NHL 18 Review: A Mundane Experience
NHL is a lesser known sports game from EA, it is definitely not at the same level as FIFA but does exceptionally well compared to NBA Live. The hockey game, each year, tries to be the finest digital ice hockey experience and this year gets developers one step closer to their goal.
If you have played any of the previous games then you will feel right at home with NHL 18. There is very little to learn but there is a nice practice mode in place to get you up to speed with things. Gameplay has received some changes such as the new offensive deke moves, more control when defending, more refined animations. However, in terms of keeping the player engaged with new modes and features, it is a disappointment.
Developers have made improvements to the training and the basic fundamentals of ice hockey via the Training Camp. Using this mode, you will be able to learn every aspect of the game through videos and training exercise similar to FIFA. The coach feedback is without a doubt the best feature from recent games. After each session of the game you will get graded in different areas but in this year’s installment, training videos from On-Ice trailer and Training Camp will help you understand your mistakes and improve.
As far as gameplay goes, there aren’t any changes apart from the aforementioned dekes which allow you to have more control over the puck. The most major elements, shooting, and passing, are pretty much the same as before.
Poke checks are more precise now when trying to grab the puck from the opponent. But there are no changes made to tackling and passing but both are fuild enough.
The most notable addition comes in the form of NHL Threes mode. It tones down the simulation element and gives it a more arcade-y feel. Commentary will switch as a more casual tone as well. The action continues without any hurdles thanks to the scrapping of ice and the offside rule.
You can also choose to play any team or select their mascot to spice things up. But there are some things you need to keep in mind when playing the Threes. Some goals, scored at certain points in the game, are worth 3 and at the same time deduct a goal from your opposing team.
NHL 18 also features a campaign where you travel the country to compete with different teams. However, it is nowhere as deep as The Journey.
The game’s modes remain the same but there is an FUT spin-off called the Expansion Draft mode that allows you to build your own teams. But you can also play as the Vegas Golden Knights.
The graphical presentation is pretty impressive but the NBC coverage remains a weak point, same as last year. Animations are pretty solid but facial expressions could have been better.
Overall, it is a great hockey game but it being popular with a niche audience, and limited financial success is stopping it from reaching its true potential.