creative latitude. We're able to speak to new audiences and tailor this presentation to this new generation of YouTubers, streamers, and influencers who want something that is punchier, something that really speaks to their audiences.”
    Anybody excited about this? Lol
    I'm seriously depressed.
    I picked up NHL 19 during Sony's E3 sale, and even at ten bucks, I think I got overcharged.
     NHL 20 is not just a hard pass:  it is "I break with thee, and I am done with this series, until Rammer is ousted."
    DJ NEO
    “So we've developed our own broadcast package where we have a lot more creative latitude. We're able to speak to new audiences and tailor this presentation to this new generation of YouTubers, streamers, and influencers who want something that is punchier, something that really speaks to their audiences.”
    Anybody excited about this? Lol
    I'm seriously depressed.

    Probably means meme commentary like NHL 2003. NHL about to be muted for the 5th year in a row
    I’m passing hard on this!!
    I will continue to play The GolfClub 2109.
    What a friggin joke.
    So sad to see this once great franchise just get buried.
    Hell, I would rather play NES ICE HOCKEY over what they plan to release.
    RIP NHL 20
    Drake.....
    PATHETIC!!
    Drake and Chance The Rapper for guest commentators in some games.......HAHAHAHA!!! That's EA's answer for making commentary fresh and much more immersive? Maybe for NBA Live,MAYBE, but,for the NHL series? I miss Gary Thorne and Bill Clement
    EA Sports - It's NOT In The Game
    New cameras - FAIL
    Sim features - FAIL
    AI improvement - FAIL
    New commentary - lipstick on a pig
    Buh hey - Drake will make it all right!
    iaxy
    EA Sports - It's NOT In The Game
    New cameras - FAIL
    Sim features - FAIL
    AI improvement - FAIL
    New commentary - lipstick on a pig
    Buh hey - Drake will make it all right!

    31-32 team franchise control - FAIL
    Even remotely touching the brutal AI - FAIL
    Adding in actual PP strategies - FAIL
    adding a PP "edit lines" screen that makes sense - FAIL
    Not doubling-down on garbage pond hockey outfits - FAIL
    Not doubling-down on brutal 1s mode - FAIL
    listening to their hockey fans rather than 11 year-old basketball players who like "chel" - FAIL
    Being in-touch with the community - FAIL
    Providing a ray of hope that this series isn't a lost cause - FAIL
    Instead of releasing Battle Royal Mode, let's remove it and EA can have a Battle Royal in the office.
    Whoever pushed this in a Hockey game gets a pink slip. Whoever didn't wins!
    Here’s what I can all
    But guarantee we don’t get.
    A fix in A.I.: the A.I. will still wander, make poor line changes, and abandon the man in the slot for the easy money one timer.
    A fix to the clipping issues: pucks will still pass through pads and sticks through the boards and legs.
    Player Separation: sure we will be able to tell the difference between Matthews shot as opposed to a 4th line scrub but that will be about the only difference.
    Roster Share: no reason it shouldn’t have been in the past releases....no reason to believe it will be in this one.
    Commentary: about time we get a change here but I”m sure that during my season if I’m on a 10 game win streak the announcers will discuss how poorly my goalie has been playing....lazy. Not even going to mention the idiocy of having rappers announce.
    The above things have been asked for over and over and over. They go ignored and unfixed for years. We get gimmicks and a poorly done roster update wrapped in a new box.
    I guess that NBC deal is finally up eh? Time to inject random rappers on the commentary team in a hockey game, because that's totally what anyone asked for. A total move away from realism!
    I'm actually interested in this game for the first time in years.  Going to give it a shot when EA Access comes to PS4.
    Going to be the last good NHL game until 2021 too because every sports game in existence is going to be copy/paste for 2020 so they can focus on the next gen of consoles and bringing their game to them at launch in November.
    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if a skeleton team worked on this years game too and most of the dev team was pushed to the next gen version.
    BA2929
    I'm actually interested in this game for the first time in years.* Going to give it a shot when EA Access comes to PS4.
    Going to be the last good NHL game until 2021 too because every sports game in existence is going to be copy/paste for 2020 so they can focus on the next gen of consoles and bringing their game to them at launch in November.
    I honestly wouldn't be surprised if a skeleton team worked on this years game too and most of the dev team was pushed to the next gen version.

    When this Gen console was released, there was no NHL for the first year if I recall correctly. I would not be surprised if NHL 22 is the release for next Gen.
    @BA2929
    I SERIOUSLY hope that I'm mis-reading your sarcasm.
    When NHL moved from PS3 to PS4, they hung back a year, and said they were doing it so that NHL 15 could be its best on the new generation.  I distinctly remember this, because I hadn't upgraded to PS4 at the time, so I was okay with NHL 14 being only on PS3.
    Then NHL 15 finally arrived on PS4, and it was...definitely not the product of a two year dev cycle, to put it charitably.  EA would eventually go the gaslighting route, and deny they ever gave that excuse for not having NHL 14 ready at the PS4 launch.  The fact remains that NHL 15 was a giant step backwards, and five years later, we are still waiting for the return of features, functions, and even ENTIRE MODES (GM Connected, e.g.) that have been removed.
    Take the commentary as a glaring example.  Gary Thorne and Bill Clement were a bit of a throwback, but there was a huge database that they had to build on year to year.  The community was saying they wanted new commentators, but a couple voices of sanity were saying that you can't blame the talent for a lackluster script; ergo, new voice talent would mean starting all over with the commentary database, which would make it MORE repetitive, not less.  They were right.
    Well, now EA is hyping improved commentary, and wow, plus ça change, n'est pas?
    What seems to have gotten lost in Vancouver, is that this is an **NHL** game.  And if fans of the real-life NHL don't like it, while the devs keep on ignoring them, and continue catering instead to the shiny-object set, This Will Not End Well.
    LoadStar81
    @BA2929
    I SERIOUSLY hope that I'm mis-reading your sarcasm.
    When NHL moved from PS3 to PS4, they hung back a year, and said they were doing it so that NHL 15 could be its best on the new generation.* I distinctly remember this, because I hadn't upgraded to PS4 at the time, so I was okay with NHL 14 being only on PS3.
    Then NHL 15 finally arrived on PS4, and it was...definitely not the product of a two year dev cycle, to put it charitably.* EA would eventually go the gaslighting route, and deny they ever gave that excuse for not having NHL 14 ready at the PS4 launch.* The fact remains that NHL 15 was a giant step backwards, and five years later, we are still waiting for the return of features, functions, and even ENTIRE MODES (GM Connected, e.g.) that have been removed.
    Take the commentary as a glaring example.* Gary Thorne and Bill Clement were a bit of a throwback, but there was a huge database that they had to build on year to year.* The community was saying they wanted new commentators, but a couple voices of sanity were saying that you can't blame the talent for a lackluster script; ergo, new voice talent would mean starting all over with the commentary database, which would make it MORE repetitive, not less.* They were right.
    Well, now EA is hyping improved commentary, and wow, plus ça change, n'est pas?
    What seems to have gotten lost in Vancouver, is that this is an **NHL** game.* And if fans of the real-life NHL don't like it, while the devs keep on ignoring them, and continue catering instead to the shiny-object set, This Will Not End Well.

    It's absolutely marketing bs. I'd be willing the bet the actual reason for the presentation "revamp" or rather from the sounds of it, regression, is their license with NBC Sports is up and rather than renew it, we get this. Does anyone truly believe they'll add commentary over the year just because the guys they use are more local? I don't, in fact they made that claim last year, how much new commentary from Ray Ferraro was added over the course of last year's cycle? None? Exactly.
    Too much focus again on online crap and no attention to the offline game, taking a very wait and see approach this year, and I enjoyed 19 with the right sliders.
    Did you all not hear about that interview from that well-known former Madden producer? He's talking about how the execs don't care about the hardcore style players' wishes for better gameplay. They care about creating new modes/gimmicks that bring in new casual style players. He also mentioned he wanted to use resources to fix legacy issues that's been plagueing the game for years, but they denied his request. Also, he confirmed that ultimate team is their biggest focus. Doesn't take a genius to figure that out though. My point is that if they wouldn't allow the Madden team to fix gameplay issues, what makes u think EA would allow little ol NHL team to fix theirs. Maybe it's just too hard for people to believe that a company really don't care about their core customers. If there's one thing that's "In the game" is the proof that they do not care about their core gameplay. They're in it to make money and they feel fixing old issues is not going to make them money. Stupid idea to me. One thing is certain that most of the people here year after year claiming that they won't buy it this year always end up purchasing their crap. Then 3 weeks later complaining about what they didn't fix and what they added was trash. So until y'all really stop buying the trash, they're going to keep putting it out every year. So as I've been doing the last few years, I'll rent it, and based on that experience, I'll buy it. Haven't bought it the last few years.
    sweetjones
    Did you all not hear about that interview from that well-known former Madden producer? He's talking about how the execs don't care about the hardcore style players' wishes for better gameplay. They care about creating new modes/gimmicks that bring in new casual style players. He also mentioned he wanted to use resources to fix legacy issues that's been plagueing the game for years, but they denied his request. Also, he confirmed that ultimate team is their biggest focus. Doesn't take a genius to figure that out though. My point is that if they wouldn't allow the Madden team to fix gameplay issues, what makes u think EA would allow little ol NHL team to fix theirs. Maybe it's just too hard for people to believe that a company really don't care about their core customers. If there's one thing that's "In the game" is the proof that they do not care about their core gameplay. They're in it to make money and they feel fixing old issues is not going to make them money. Stupid idea to me. One thing is certain that most of the people here year after year claiming that they won't buy it this year always end up purchasing their crap. Then 3 weeks later complaining about what they didn't fix and what they added was trash. So until y'all really stop buying the trash, they're going to keep putting it out every year. So as I've been doing the last few years, I'll rent it, and based on that experience, I'll buy it. Haven't bought it the last few years.

    A lot of people like the game. I loved NHL 19 and have NHL 20 pre-ordered, because World of Chel is just flipping fun. Madden is fun, too.
    I'm 51, been playing sports games since the 70's. Ran online leagues, played text sims and and franchise modes. But I also liked games like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz. The most popular hockey games were fast and violent.
    Then sim gamers came in to tell everyone that those games were just for kids, and instead of getting more people into sim sports gaming, we just have fewer sports games today. I appreciate EA trying to make sports games fun again, and that they are bringing new fans to the sport.
    Sim gaming will benefit long term if sim gamers embrace the arcade aspects of sports games. Some will stick with arcade games, but others will join you in the sim sports community.
    JayhawkerStL
    A lot of people like the game. I loved NHL 19 and have NHL 20 pre-ordered, because World of Chel is just flipping fun. Madden is fun, too.
    I'm 51, been playing sports games since the 70's. Ran online leagues, played text sims and and franchise modes. But I also liked games like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz. The most popular hockey games were fast and violent.
    Then sim gamers came in to tell everyone that those games were just for kids, and instead of getting more people into sim sports gaming, we just have fewer sports games today. I appreciate EA trying to make sports games fun again, and that they are bringing new fans to the sport.
    Sim gaming will benefit long term if sim gamers embrace the arcade aspects of sports games. Some will stick with arcade games, but others will join you in the sim sports community.

    No offense but this makes no sense. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you loving the game or CHEL but to suggest that hardcore hockey fans just accept arcade style and live with it is a bit crazy. Honestly they have the NHL license.....why can’t they create a great NHL sim version of the actual sport and still have CHEL for those that prefer an arcade style fun game? What they have done to the game of hockey is as embarrassing and disappointing as what Bettman has done to the NHL.
    jake19ny
    No offense but this makes no sense. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you loving the game or CHEL but to suggest that hardcore hockey fans just accept arcade style and live with it is a bit crazy. Honestly they have the NHL license.....why can’t they create a great NHL sim version of the actual sport and still have CHEL for those that prefer an arcade style fun game? What they have done to the game of hockey is as embarrassing and disappointing as what Bettman has done to the NHL.

    Sports games do not sell well enough for anyone with skin in the game to commit anything to the smallest niche in video games. They need to grow the genre again in order to ease casuals into a better game. But you need something fun and fast to bring them in.
    I don't think people realize just how small the sim sports niche is. You see calls for roster editing and sharing, and point to the great feature in The Show. Of the one million plus games sold, there are about 50K downloads of custom rosters. The other 950,000 guys just roll with default rosters. And baseball is the most hardcore sim friendly sport on earth. I have to believe that the roster sharing in NHL would be dwarfed by that.
    And that's why EA;s strategy feels like. They want guys to buy the game because it is cool and bigger than life. You don't have to love hockey to love the game, which is what made video game hockey popular in the first place. But those casuals turned into hockey fans. they learned the players, the teams. They started watching and learning and wanting something more real.
    Seriously, neither EA nor the NHL cares if hardcore hockey fans have a game. EA can sell more games easier without them. The NHL is trying to expand its audience, not cater to the the dedicated. May not be fair, but, that's just how the world works.
    JayhawkerStL
    Sports games do not sell well enough for anyone with skin in the game to commit anything to the smallest niche in video games. They need to grow the genre again in order to ease casuals into a better game. But you need something fun and fast to bring them in.
    I don't think people realize just how small the sim sports niche is. You see calls for roster editing and sharing, and point to the great feature in The Show. Of the one million plus games sold, there are about 50K downloads of custom rosters. The other 950,000 guys just roll with default rosters. And baseball is the most hardcore sim friendly sport on earth. I have to believe that the roster sharing in NHL would be dwarfed by that.
    And that's why EA;s strategy feels like. They want guys to buy the game because it is cool and bigger than life. You don't have to love hockey to love the game, which is what made video game hockey popular in the first place. But those casuals turned into hockey fans. they learned the players, the teams. They started watching and learning and wanting something more real.
    Seriously, neither EA nor the NHL cares if hardcore hockey fans have a game. EA can sell more games easier without them. The NHL is trying to expand its audience, not cater to the the dedicated. May not be fair, but, that's just how the world works.

    If your argument is that making a an arcade style game will bring people into the sport and once that happens they will make a sim style game then you haven’t been paying attention. The only thing EA, all sports games, and really all games care about is the online micro transaction aspect and nothing else. As far as roster share goes it’s inexcusable for it not to be in the game as it’s an easy thing to add and has been around since last gen consoles. EA doesn’t add it because they truly despise us hardcore hockey guys who call them out on their BS.
    jake19ny
    As far as roster share goes it’s inexcusable for it not to be in the game as it’s an easy thing to add and has been around since last gen consoles. EA doesn’t add it because they truly despise us hardcore hockey guys who call them out on their BS.

    I think they don't add it because they see what longevity it gave the last gen games.
    Thanks to the updated rosters from the hard work of many here, I was playing an up to date roster set on NHL Legacy PS3 this year.
    I know it's a cynical take, but I could see them nuking anything that helps you "not upgrade to the latest version".
    scagwi
    I think they don't add it because they see what longevity it gave the last gen games.
    Thanks to the updated rosters from the hard work of many here, I was playing an up to date roster set on NHL Legacy PS3 this year.
    I know it's a cynical take, but I could see them nuking anything that helps you "not upgrade to the latest version".

    you are right it does make people buy the new game without them adding any decent upgrades to the game from the year before. They could give us roster sharing but then in order to sell the next years version they would actually have to make some worth while improvements to it
    JayhawkerStL
    A lot of people like the game. I loved NHL 19 and have NHL 20 pre-ordered, because World of Chel is just flipping fun. Madden is fun, too.
    I'm 51, been playing sports games since the 70's. Ran online leagues, played text sims and and franchise modes. But I also liked games like NBA Jam and NFL Blitz. The most popular hockey games were fast and violent.
    Then sim gamers came in to tell everyone that those games were just for kids, and instead of getting more people into sim sports gaming, we just have fewer sports games today. I appreciate EA trying to make sports games fun again, and that they are bringing new fans to the sport.
    Sim gaming will benefit long term if sim gamers embrace the arcade aspects of sports games. Some will stick with arcade games, but others will join you in the sim sports community.

    How is NHL 19 fun? Scoring the same three ways is fun? Watching your AI skate away from the front of their net leaving wide-open attackers, crash the offensive net butt first, stand still when there's a wide-open puck three feet from, actively swing away from open passing lanes, go offsides 35 times a game, and have a distinct disadvantage to the CPU AI is fun?
    The CPU doesn't adhere to the same physics that your players do offline, the goalies are still bubble-hockey goalies and don't have to adhere to their previous momentum, goalie interference is called when it shouldn't, not called when it should, the list just goes on and on and on but that's just piling on.
    This game is equally bad in terms of being a sim and an arcade experience. I can fire up NHL Hitz Pro and tune the game to have a better sim and arcade experience than NHL 19. Unlike NHL 19's sliders, NHL Hitz actually has consistent sliders. There isn't something in the backend messing with the game, causing one game to finish 2-1 and the next 6-5 with the same teams, same sliders, same strategies, yet for some reason the CPU AI decided to be uber-agressive/dumb. The CPU AI adheres to the same physics engine/game limitations that I do. They don't get extra speed-bursts when they want, they don't get to negate one of my actions because they want to get a pass off, they don't get to skate with infinite agility because they want too, they are playing the same game as me.
    The NHL 09-12 years were the golden years of NHL. These are the years where the game was so incredibly fun for the most hardcore and casual hockey fans, that there were hundreds of people that had never played hockey before buying the game and participating in VHL/LG because the game was just that fun. The offline was challenging and engaging, but not because the AI could do special things, not because your AI were useless pylons, it was hard because I made it hard, but it was a fair game experience.
    I just don't agree with the argument that EA is trying to make this game fun. This game is lazy. It makes scoring easy and unrewarding, it promotes scoring the same three ways, and the meta never revolves around actual hockey whether you're offline or online. NHL Hitz shouldn't have more immersion, scoring variety, and just more of a rewarding feeling of scoring than NHL 19. This game is lazy, it's uninspired, and it's an overall poor offering.
    Chance the Rapper's only connection to hockey was a sketch where the entire joke was that he didn't know or care about hockey? I love Chance but why would anybody on earth ever want to see him commentate a hockey game? Lol, what a ridiculous and transparent thing to do.
    HipNotiiC_x
    How is NHL 19 fun? Scoring the same three ways is fun? Watching your AI skate away from the front of their net leaving wide-open attackers, crash the offensive net butt first, stand still when there's a wide-open puck three feet from, actively swing away from open passing lanes, go offsides 35 times a game, and have a distinct disadvantage to the CPU AI is fun?
    The CPU doesn't adhere to the same physics that your players do offline, the goalies are still bubble-hockey goalies and don't have to adhere to their previous momentum, goalie interference is called when it shouldn't, not called when it should, the list just goes on and on and on but that's just piling on.
    This game is equally bad in terms of being a sim and an arcade experience. I can fire up NHL Hitz Pro and tune the game to have a better sim and arcade experience than NHL 19. Unlike NHL 19's sliders, NHL Hitz actually has consistent sliders. There isn't something in the backend messing with the game, causing one game to finish 2-1 and the next 6-5 with the same teams, same sliders, same strategies, yet for some reason the CPU AI decided to be uber-agressive/dumb. The CPU AI adheres to the same physics engine/game limitations that I do. They don't get extra speed-bursts when they want, they don't get to negate one of my actions because they want to get a pass off, they don't get to skate with infinite agility because they want too, they are playing the same game as me.
    The NHL 09-12 years were the golden years of NHL. These are the years where the game was so incredibly fun for the most hardcore and casual hockey fans, that there were hundreds of people that had never played hockey before buying the game and participating in VHL/LG because the game was just that fun. The offline was challenging and engaging, but not because the AI could do special things, not because your AI were useless pylons, it was hard because I made it hard, but it was a fair game experience.
    I just don't agree with the argument that EA is trying to make this game fun. This game is lazy. It makes scoring easy and unrewarding, it promotes scoring the same three ways, and the meta never revolves around actual hockey whether you're offline or online. NHL Hitz shouldn't have more immersion, scoring variety, and just more of a rewarding feeling of scoring than NHL 19. This game is lazy, it's uninspired, and it's an overall poor offering.

    I gotta agree with this, it's not about sim vs arcade, the cpu controlled player ai is horrendous at both ends of the ice. It's so bad the cpu opponent has to have massive cheat boosts to be competitive, which in turn makes the game bad. Goal variety is limited, you just can't set up/score the highlight reel type goals that the NHL is known for. I shouldn't be wishing NHL 20 had the features in Be a GM that NHL Legacy on PS3 has, it should be improving on not trying to catch up to the last generation.
    Roster sharing is in every other sports game I know of so I don't get the argument made against that either. The only thing I could think of is that maybe the NHL doesn't want them to put it in?
    HipNotiiC_x
    The NHL 09-12 years were the golden years of NHL.

    I don’t have any of those discs anymore but it is making me want to pick one up.
    Which of those years would you recommend the most?
    I play Legacy right now
    scagwi
    I don’t have any of those discs anymore but it is making me want to pick one up.
    Which of those years would you recommend the most?
    I play Legacy right now

    Imo NHL 11 is the best. 09, 10, and 11 all seemed to build off of each other very well. 11 was the most polished and balanced game experience of that generation for me. I thought 12 was very offensively-tuned (basically a non-TPS '14) where pass interceptions just aren't a thing.
    I'm going to be honest with you, I haven't played these extensively in awhile. Trying to fix 19 has been my goal this year (a feat I still haven't been able to do, and one that has wasted many hours of chasing) and prior to 19, NHL 2k10/NHL Hitz Pro were always the games that kept me coming back offline.
    HipNotiiC_x
    Imo NHL 11 is the best. 09, 10, and 11 all seemed to build off of each other very well. 11 was the most polished and balanced game experience of that generation for me. I thought 12 was very offensively-tuned (basically a non-TPS '14) where pass interceptions just aren't a thing.
    I'm going to be honest with you, I haven't played these extensively in awhile. Trying to fix 19 has been my goal this year (a feat I still haven't been able to do, and one that has wasted many hours of chasing) and prior to 19, NHL 2k10/NHL Hitz Pro were always the games that kept me coming back offline.

    Hey, you weren't kidding about NHL 11!
    I just downloaded the demo and played the 3rd period and had a total blast!
    It feels so different than Legacy - I'm very surprised
    scagwi
    Hey, you weren't kidding about NHL 11!
    I just downloaded the demo and played the 3rd period and had a total blast!
    It feels so different than Legacy - I'm very surprised

    It is so amazingly hard going back to the old games, but they are so much better than the new games. Like I said, NHL 11 is genuinely hard! It's a great game, but I unfortunately don't have my 360 at my new place, so I don't have that option atm. Glad you're enjoying it!
    I'm just an old guy having fun with the only game (other than a bit of Golf Club) I play. It's all hockey all the time for me. With the game progressed to where it is now I can't imagine not playing.
    Every year its the same when the new game comes out. I hear everyone complain and even quit playing and I just buy the game and have fun (except NHL 15 of course which really sucked).
    By far my biggest desire every year is just to have the game flow look more and more like real hockey. It's getting there and I wouldn't go back to the animations of the past for the sake of some other tradeoff. It's all about the sensation of real skating, the power and grace of it. What they are promising with better puck pickups sounds like it will take it up a notch in that area. Also great that I might actually get to turn back on the commentary again. Hope they can make it fresh enough to keep it on.
    Also like the Trade Finder feature in Franchise as I've got too lazy to propose a million trades like I did a few years ago.
    fiddlerpaul
    I'm just an old guy having fun with the only game (other than a bit of Golf Club) I play. It's all hockey all the time for me. With the game progressed to where it is now I can't imagine not playing.
    Every year its the same when the new game comes out. I hear everyone complain and even quit playing and I just buy the game and have fun (except NHL 15 of course which really sucked).
    By far my biggest desire every year is just to have the game flow look more and more like real hockey. It's getting there and I wouldn't go back to the animations of the past for the sake of some other tradeoff. It's all about the sensation of real skating, the power and grace of it. What they are promising with better puck pickups sounds like it will take it up a notch in that area. Also great that I might actually get to turn back on the commentary again. Hope they can make it fresh enough to keep it on.
    Also like the Trade Finder feature in Franchise as I've got too lazy to propose a million trades like I did a few years ago.

    And I love that you're loving the game. I've played 19 so incredibly much, that I think it would be disingenuous to say that I hate the game, but this game still leaves much to be desired when it comes to the "flow of hockey" like you stated. I love hockey, I played competitively and I played the NHL series very competitively in the 6s community so I can't just play the AI and be fine with how easy it is to score. I need that challenge, I need that grit to the game that exists in both real-life and in the 6s meta. I can't stand to just snipe goalies with no pressure, or vice versa make easy area passes due to an over-aggressive AI as both scenarios leave me feeling underwhelmed and unrewarded for scoring. I wish I could go back to my 8 year-old self and just enjoy the game at default, I really do (maybe I'll grow back into that stage in a few years) but for now, I need the competition without having to adhere to a schedule for virtual hockey because yes, that does seem rather ridiculous to delay/cancel plans in-order to play virtual hockey lol.
    I think the biggest culprit of this game and it's never-ending rush-fest, is the utter lack of neutral zone pressure. When playing 6s, you feel the heat in the neutral zone and it leads to many dump-ins or regroups. Offline or even in 1v1 modes, the CPU just doesn't pressure you in the NZ enough/if you human pressure in 1v1, your AI teammates don't understand how to react and make use of your pressure (close gaps/cut-off escape routes/force a hard pass/dump).
    This is why I don't think I can justify $60 for 20 where the devs stated that the AI hadn't been touched. I've literally worked on slider sets + strategy combinations to produce a realistic amount of NZ and in-zone pressure since this game was released (so 9 months of trying to fix what shouldn't need fixing if they actually cared about representing the sport adequately).
    What's been the best game of all time for the "flow of hockey" to you guys?
    (I agree that nothing seems to be matching up well with what it appears as in real life for some reason)
    scagwi
    What's been the best game of all time for the "flow of hockey" to you guys?
    (I agree that nothing seems to be matching up well with what it appears as in real life for some reason)

    I'd have to go back and replay the 08-15 old-gen games again to give a well-rounded opinion. I know DEJNEO likes 13 and I did too. That was the first year of TPS, but for some reason that was also the best year of TPS imo. The online community hated it due to goaline human goalies, but that's obviously irrelevant now. I know you seemed to like 11 offline, I know that game stuck-out to me as one of the better ones the series has ever seen.
    NHL 2000-2007 (excluding 07 for PS3/360) were very fast, very arcadey to me. However, 2004 on the PC has a cult following to this day, so you can't dismiss the obvious impact and "feel" that game had/has on people.
    NHL 19 with the right sliders, and trust me, I think I've found the right sliders about 453 different times this year lol, has a pretty decent flow to it. The set I have now has performed well for a single game, but most importantly has actually felt consistent across 5-7 games in-a-row for me which is usually when that feeling starts to go away. If this continues, I'll gladly post my setup so you can see for yourself. The most frustrating thing about 19, is the tool are there for an incredible hockey experience, they just need the AI to play a bit better and this game really would be an incredible offline experience, so I wouldn't count-out 19 for the title of "best feel"
    The game that has always felt the most like hockey to me, where there's lulls and then periods of utter-chaos that imo beautifully represents the amazing sport of hockey so well is NHL Hitz Pro. It seems insane, ridiculous, radical, but trust me when I say that a well-tuned NHL Hitz Pro setup is an absolute masterpiece at recreating the ups and downs, and the ebbs and flows of hockey. The biggest problem with this game is the line changes aren't "on the fly" they only happen at whistles, but yes, there is noticeable fatigue and you are very much rewarded for dominating possession. If this game had "on the fly" line changes, I would never even look for another hockey experience.
    Hope this brief write-up helps and gives you some insight on what games to possibly test to satisfy that virtual hockey craving!
    scagwi
    Great write up!!
    Thanks for taking the time!
    NHL Hitz Pro 'eh?
    I've never even played that!
    What platform?

    So growing up, I always played Hitz on the GameCube as that's the console my parents bought me when I was young. Now that I'm older, I have a gaming computer and I run a GC emulator (Dolphin) and play Hitz Pro on there. There's a few hiccups and stutters, but honestly it's no worse than the GC when things got a little hectic and the updated graphic looks great for an 03 release!
    The thing that will surprise you with Hitz Pro is the amount of sliders they have. I mean, you can really tune the game so that the big, over the top cartwheel hits and through the glass hits don't really happen unless you're "on-fire". You can also turn the "on-fire" visual effects off, so while you can't disable the attribute boosts that come with being "on-fire"(which is a fun mini-game/reward you receive for being on the PP or winning a fight) you can at least keep the flames off of your players to keep a "sim" look to the presentation.
    There's a ton of added bonuses for shooting on the goalie with adjustable sliders so that you can set how much of a bonus you get for your shot when it falls under that category:
    one-timer bonus
    slapshot bonus
    breakaway bonus
    open shot bonus
    rebound bonus
    possession bonus - basically how long you hold the zone (my favorite as the goalie gets fatigued after numerous shot attempts, not saves, which is really cool to see)
    there's more but I can think of them. Anyway, I have goalie skill 1 or 2 clicks away from being maxed, but then all of my bonuses are maxed out and it produces really believable goalies. I mean, you score on some of the most mundane attempts when you're not expecting a goal but the puck just squeezes through. You also will get robbed on a lot of grade-A chances as that's the nature of a more arcade-focused game, but many times those big saves produce rebounds which help you create chaos and tire the goalie, so I really do find the gameplay to be quite balanced and rewarding.
    A control I love in the Hitz series is the "dump puck" button. It is used hundreds of times a game as carrying the puck in is very hard due to the simplistic nature of the game and the lack of devastating deke moves. Also, the dump puck control works as an in-zone cycle button, and you can also feather the button (lightly tap) to produce a very high, shallow dump which is great for tricky zone entry plays, and also to get the puck out of the zone without drawing an icing.
    Overall, the game forces you to play a simpler game, dump and chase a lot, and look to move the puck quick with lots of quick shots to break the defense down. Not too different from real hockey, but I will admit there's a lack of finesse to the series that doesn't go unnoticed, but I think it's a small sacrifice when you see so many little things like goalie fatigue due to shot attempts, or the gritty but required need to dump and chase, done so correctly. The goalies are so fun to watch because they make some incredible 2nd shot saves, but they will also sell-out for those saves and be in terrible spots to recover for a 3rd shot, again much like real life. The rebound goals feel earned, not cheap/inevitable. The tips goals are simplistic (always come from the middle of the point) but they work and are also easily negated by the CPU's elite shot-blocking abilities so you do feel like you earn them.
    If you can't tell, I love the game. It shows it's age, even with the updated mods and the lack of uniform customization drives me crazy because I really do love making use of it in NHL 19. Gameplay, I don't think I've played a hockey game that beats it in-terms of overall fun-factor, balance, and that hockey "feel" but there definitely is pros and cons to every sports game. If you haven't tried it out, I believe it certainly worth your time, and I can give you the slider set I run if you ever do get your hands on it.
    Weird thing to note - I play Hitz Pro with auto aim and from the side camera angle. It's honestly a blast. I don't like their traditional top-down camera angles, and I think playing at such a unique camera angle and having so much fun doing so, is just another unique "feature" that makes me love the secret gem that is NHL Hitz Pro.
    Hitz Pro is one of the most underrated hockey games of all time. Even the Franchise mode is unheralded. I'm glad someone mentioned it here, especially in 2019!
    It was so good, I bought it on both Xbox and GameCube. Never had so much fun playing a sports game in my life, and that's on the Sim settings!
    I guess that's why the developer (Next Level Games) is now developing first party games for Nintendo.
    scagwi
    Hey, you weren't kidding about NHL 11!
    I just downloaded the demo and played the 3rd period and had a total blast!
    It feels so different than Legacy - I'm very surprised

    I believe that 3 year period(09-11) is when they also had Create A Play. I never understood why they removed that feature.
    Awesome article man!!!!
    Signature shots. Lol
    So the sims are still going to be shiiiit, there will still be no difference of skill gap between the players, and the ratings will still be garbage.
    The rating won’t be staggered for type of player and position. What a god damn joke.
    Still can’t control all the teams. What a god damn joke.
    Roster sharing???? LOL........it’s in every other sports game, but somehow the bums at EA still can’t manage to simply implement this feature into the game.
    It must be a fookin joke.
    AmIRight......
    bruins2012
    Awesome article man!!!!
    Signature shots. Lol
    So the sims are still going to be shiiiit, there will still be no difference of skill gap between the players, and the ratings will still be garbage.
    The rating won’t be staggered for type of player and position. What a god damn joke.
    Still can’t control all the teams. What a god damn joke.
    Roster sharing???? LOL........it’s in every other sports game, but somehow the bums at EA still can’t manage to simply implement this feature into the game.
    It must be a fookin joke.
    AmIRight......

    Simply can’t or simply won’t apply a roster share. I think it’s won’t.
    sweetjones
    I believe that 3 year period(09-11) is when they also had Create A Play. I never understood why they removed that feature.

    Since they haven't been able to make your AI actually know how to breakout, break-in, or actually drive the net when cycling/getting net-front presence when the puck is at the point, this feature actually allowed the user to "program" better AI than the vanilla AI. It was so useful despite hockey being such a fast and dynamic sport.
    I've been playing a lot of Hitz Pro recently, and it's been my inspiration for my most recent 19 sliders and I gotta say, that inspiration is leading to some nice results in 19.
    lions67
    I’m passing hard on this!!
    I will continue to play The GolfClub 2109.
    What a friggin joke.
    So sad to see this once great franchise just get buried.
    Hell, I would rather play NES ICE HOCKEY over what they plan to release.
    RIP NHL 20
    Drake.....
    PATHETIC!!

    In all seriousness, I'd love a fleshed-out NES Ice Hockey game with season mode, all 31 teams...
    Put it on the Switch baby!
    Money99
    In all seriousness, I'd love a fleshed-out NES Ice Hockey game with season mode, all 31 teams...
    Put it on the Switch baby!

    I bought Super Blood Hockey on the switch and the franchise mode has been pretty enjoyable so far. I'm not very far into it, I've won every game but one so I hope it gets harder, but it's a modern version of "Ice Hockey" as the goalies are auto by default which I actually prefer. Fun game for $15 if you're looking for a mobile, classic hockey experience.
    badazzleroybrown
    Anyone know if Signature Celebrations will be apart of this as well when Goals are scored ?

    Signature celebrations have been in the game for some players. Pointless anyway if the A.I. still plays braindead and every player plays exactly the same....I mean what’s the point in having signature shots and cellys if that’s the only difference between Ovie and a 4th line scrub
    scagwi
    Hey, you weren't kidding about NHL 11!
    I just downloaded the demo and played the 3rd period and had a total blast!
    It feels so different than Legacy - I'm very surprised

    Those older games played so much better. Also, the beta's play good nearly every year. Then they tune/patch the game until its right back to being the same thing its been for a decade. This is their process.
    The idiotic addition of rappers to the commentary is proof positive that EA is about gimmicks rather than delivering a solid hockey game. Shows just how out of touch they are with true hockey fans.
    I can't believe how dead this forum has become in the past few years due to the lack of innovation in this game.
    NHL 09-NHL 13, this used to be one of EA's most popular games. I still have fun with them. But, what a fall from grace.
    I miss the old trade deadline phones in Be A Gm. Crowds booing when you injured a star. The Winter Classic. Custom music and goal horns. Goalie chants. Anything else I'm forgetting???
    Sent from my XT1650 using Operation Sports mobile app
    I don't know if the decision not to buy this game was ever before made this easy by EA. They have really dropped the ball - or puck - with this game.
    Not fixed:
    - AI
    - Player separation
    - Player ratings making any difference
    scitychamps87
    I can't believe how dead this forum has become in the past few years due to the lack of innovation in this game.
    NHL 09-NHL 13, this used to be one of EA's most popular games. I still have fun with them. But, what a fall from grace.
    I miss the old trade deadline phones in Be A Gm. Crowds booing when you injured a star. The Winter Classic. Custom music and goal horns. Goalie chants. Anything else I'm forgetting???

    Oh god keep going I'm almost there
    HipNotiiC_x
    I'd have to go back and replay the 08-15 old-gen games again to give a well-rounded opinion. I know DEJNEO likes 13 and I did too. That was the first year of TPS, but for some reason that was also the best year of TPS imo. The online community hated it due to goaline human goalies, but that's obviously irrelevant now. I know you seemed to like 11 offline, I know that game stuck-out to me as one of the better ones the series has ever seen.
    NHL 2000-2007 (excluding 07 for PS3/360) were very fast, very arcadey to me. However, 2004 on the PC has a cult following to this day, so you can't dismiss the obvious impact and "feel" that game had/has on people.
    NHL 19 with the right sliders, and trust me, I think I've found the right sliders about 453 different times this year lol, has a pretty decent flow to it. The set I have now has performed well for a single game, but most importantly has actually felt consistent across 5-7 games in-a-row for me which is usually when that feeling starts to go away. If this continues, I'll gladly post my setup so you can see for yourself. The most frustrating thing about 19, is the tool are there for an incredible hockey experience, they just need the AI to play a bit better and this game really would be an incredible offline experience, so I wouldn't count-out 19 for the title of "best feel"
    The game that has always felt the most like hockey to me, where there's lulls and then periods of utter-chaos that imo beautifully represents the amazing sport of hockey so well is NHL Hitz Pro. It seems insane, ridiculous, radical, but trust me when I say that a well-tuned NHL Hitz Pro setup is an absolute masterpiece at recreating the ups and downs, and the ebbs and flows of hockey. The biggest problem with this game is the line changes aren't "on the fly" they only happen at whistles, but yes, there is noticeable fatigue and you are very much rewarded for dominating possession. If this game had "on the fly" line changes, I would never even look for another hockey experience.
    Hope this brief write-up helps and gives you some insight on what games to possibly test to satisfy that virtual hockey craving!

    I've been in the same camp as you constantly messing with sliders in Franchise mode. Would love to try your latest ones that maybe are better at creating the flow effect.
    scitychamps87
    I can't believe how dead this forum has become in the past few years due to the lack of innovation in this game.
    NHL 09-NHL 13, this used to be one of EA's most popular games. I still have fun with them. But, what a fall from grace.
    I miss the old trade deadline phones in Be A Gm. Crowds booing when you injured a star. The Winter Classic. Custom music and goal horns. Goalie chants. Anything else I'm forgetting???
    Sent from my XT1650 using Operation Sports mobile app

    They could give me NHL 20 for free...and I still wouldn't play it. I'm a lifer of this title, and I'm never touching it ever again. Totally lost interest. And I'm guessing I'm not alone.
    mkharsh33
    They could give me NHL 20 for free...and I still wouldn't play it. I'm a lifer of this title, and I'm never touching it ever again. Totally lost interest. And I'm guessing I'm not alone.

    Yeah, that's rough when you've basically got to know all the tricks of the game so that it's no longer interesting. If you still love hockey, you will come back to check it out sometime in the future, but I get how the incremental improvements are not enough. If it's predictable dumb AI that bugs you, only some brilliant leap of programming is going to fix that. We haven't got to that point yet.
    What I became aware of was when they did a tuner in late October and it was revealed that they dumbed down the AI defense to make it so that you couldn't rely on them and had to play every position yourself and couldn't just park yourself in front of the net to defend. IOW they stopped challenging the puck carrier, a deliberate change in the programming. (changes were outlined here by Sleeveless Gaming on YT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJjH9ya-Cbc&t=76s
    This represented a real tradeoff by EA. If the whole game was based around playing in locked positions, they wouldn't have felt the need to do this. But it's totally geared to playing every position and switching. I really don't know the answer to this decision by EA. They have the ability to make the AI smarter, but don't to make it so that the human player's skill determines the entire performance and has to constantly make up for all the lazy play of the AI away from the puck. It's kind of a crazy dilemna if you think about it, but there should be a way to give you the choice of what kind of game you want and not one size fits all.
    fiddlerpaul
    Yeah, that's rough when you've basically got to know all the tricks of the game so that it's no longer interesting. If you still love hockey, you will come back to check it out sometime in the future, but I get how the incremental improvements are not enough. If it's predictable dumb AI that bugs you, only some brilliant leap of programming is going to fix that. We haven't got to that point yet.
    What I became aware of was when they did a tuner in late October and it was revealed that they dumbed down the AI defense to make it so that you couldn't rely on them and had to play every position yourself and couldn't just park yourself in front of the net to defend. IOW they stopped challenging the puck carrier, a deliberate change in the programming. (changes were outlined here by Sleeveless Gaming on YT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJjH9ya-Cbc&t=76s
    This represented a real tradeoff by EA. If the whole game was based around playing in locked positions, they wouldn't have felt the need to do this. But it's totally geared to playing every position and switching. I really don't know the answer to this decision by EA. They have the ability to make the AI smarter, but don't to make it so that the human player's skill determines the entire performance and has to constantly make up for all the lazy play of the AI away from the puck. It's kind of a crazy dilemna if you think about it, but there should be a way to give you the choice of what kind of game you want and not one size fits all.

    This^^
    I’ve been saying for years the game needs separate A.I. for offline as opposed to online. Every single time they patch the game they correct an issue for one mode and destroy something for the other mode. In the end EA caters to the online cheesers who whine the loudest. The NHL 19 beta played very good and I’m a big critic of this series but by the second patch I couldn’t tell the difference between 19 and 18.
    mkharsh33
    They could give me NHL 20 for free...and I still wouldn't play it. I'm a lifer of this title, and I'm never touching it ever again. Totally lost interest. And I'm guessing I'm not alone.

    If you have totally lost interest in EA's NHL game, why come to the EA SPORTS NHL section of the forums?
    fiddlerpaul
    I've been in the same camp as you constantly messing with sliders in Franchise mode. Would love to try your latest ones that maybe are better at creating the flow effect.

    I'll post them tonight. I play in "play now" with my custom teams, keep track of my own season results and schedule in an excel doc. The reason I play in "play now" is so I can adjust the strategies of the CPU team. Without them, I feel like you never come close to the proper flow. I have a slider post in the slider forums under "strategy sliders" you can take a peak at those for now. I have drastically changed those strats and sliders, but you can at least get a feel for what kind of gameplay experience I'm trying to generate.
    I'm hoping for a good mix of realism and sim, but leaning on the side of realism which I think is the exact opposite of what the normal online sliders usually are.
    jake19ny
    This^^
    I’ve been saying for years the game needs separate A.I. for offline as opposed to online. Every single time they patch the game they correct an issue for one mode and destroy something for the other mode. In the end EA caters to the online cheesers who whine the loudest. The NHL 19 beta played very good and I’m a big critic of this series but by the second patch I couldn’t tell the difference between 19 and 18.

    100% agree. When I'm playing offline, I want to feel like I'm playing the CPU on an even playing field when it comes to my AI vs their AI. Having your offline CPU AI be even worse than useless is such a strain on the game. I can get about 2-3 games in a night before I just have to call it quits because the AI drives me nuts.
    I mean, if they were useless, at least they'd stand still and in a position where I can switch and correct, but they're actually worse than useless. They actively leave their position to stare at a fan while in the corner. Their decision making and play recognition is literally worse than useless lol. Still though, I find ways to enjoy this game. I must be crazy or something.
    HipNotiiC_x
    I'll post them tonight. I play in "play now" with my custom teams, keep track of my own season results and schedule in an excel doc. The reason I play in "play now" is so I can adjust the strategies of the CPU team. Without them, I feel like you never come close to the proper flow. I have a slider post in the slider forums under "strategy sliders" you can take a peak at those for now. I have drastically changed those strats and sliders, but you can at least get a feel for what kind of gameplay experience I'm trying to generate.
    I'm hoping for a good mix of realism and sim, but leaning on the side of realism which I think is the exact opposite of what the normal online sliders usually are.

    That's great. I'll check them out when I get back in a week from a little trip. That's a neat idea to adjust the strategies for the cpu.
    fiddlerpaul
    That's great. I'll check them out when I get back in a week from a little trip. That's a neat idea to adjust the strategies for the cpu.

    Yeah man, I try to get an "eSports" feel but with more realism in the hockey aspects of the game. Lots of pressure and hard to score was my goal. By default, most CPU teams are simply way too passive to give me much problems.
    HipNotiiC_x
    Yeah man, I try to get an "eSports" feel but with more realism in the hockey aspects of the game. Lots of pressure and hard to score was my goal. By default, most CPU teams are simply way too passive to give me much problems.

    I like the idea of more realistc D on both sides but Ill probably keep my scoring higher...at the end of the day I usually tweak towards a few more goals and something that I can feel competitive. I am on the pretty average skill level, mostly to do with my slow reaction time due to age.
    KoryDub
    If you have totally lost interest in EA's NHL game, why come to the EA SPORTS NHL section of the forums?

    The hope that I'll read a number of forums here that will prove me wrong...
    HipNotiiC_x
    So growing up, I always played Hitz on the GameCube as that's the console my parents bought me when I was young. Now that I'm older, I have a gaming computer and I run a GC emulator (Dolphin) and play Hitz Pro on there. There's a few hiccups and stutters, but honestly it's no worse than the GC when things got a little hectic and the updated graphic looks great for an 03 release!
    The thing that will surprise you with Hitz Pro is the amount of sliders they have. I mean, you can really tune the game so that the big, over the top cartwheel hits and through the glass hits don't really happen unless you're "on-fire". You can also turn the "on-fire" visual effects off, so while you can't disable the attribute boosts that come with being "on-fire"(which is a fun mini-game/reward you receive for being on the PP or winning a fight) you can at least keep the flames off of your players to keep a "sim" look to the presentation.
    There's a ton of added bonuses for shooting on the goalie with adjustable sliders so that you can set how much of a bonus you get for your shot when it falls under that category:
    one-timer bonus
    slapshot bonus
    breakaway bonus
    open shot bonus
    rebound bonus
    possession bonus - basically how long you hold the zone (my favorite as the goalie gets fatigued after numerous shot attempts, not saves, which is really cool to see)
    there's more but I can think of them. Anyway, I have goalie skill 1 or 2 clicks away from being maxed, but then all of my bonuses are maxed out and it produces really believable goalies. I mean, you score on some of the most mundane attempts when you're not expecting a goal but the puck just squeezes through. You also will get robbed on a lot of grade-A chances as that's the nature of a more arcade-focused game, but many times those big saves produce rebounds which help you create chaos and tire the goalie, so I really do find the gameplay to be quite balanced and rewarding.
    A control I love in the Hitz series is the "dump puck" button. It is used hundreds of times a game as carrying the puck in is very hard due to the simplistic nature of the game and the lack of devastating deke moves. Also, the dump puck control works as an in-zone cycle button, and you can also feather the button (lightly tap) to produce a very high, shallow dump which is great for tricky zone entry plays, and also to get the puck out of the zone without drawing an icing.
    Overall, the game forces you to play a simpler game, dump and chase a lot, and look to move the puck quick with lots of quick shots to break the defense down. Not too different from real hockey, but I will admit there's a lack of finesse to the series that doesn't go unnoticed, but I think it's a small sacrifice when you see so many little things like goalie fatigue due to shot attempts, or the gritty but required need to dump and chase, done so correctly. The goalies are so fun to watch because they make some incredible 2nd shot saves, but they will also sell-out for those saves and be in terrible spots to recover for a 3rd shot, again much like real life. The rebound goals feel earned, not cheap/inevitable. The tips goals are simplistic (always come from the middle of the point) but they work and are also easily negated by the CPU's elite shot-blocking abilities so you do feel like you earn them.
    If you can't tell, I love the game. It shows it's age, even with the updated mods and the lack of uniform customization drives me crazy because I really do love making use of it in NHL 19. Gameplay, I don't think I've played a hockey game that beats it in-terms of overall fun-factor, balance, and that hockey "feel" but there definitely is pros and cons to every sports game. If you haven't tried it out, I believe it certainly worth your time, and I can give you the slider set I run if you ever do get your hands on it.
    Weird thing to note - I play Hitz Pro with auto aim and from the side camera angle. It's honestly a blast. I don't like their traditional top-down camera angles, and I think playing at such a unique camera angle and having so much fun doing so, is just another unique "feature" that makes me love the secret gem that is NHL Hitz Pro.

    would you mind sharing your sliders on Hitz Pro? Just got back into playing it and would really like to try out your sliders.
    justin_6676
    would you mind sharing your sliders on Hitz Pro? Just got back into playing it and would really like to try out your sliders.

    Yeah, I can probably get those to you. I'm terrible at being motivated enough to post sliders but next time I'm on my PC I'll write them down.
    RollingThunder
    I guess that NBC deal is finally up eh? Time to inject random rappers on the commentary team in a hockey game, because that's totally what anyone asked for. A total move away from realism!

    Guess you dont remember when Snoop Dog was on the LA Kings broadcast.
    These guests that join the commentary will be brief, NBA does it with ex pros which makes a little more sense than rappers but it will happen so seldom that it probably wont be a bother.
    Rielly44
    Guess you dont remember when Snoop Dog was on the LA Kings broadcast.
    These guests that join the commentary will be brief, NBA does it with ex pros which makes a little more sense than rappers but it will happen so seldom that it probably wont be a bother.

    Well, at least have some good ones.
    KoryDub
    If you have totally lost interest in EA's NHL game, why come to the EA SPORTS NHL section of the forums?

    Probably the same reason I visit Madden forums every summer, hoping for news of the game thats actually promising and makes me want to buy it again.
    The only thing that keeps me playing this game is EASHL and having all or mostly humans on the ice can negate some of the negative bull****.

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