NHL 09 garnered many awards and was considered the top NHL and Sports game of the year and the last few years to be exact. EA Sports is lacing up the skates once again for another season and with some new updates and tweaks to the gameplay created NHL 10. A demo was recently released over Xbox Live and the Playstation Network and GamePlasma is here to give you our impressions before the game releases on September 15th, 2009.
Hitting the Ice
There are a lot of new additions to the game this year with brand new gameplay modes to spice up the action. One of the biggest additions this year is the all new board play mechanics. Players can pin opponents against the boards making room for a kick pass or to stall the puck behind the goalie. With drop and bounce passes in the mix of it all, puck physics like in real hockey get players to pay attention to what’s going on around them on the ice. The players themselves are given a bit more options. There is post whistle play, physical skill abilities and shot mechanics. Star players are upgraded a bit, giving the ability to shoot the puck with more agility like catching rebounds on the fly and shooting from your knees.
Although the players are improved, goalies have also been upgraded thankfully. New goalie animations populate them throughout the entire league. If you remember the stale goalie movements of NHL 09, you’ll be happy to know that the goalies of NHL 10 are a bit more challenging this time around. It won’t be as easy to put the puck in the net and don’t be surprised if you hear the ping off the post a little more often. There is everything from desperate lunges, quicker shot reactions just better awareness in general.
As I mentioned earlier with the post whistle play, you’re instigators and antagonizes can come out into the fold. You can face wash players, push and shove them and even get into fights. If you’re knocking the opposing teams star player around don’t be surprised if you see their enforcer coming running at you later on. Intimidation is a huge part of this years release and really affects the team’s moral, so make sure you’re making the right decision when you drop the gloves. You’ll get a reaction for every action, there will be penalties given out for unsportsmanlike conduct. A new revamp is the games fighting engine. To bring you closer to the action, first person fighting comes into play and really gives you the chance to feel like that enforcer. Using the analog sticks to throw your punches you’ll need some real skill if you want to survive out there.
Despite all the inside changes to the game, the game on the outside has gotten a facelift as well. Towel waving and board banging fans populate the arenas and intensify once the exciting post-season play comes around. There is a Battle for the Cup mode which allows you to jump straight into the playoffs with your favorite team if dynasty mode isn’t doing it for you. GM mode gives you the opportunity to be the man himself and manage your team from the front office. You can give out new contracts, make trades, get call-ups or send down and change your roster however you need too. Finally, we haven’t seen much of the EA Sports Hockey League yet and you get a very brief taste of it in the demo. If it’s anything like last year but with technical improvements and updates made then we’ll be in for quite a treat come launch day.
Make sure to keep an eye out here on GamePlasma for our review of NHL 10 which releases next week on September 15th for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.