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NHL 12 Review

NHL 12 Review

Be a GM mode is always a fun experience. The ability to take your franchise and turn it into a dominant dynasty, constantly competing for the Stanley cup, is a definite thrill. However, it seems like with all the emphasis that was placed on the massive improvements made to the Be a Pro mode, some of the glaring problems of the past within Be a GM still exist. All of these problems relate to the AI GM's and coaches. Experienced Be a GM players know that the first thing to do upon entering this mode is to turn off the control the coaches have over their rosters due to the boneheaded and occasionally costly decisions that are made by the AI. The opposing GM's are as stupid as usual, making ridiculous trades that make absolutely no sense and leaving them at a massive disadvantage while denying rational trade offers that benefit both teams. The cap management system and player contract offers have been made completely true to real life, which allows interesting options such as the ability to offer another team's restricted free agent a deal and if they accept, your team would have to give that team draft picks. The player growth system within the game is very flawed as a team containing mediocre to good young talent can easily develop into a team of players entirely in the 83-85 range and be under the salary cap despite this not being a remote possibility in the real world. Despite having ratings of the D to D- range for players that are experiencing a real drop off in skill due to age, these ratings never seem to actually be used as most of these players choose to retire, or are not picked up in free agency regardless of the fact that they could still be very useful to certain teams.

Presentation and broadcast like features are continually emphasised by sports game developers despite the fact that the vast majority of gamers wish that the part of the team put into developing these features spent their time creating a better on the ice experience. Despite all the effort put into these features, most of them will be skipped after the first few times. The one feature that truly breaks the mould for useless presentation features is the new Action Tracker system that has been implemented in the pause menu. In previous versions of the game, all that was seen in the pause menu was a simple stat sheet. In NHL 12 the variety of things that can be seen with ease in the pause menu is staggering. All major events can be seen in replay by a quick press of a button, selecting what to watch is easy as all it takes is moving around the 2d ice surface to each replay with the right stick. Unfortunately the commentary system has not been overhauled, so most players will probably be playing on mute after a while as the commentary can become quite obnoxious.

Conclusion


EA Canada spent most of the last year working on improving the guts of the game to provide a better and more realistic experience for fans. The new physics system was designed to improve how hitting worked, and despite a few quirks, it definitely is a massive improvement over the old hitting system. The new AI does add a lot more personality to the game however it does still have a few issues that need to be addressed going forward. The Be a Pro system has been changed entirely for the better and people that dismissed the old version due to its various flaws, definitely need to consider giving it another look in NHL 12. NHL 12 is an exceptional game and the improvements easily justify the yearly cycle it is currently running on.

This game was reviewed on the PS3.

Our Verdict


The Good
» New physics system fixs a lot of the problems that existed with hitting in previous games.
» The New AI system makes the game much more dynamic.
» The Be a Pro improvements are incredible.
 
The Bad
» The new AI system has some unfortunate quirks that cause the AI controlled players to do some stupid things.
» The Be a GM mode's biggest problem of poor out of game AI has not been fixed.
» The commentary has not been changed or improved in anyway.

9

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