Friday, September 23, 2011

EA Sports NHL 12

I don't know about those of you in other parts of the world, but here in Canada there's no escaping our National Pastime.  Whether it be my beloved Maple Leafs or the Vancouver Canucks, the Montreal Canadiens or the newly returned Winnipeg Jets, there's nothing like Hockey Night in Canada. 

Then, if you happen to be a geek like me, there's also that special time of year right before hockey season when EA Sports releases a new version of NHL Hockey.  In this case, NHL 12.

So I picked up NHL 12 by EA Sports yesterday.  I know, a little late to the party all ready.  I was finishing a Stanley Cup run on my old NHL 10 game before I picked up the new one.  How does it hold up on first impressions?  Find out after the jump!

The very first thing NHL 12 shows you when you play it for the first time is it's newest feature, the Winter Classic.  For non-hockey fans, the Winter Classic is a game that is played once a year between two teams outdoors. 

The Winter Classic is wrought with all sorts of challenges when it comes to passing, scoring goals, and even skating.  All of these things become more difficult when playing out of doors, and especially once it (seemingly inevitably) starts snowing.  It adds an interesting dimension to the game for returning players like myself, although it may confuse first time players since it makes the gameplay seem harder than it really is to learn. 

Speaking of game play, overall it is really good.  I have to admit that it's pretty hard to pick up for new players but after a little practice it becomes pretty much second nature.  For today's modern, gaming youth it doesn't seem to be any problem but for us old timers it's a long way from Mario.  Still, it's worth the trouble of learning all your moves to step behind your favourite team and go for the Cup!

Incidentally, the graphics on this game are incredible.  I skipped NHL 11 and so this is an upgrade from 10 for me and it is a HUGE improvement.  The textures, movement, facial features...everything looks so much better.  In particular the way that the players move looks a LOT more like real life.  Also I am amazed by seeing the patterns in the jerseys of the players on the ice.  The shadow/lighting effects also look true to life.  The only thing I thought looked a little off is that in the Winter Classic there are security guards walking around the seating area in grey hoodies and they look a little like they are floating around until you look at them more closely.  Seriously that is the only nothing complaint I could come up with.  An extraneous detail at the extreme edge of the screen is a little off.  So all in all I am very happy with my purchase of NHL 12.  If you're a hockey fan or just looking for a great new game to try, check it out!  Don't believe me?  See what THE GREAT ONE has to say!

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