Be Kind Review: NHL 12
This years installment of EA’s NHL series is here with NHL 12. Like every other sports game this year’s is supposed to be better than the last. They have added different things like the winter classic at Heinz Field and being able to hit people through the glass. They have also added Be A Legend mode where you can be different hockey legends like Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky. Are these additions enough for you to drop $60 on though? This review will help you in your decision.
Developer: EA Canada
Publisher: EA Sports
Players: 1-4 (offline) 2-12 (online)
The A.I. – The A.I. this game can give you a whooping if you don’t know what you’re doing. Unlike some other sports game the A.I. in this game does not make as many stupid mistakes. They A.I. will skate with you for possible one-timers and actually shoot if you pass it to them (take notes EA Tiburon). They will also set themselves up for deflections or better scoring opportunities During upcoming face offs or any stoppage of play, some A.I. will beat the crap out of you and try to start fights. They are smart to not get laid out from a check either. For example, if you are about to check the crap out of someone into the boards they will try to pass it away or move. The updated A.I. in this game makes it a little harder to score in this game than last years. The goalie in this game can sometimes makes stupid mistakes but that’s usually if you play on rookie so that’s your own fault.
Presentation – This game looks and feels like you’re watching a hockey game. Whether it’s the opening of the game or even the players themselves, this game looks good. In the opening of the Winter Classic you see players come out of the locker room of Heinz Field and come outside to a packed stadium, lots of a snow, and the rink in the middle of the field. EA Canada added over 100 faces to the game for better looking players and improved the on-ice personality for players. They even added female faces so you can make girl hockey players.
Improved physics – This year’s installment of NHL seems like they pushed for it a bit. A lot of the hits are more realistic and look a lot more painful. For example, you can check someone and their helmet will come flying off or you can check them into the glass and shatter it. They also improved the puck movement, you can’t just take the puck through people anymore you actually have to move it around. This also is a good place to put that goalies can be hit and hit people themselves. Obviously, they don’t have the same balance as other players though.
Be A Pro Mode – I had to fight myself to get off of this mode because it is easily my favorite in the game. This year’s Be A Pro mode lets you start and play in the CHL for up to 4 season and then get drafted from there into the NHL. During games, you are given tasks to complete from the coach. These tasks are things like score a goal in the first 10 minutes, no turnovers, and defend your goal for the first ten minutes. Unfortunately if you look past these little additions it’s virtually last years Be A Pro mode.
Be A GM Mode – This is NHL 12′s version of franchise mode, you can do all the same things you can do in the last one. You can play the preseason, regular season, the post season, and the off-season. During the off-season you can draft, sign free agents, and the rest of what you would normally do in a franchise mode.The two new things in this mode is how the rookie contracts work and the ability to play with retired numbers. It is a fun mode to play, I like it a lot but again it’s relatively the same as last years.
Online Play – Come on now people, it’s EA servers what more do I need to say? When the EA servers aren’t screwing up online play is actually a lot of fun. You can join a team play game with up to 11 other people or you can do head-to-head with one other. I tried looking for team play matches and I was only able to find 4-5 other people max. They also have the online leagues for everyone to jump into.
Be A Legend Mode – This mode lets you be hockey legends like Wayne Gretzky and many others. You start off really good, I made one with Jeremy Roenick and started off at an 89 overall. You do have to unlock the other legends by leveling up your pro in your performance tracker. In the beginning you can choose what team your legend is on. You can easily put Wayne Gretzky on the Penguins but why would anyone want to do that, right? I really like this game mode but I think they could have done a bit more with it. This game mode is Be A Pro mode just at a better starting point.
Sports Game Syndrome – Everyone complains about sport games being the same every year and unfortunately this game suffers from it. I understand you cannot change a sports game that much unless the sport itself changes. The modes in this game like Be A Pro could have been a bit more like the 2K series take on it. A lot of the stuff in this game is just recycled from the last.
This is a good sports game, it was tough to find problems I had with it. A lot of the stuff in it is relatively the same as the last. The good thing about this game is that last was also good so this game is slightly better. You will have fun with the new physics system, because I know I loved shattering glass when I checked someone into it. If you like hockey this is a perfect game for you. If you like sports in general like me, this is a good game for you just not full price.