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NHL 15 developer already promised that many missing features will be replaced via patches

Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) is the most played mode in EA SPORTS NHL and it’s easy to see why. Nowhere else can you build and play with a team composed of all your favorite players to create an ultimate dream team. Take your team online and face-off against other fan created teams from around the hockey world. The NHL 15 puck and collision physics have received an overhaul as well which has resulted in an intriguing experience. The hitting in the NHL franchise has never been this enjoyable as players will now collide into one another and react even without a bodycheck having been thrown and big hits send a player (or both) flying back on the ice. After the initial hit has occurred, the impact is not finished as other skaters can trip over fallen bodies or a player who has been bumped off the puck may fall backwards into another player causing them to fall down as well. As may happen in the real NHL, player collision of any kind can cause all kinds of mayhem on the ice and NHL 15 has captured this aspect perfectly.
Quite possibly the biggest gripe, however, is the fact that some of the series’ most popular features, like Online Team Play, GM Connected, and the EA Sports Hockey League, are completely absent. Operation Sports has a good rundown of all of the missing features, but the game’s devs are already promising that some of the (sadly many) missing features will be replaced via patches. Also disturbing is the fact that most of these missing features are present and accounted for in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, seemingly punishing those who wish to pick up the game on their new, shiny, expensive new-gen consoles.
A great amount of effort has gone into modeling the crowds as well. In the past during the sweeps of the arena you would see fans dressed identically moving in unison which would create a hairline fracture in immersion. That issue has been addressed, but not eliminated; there are fewer clones in the crowd, but you will still see fans making the same motions. Nice touches have been made like the presence of rival fans and varied behavior for the spectators. It is both cool and unbelievably frustrating to see a rival fan unabashedly cheering after a goal has been scored on your team at home.

The strangest one, in my opinion, is the complete gutting of Live the Life. Live the Life was NHL14’s new and deeper iteration of Be a Pro. You’d start in the minors and work your way up. You’d have to deal with coaches, the media and trying to play to impress the fans. You’d then get drafted depending on how good you were and got a chance to play for an NHL job. All that is gone in NHL 15. You don’t start in the minors, you start by getting drafted seemingly at random or by choosing your team manually. Gone is the tension and fun of trying to dominate minor hockey to be picked as the best player in the draft. You don’t even have to worry about messing up because you can’t be sent to the AHL. Your NHL spot is assured. Worst of all, you can’t simulate the play when you’re on the bench. That’s something terrible from NHL 9 that was fixed because of how boring it is to watch the CPU play by itself but EA somehow decided to bring it back.
While there are a number of complaints, the game is still a joy to play. Gameplay is satisfying, there is enough to keep anyone entertained and hockey fans will be happy with how the game plays. It is time however, that EA steps up the game and delivers a truly next generation hockey experience. NHL 15 is far from that experience, but worth diving into if you are a hockey fan or want a decent sport title to play with friends.
All that being said, however, NHL 15 is still a strong package, and hopefully the patches to replace those missing features will return sooner or later. If you’re a hockey fan, NHL 15 may be the only game in town, but it’s certainly worth a look. NHL 15 has some good additions to the game but they have a long way to go if they want to make this game as realistic as possible. The additions of the skill stick, and full body physics are great and really improve the game, but the lack off game modes that should have been included in this game are a big disappointment and have really angered the fans of the game. EA has said that they will roll out updates that will include missing features but we will see if that happens.