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NHL 15 is a game fans of the series should be lining up to buy but instead fans are proposing a boycott

I’ve actually owned NHL 15 for just around a month now, but I avoided writing a review until now so as to avoid posting a knee-jerk reaction. This way, I would not give the game too high of a grade because of its broadcast package (more on that later) nor too low of one because of the hitting system (again, stay tuned). Now that I have played with or against every NHL team in the game, I finally have deemed it time to share my thoughts on a game which released with sky-high expectations based on its trailers.
 
Immediately jumping in I looked through the menus (the layout following the uniform of EA’s sister sports titles) and noticed the absence of a Season Mode, although seasons can be played in the “Be a GM” Mode it’s baffling why it wasn’t included standalone in the first place. Throughout the game providing a very bare-bones and needlessly limited experience, made even more frustrating that the 360 and PS3 versions include all the missing modes. So it’s up to you, style over substance? Do you go for the visual glory of the current-gen version albeit for a more brief experience or the longevity of the last-gen version at the sacrifice of sharper visuals? The choice alone is infuriating especially for EA Canada’s first current-gen hockey game especially at its full retail price.
 
The game is completely void of game modes. As someone who has a Madden franchise, an upcoming NBA 2K player career and a FIFA Ultimate Team coming up in a few weeks, for as good as the gameplay is, I need a reason, a real reason, more than just head to head play to keep the disc in the unit.  Word came out a week or two ago that EASHL was absent from the PS4/XB1 versions of NHL 15. Fans were understandably upset. EASHL has been a staple of the series, a game mode where you and your friends create a team and compete vs. other teams in seasons and into the playoffs. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable game modes in NHL, if not all of the EA Sports stable, when you play a game of 6 on 6 where everyone is competent, it’s some of the best competitive gaming you’ll ever have. It’s a major part of the reason people purchase a new iteration of the series every year. It’s absence was a curious one seeing as how popular the mode was and how heavily touted it was by EA every year. If they came out with a NHL game for the launch of the PS4/XB1 the omission would’ve been understandable, but this? No.

 
Coming into a new generation of consoles isn’t easy. So much so that they didn’t even bother putting out a next-gen version of last years title (the one that launched mere months before the new consoles). The team was tasked with re-designing the entire engine, nearly from scratch, in order for it to flow seamlessly with their overhauled (and new) graphics engine. The display of NHL 15 is easy to pick up on. It’s gorgeous. Everything feels smoother, all with a beautifully put together polish that makes it even more difficult to determine whether you’re actually watching the real sport or not.
 
So how do you score something like this? It has the fundamentals down, but the NEED to play just doesn’t exist unless you completely love hockey. As a slight fan of hockey, I can’t justify it. Yes, I’ll shout to the mountains that the gamplay is absolutely worth a purchase, but it’s concerning that EA has gone with the reverse greenlight game by delivering a shallow title for full price and then delivering more features down the line in a patch when the title is inevitably on sale. Damn. I don’t like being put in this situation.
 
All in all, it’s things like this that show me EA is headed in the right direction with this game for the future, but it will certainly take some time as this year’s edition was far from polished.