NHL 14 review (PS3)

TH3BR3W | 216d ago | User review
Reviewing: NHL 14
NHL 14 How is it holding up?
I have been a fan of the NHL series since '09. I have struggled through it all since '09 in hopes that it would only get better as it is a perennial sports game. I loved NHL '11 I really thought that it was the step to the perfect hockey game of the 7th gen consoles.

When NHL '12 came along it's first month had my hopes rising sky high as I was having a lot of fun playing HOCKEY, not just another wannabe game. Albeit the hip checks were a little over the top, after the first week people stopped being as childish as they were at launch with it and just played hockey. Then the big mean EA update monster started eating away at the playability of the game. More and more of the lines between it being a game and it being hockey started to blur with each update. Like a cancer EA kept chewing away at the vitals of the game that made it like a good hockey experience.

After the announcement of NHL '13 I found myself getting a little of my excitement back. "Hell yeah a new hitting engine" I thought "That should fix all the troubles I was having in 12". Hitting is a major part of controlling the possession of the puck for either team in hockey. Hitting plays a major role in crowd excitement and overall morality of the teams. "Wow and new skating engine... look at how realistic it looks" yet another thought with the new videos coming out hyping the game up to enthusiasts of the series.

Well out comes the demo. I played it. I liked it. I finally at that moment felt like EA listened to the fans who lent our voices to EA in hopes they would listen as they seemed to have little clue as to what hockey meant to us as a whole. Game released and I start playing online to get leveled up for EASHL (club for those who don't know EASHL). Game is nothing like the demo. Poor hitting, terrible turning, virtually no way to score on these now superman like goalies. I think to myself "You know it's probably just the low level of my player. I'll level up and see how it goes."

2 months later and 800 games later I finally, through painstakingly glitchy and non-hockey like games I achieved legend 3. Take into account that I was in the top 50 LW's in '12 so I am no slouch on the game what so ever. The game after updates has gotten a little more manageable, but is far from a shadow of what '11 and '12 felt in comparison. I started playing other games and letting NHL '13 collect dust until June of 2013. I get back into the game and play with some familiar faces and decide "Well it's not great but it's the only hockey I got right now". I play for a bit longer and give up after a nice streak of frustration in august. I decide to wait for '14, although I was hesitant to buy it at all as the trailers seem to point that it's just an patch of '13 with some FIFA physics thrown in.

Here it is kiddos the moment of truth. What do I think about the latest installment of NHL '14 after 3 months of playing it?

Fail with a capital 0. Outside of the newly updated ambient sounds of a real hockey rink and a good tweak to the hitting physics this game fails to capture the realism promised(once again).

Hockey play is dominated over easier glitch goals (both on computers and humans alike). The gap between a casual game and club is so wide it's like playing two different games sometimes. While you can score a little easier in some areas, the most realistic scoring plays and angles are next to zero in comparison to twitchy movement to confuse the cpu. I am taking a long break from EA's sports series until I am well assured that they have taken their heads out of the money pile long enough to realize their fanbase is beginning to despise them. I know more than a few people who play angry more than neutral or happy and yet the only reason they keep playing is the monopoly EA has over the majority of their sports games. FIFA is the only one I play that I can think of that has at least some competition.

Let's not mention that EA's servers are becoming some of the worst with constant failed loads into games, drops from games, and signing you out of EA network constantly at times. (YES I have all my port forwarding correct and run at 50mbps so NO it is not on my end). Everyone I play(ed) with have all the same problems.

Some of you will bash me for this, some of you will praise me for this. At the end of the day the game is mediocre overall. Too much time spent on gimmicks and the fundamentals dwindle in the wake of shiny new things.

Thanks to anyone reading this as this is my first review on N4G hopefully not the last.
Ups
New more Realistic ingame sounds
Faster loading times
Better club menus
Downs
Gameplay
Glitches
Poor server support
Score
7.3
Graphics Nearly the same as NHL '13 with a little bit more muddy textures here and there.
9.0
Sound This is the only shiny new thing they got right. The sounds of a hockey rink come to life in this game with the crowd, the coach barking orders, and players cheering you on and making suggestions here and there.
4.5
Gameplay If you into hockey this is a not a game you'll want to play if you expect to actually play HOCKEY. Glitch goals are the dominating scoring factor during games. Only in club will you see some plays that work when they are supposed to, the rest are glitches or just plain garbage goals.
3.5
Fun factor Very frustrating for someone who was great at previous installments and now has a hard time scoring even the most amazing attempts at goals.
4.0
Online The community is the same. What makes the online horrible is the mix of inconsistent gameplay between modes and the horrible if not the worst server support of any company hosted servers in gaming today.
6.0
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
jamz4  +   215d ago
I haven't played an NHL game since the Mega Drive. Do you still just charge around frantically hacking just to get into fights?
TH3BR3W  +   214d ago
No they've made it way too easy to fight. Great concept wity poor execution. I've seen games last 10 minutes longer than they shouod because of the abundance of fights.
Pisque  +   202d ago
Your review is well written, but your opinion doesn't match with mine. First, when you wrote that only glitch goals go in, it was false. This installment lets many more goals than its predecessors. The shots are way more effective, which were few to go in, in the last NHLs (except 13). You talk about fights that happen every 2 minutes, well, it is still not true. You have the choice to play agressive, hit everything like a train, or to be more defensive, fast-paced team that is more likely to lift the sticks or to poke the puck rather than charging your opponents.

You wont see a game in real NHL where an all-star player like Ovechkin gets drilled in the back by Milan Lucic without him receiving at least a punishment, which is an automatism.

Why didn't you talk more often about the incredibly good hitting system that's in the game now? The new dekes, stable servers (which you said were horrible, but they are now fixed), etc.
SaffronCurse  +   215d ago
I would like to see Nhl hitz make a return.
PS3Freak  +   211d ago
NHL Hitz 2003(2? Whichever one had Pronger in a Blues jersey on the cover) is still my favourite hockey game to this day.
TH3BR3W  +   214d ago
I agree. I mean they nhl nhl arcade but its far out of reality but fun.
mrmarx  +   212d ago
review is trash..
TH3BR3W  +   212d ago
Mind iterating on why you think it's trash?
memots  +   212d ago
he's a one bubble wonder. you won't get any kind of intelligent reply anyway.
Callediceman  +   210d ago
i was upset they didnt do a port for ps4/xbone. heres to hoping they really step up the graphics for next gen. im gettin sick of seeing the same 3 people in the crowd and the not up to par player models (nothing like fifa or madden) i mean come on EA just because your the only hockey game available doesnt mean you can rest on your laurels
nategrigs  +   202d ago
I agree with most of your post, but unfortunately they can rest on their laurels because they put out the only hockey game.

I think that next gen games will have much better graphics+more animations. Hopefully they improve the AI too
caseh  +   210d ago
'Nearly the same as NHL '13 with a little bit more muddy textures here and there.'

Should read 'nearly the same as NHL '09'. Last one I bought, every year the games are flaunted with gimmicky things like 'awesome new career modez' or 'EPIC PHYSICS' showcases that do the rounds a month before release.

Then we go out, buy the game only to realise everything good with the last game is gone. There are some nice new features, along with some crap ones. tweaked gameplay, updated rosters. That about sums the franchise up.
#6 (Edited 210d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Callediceman  +   203d ago
i swear you read my mind...

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NHL 14

Average Score 8.2 Reviews(47)
Release Dates
PS3 Release Dates
US 10 September 2013
Xbox 360 Release Dates
US 10 September 2013