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.