Review: NHL 18 (Playstation 4 & Xbox One)
Summer is officially over, it’s getting colder, you are starting to wear your warm sweaters again and somehow out of nowhere there are pumpkins everywhere. It must be autumn! And what would be the best way to “celebrate” the start of autumn??? Stay indoors and play some winter sport videogames like NHL 18
NHL is an Ice hockey game that has, like every sports game nowadays, an annual release with roster updates and newly added features. It is a good and solid franchise where you get a good simulation of what ice hockey is and yeah that includes the infamous ice hockey fights that only gets you a minor penalty. It has all the game modes that have become standard in the most sports game: a normal mode where you face a team of your choice where you can adjust every setting, a franchise mode where you play a season with your favorite team. There also is a my team that has a card mechanic just like in FIFA and NBA 2K, where you need to complete challenges and play others to get currency to obtain new packs.
Career modes have become a pretty big deal in sport games the last few years and NHL also has a career mode but it is not very good in my opinion, it is fun to make your player and improve your stats and to be efficient as just one player to lead your team to victory but it is nothing more than that. Story modes from other games feel more like a campaign with a real story and things you can do besides just playing but NHL does not really have a great story mode besides the gameplay. I know that there are people who do not care about the story mode, but I think a career should be a little bit more than a normal franchise mode where you only play as one player and have to sit on the bench if you are playing poorly. The lag of story in the career mode has been a problem for a while in the NHL franchise that is why I make such a big deal out of this. It is for the most part exactly the same like it was a few years ago.
If you release a game annually of a sport the core gameplay will not change that drastically and that is normal but I think they should add more new things and rethink certain aspects of the game, why would people be willing the buy a new version every year if nothing has changed the last few years. To be honest, graphics look amazing and it’s really is an improvement but I am more of a “gameplay over graphics kinda guy” and I just wanted more. Don’t get me wrong this is still a fun game to play and it is a solid simulation game but we deserve more new things.
Luckily there was one big new thing!!!
This is a completely new game mode where you play 3v3 (plus a goalie) on a normal court which gives you more spaces to preform more spectacular plays. It is more like an arcade mode with a comeback mechanic where you can score big points at once. You play 2 min quasars but you keep playing until a team has 7 points. This game mode has besides an exhibition mode and an online mode some kind of a campaign mode which was pretty fun. I spent most of my time playing NHL 18 on NHL Threes because it is a more casual way to get into the game but after playing it for a while you start to make some wacky plays. I am very happy that they added this game mode to a besides that non innovating game.
I know I was very hard to this game but a game that comes out every year just needs some new things, how good and solid the fundamentals of the game are. Luckily they added the NHL Threes which almost saved the sinking ship but they need to promise me something for NHL 19: update the career mode and add some story to it, introduce some new gameplay mechanics and keep working on NHL Threes since it simply is awesome.