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There is far too many negative things in NHL 15 that pull it back

NHL 15 is a game fans of the series should be lining up to buy but instead fans are proposing a boycott. Listen, whatever the reason may be, the next gen hardware is too labor intensive, the vicious yearly development cycle sports games are forcing the teams to maybe put resources where they can be placed elsewhere in future years. They very may well have legitimate reasons for NHL 15 lacking these modes but that doesn’t excuse them from criticism. The fact that NHL 15 has nearly none of the game modes from last year’s version is unacceptable and quite frankly extremely disheartening. NHL 15 is really fun but I need more than basic quick matches to get me invested into a sports game in 2014.
Now because I’m an NHL rookie the diluted game modes didn’t have any major bearing on my overall enjoyment of the game, the game being very, very good! Movement easily captures the swift glides of real Ice-Hockey while shooting with the analog sticks feel incredibly natural. The in-depth control schemes allow for very precise strategies if that’s your thing, I’ll stick to waging a war of attrition. (Arcade Pro Tip: Relentlessly smashing the NHL puck away the moment you get possession is NOT a successful way to play your friends!). I jumped right into a few games and enjoyed all of them. Playing with simpler controls allowed me to ratchet up the difficulty to balance the game for the appropriate level of challenge I was looking for, so the game always felt just how I wanted it to. This also meant I could play as any team I wanted to (although I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t pick the New Jersey Devils) and still have a fighting chance.
The most significant improvements came in the skating system. It’s no longer possible to reach top end speed after taking three or four strides, a much needed improvement over the NHL 13 and NHL 14 additions that cuts down on odd-man rushes. Now, they rightly occur only when someone makes an ill-advised pinch in the offensive zone and pays the price. Offensive players are smarter now, especially on the power play, rewarding those who commit to cycling the puck instead of only trying to rush up-ice. As much as these aspects have improved in NHL 15, they still do not compensate for still horribly broken hitting system. According to NHL 15, there is no such thing as a minor bump or staying strong on your skates. Every collision in NHL 15 brutally wipes out the recipient and would be the #1 hit of the week in NHL 15. I haven’t seen this type of hockey since the NHL Hitz series (a legitimate competitor for the title of “best non-EA hockey series ever”). It’s disappointing to see such an arcade-like setting, especially when I made sure the simulation setting is ‘hardcore,’ as high as it can go. The improvements in NHL 15 aren’t negligible, but it’s hard not to notice how badly the hitting system needs fixing for next year. 

Sure, it’s an EA Sports game, so there’s a lot of hilarious bugs in NHL 15 that send players screaming into the stands, or crazy demonic limbs every one hundredth collision or so. There is a new physics engine in NHL 15 that is visually improved over what the last game offered. But the biggest improvement in NHL 15, and really you can give all the credit to the console, is the appearance of NHL 15 as a whole. In NHL 15 the crowds are more detailed, the lighting is superb, and the “broadcast-like” presentation is a thrill to see. But unfortunately, there is far too many negative things in NHL 15 that plaguing the popularity of the latest game in a prestigious lineage of shinny-sim.
Good news, Live the Life mode has been replaced back to the awful Be A Pro mode, and you can’t skip to your next shift. It’s unplayable. NHL 15 could have been the next best thing. The presentation is stunning. Gary Thorne and Bill Clement did a great job, but with Doc and Eddie, EA finally nailed it. The arenas and actual gameplay in NHL 15 will keep you coming back for more. Building a team in HUT or Be A GM can be a decent diversion. It just doesn’t feel like it should be a $60 game. It’s incomplete. You might be better off buying Destiny if you want a complete deal. But hey, I really enjoy the NHL series, and for the next-generation, NHL 15 is a good start, but it falls short.