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NHL 13

Posted On:   Publisher: EA Sports

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Now that I have been playing the NHL 13 Demo now for a few days I have a few impressions on the game with some likes and of course some dislikes. From the opening scene of the game I have to say I was disappointed it really similar to last yearís game but itís just the opening scene. Right? Then the first menu pops up and well itís looking a lot like last yearís games as well . Starting to get a little worried I had to hop in a game. Thatís when my doubts started to get smoothed away like a Zamboni smoothing the ice. When the teams take the ice the presentation is a lot flashier and in my it gets you hyped up for the game. Sure all that stuff adds to the experience of the game but what about all the new features they put into this year? I will break down the ones that are present in the demo for you now.

 
 

First up we have the True Performance Skating. If you remember last yearís game you could skate up the ice full speed, cut on a dime, make one deke and light the lamp. If you were to try that this year you will find yourself crashing into the boards and taken out on a stretcher watching the rest of the game from a hospital bed. Well at least your virtual player will. The arcade feel of last yearís skating has been replaced with the most authentic skating I have ever played in a hockey video game. Some players are going to have more agility and balance or others may have more explosive speed and that is what you are going to notice right away. If you not careful and you play the puck wrong itís going to turn into a breakaway for the other team.

If you remember in last yearís game no matter how fast your player was there seemed to be the catch up logic built into the AI and the defenseman would somehow always chase you down. This year if a speed player blows by you I guarantee you are not going to catch them. It feels more realistic and will make teams play smarter and take away the cherry pick play of last yearís game. You will have a lot more freedom in the control of your player as long and you play in the limits of you player build. Itís going to take some time to truly master True Performance Skating but when you do you will appreciate the game so much more.

 
 

Next up is the EA Sports Hockey AI IQ. I canít tell you how many times I screamed at the computer AI last year. They would be so far out of position or if the AI got a breakaway they would all of the sudden dump the puck in the zone. The best one is when the goalie would just pass the puck out to the opposite team for them to score an easy goal. So frustrating in NHL 12. From what I played in the demo the AI is a lot better than last year which I say wouldnít be too hard because last yearís AI was terrible. The players seem to have a better understanding of whatís going on at ice level. They get into passing lanes and try to take away one time shots. They also seem to handle and anticipate where the puck might go and position themselves to break up the other teamís plays. I really like the AI and canít wait to see how it reacts and responds with different teams and talent.

The final thing Iím going to talk about is the new goalies. Last year there where so many glitch goals that all but killed the game. Did EA fix it? Nope and I still to this day do not understand why. But thatís up to EA I guess. I went in to Free Skate mode which is available in the demo for a long time peppering the goalie with wrist shots, slap shots and came away feeling that the ones that got by the goalie were pretty legit. The goalie uses the poke check a lot more taking away a lot of those close cheap goals that ruined last yearís game for me personally. They have a lot more animations making the saves seem more realistic with the larger range of motion the goalie has. The slide and dive is a lot more believable as well. Goalies in NHL 12 seemed to be straight as a board and looked very arcade like. By the time I was done with Free Skate I had 60 shots on goal and came away with only 10 goals. Okay, so not great on my end but you have to think itís one on one and the goalie is at a disadvantage so I definitely like its potential. So I jumped into some games. Unfortunately, they only let you play the 3rd period of the games but the most goals I had scored in the period was two goals. So we may be onto something here. I am definitely liking what I see.

 
 

My final thoughts of the NHL 13 Demo? I do like it. I think that the changes that they made are drastic in some areas and somethings like the menus didnít see enough and need an update. But I have to say I would rather have the gameplay updates rather than the menu changes. But for $60 we really should get both. I realize that this is just a demo and a lot the full game features are left out but from what I got to play and see Iím pretty excited for the release of the game. EA Sports, this is for you. I hope you fix any glitch goals that happen because we all know itís just a matter of time before someone finds that money goal.

 
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