The developers of the NHL series have made it clear for years now that their march forward in terms of simulation and veracity is unwavering, with NHL 13 being closer to the real thing (for good and bad) than players had ever experienced. But what about those who claim that simulation is overrated?
Luckily, NHL 14 won’t be leaving casual fans – or simply those looking for a less punishing game to play with friends – in the dust, announcing the brand new ‘NHL 94 Anniversary’ mode that will be included with the retail game. Featuring controls, style and yes, good old fashioned organ music pulled from the hockey title that put the sport on the video game map, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the game’s twentieth birthday.
That’s obviously not going to soften the blow of the hockey series not making the jump to next-gen consoles for this year’s release, although the team maintains that maximizing their time and energy was their main reason for holding off. But for players who have distanced themselves from the series since realistic physics and increasingly-challenging AI took precedence over goofy entertainment, the new mode looks poised to please.
Embracing the 1990s’ lunacy of blue ice, no rules and star-shaped player indicators, NHL 94 Anniversary mode looks to be a combination of old and new that makes sense from a sales standpoint. Die-hard fans who enjoy the challenge of updated AI and skating have the option to let loose and involve less-devoted players, but since the mode is based on the same engine as NHL 14 proper, the depth may be there for those who want it.
Of course, that doesn’t take away from the large strides being taken with this year’s edition of the series, and since the Anniversary mode is one in which anything goes, there will be plenty of big hits, shattered glass and dropped gloves to go along with the polished physics.We don’t know how the blue ice will look in an otherwise cutting-edge simulation, so NHL 14 is certainly a game of firsts.
Does this trip down memory lane make it more likely for you to pick up a copy of NHL 14 this year? Or would you like to see EA Sports release the game mode as downloadable content for those fans choosing to wait for a next-gen release? Share your thoughts in the comments.
NHL 14 launches September 10, 2013 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
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