The demo for the new NHL 14 video game from EA Sports is now available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
The NHL series has been one of EA's best franchises for a long time, and this year's version is no different. It includes several new features that will enhance the playing experience for both hardcore gamers and casual players.
Let's take a look at the best new features that make NHL 14 a tremendous game.
The full version will be available on September 10.
New Enforcer Engine Adds Realism
Fighting is a difficult thing to master in sports video games, but EA Sports has done a wonderful job making it as life-like as ever in NHL 14.
The difference is something called the "enforcer engine."
Basically, fights now happen because of in-game events and not two players agreeing to drop the gloves after a whistle. As you can see from the enforcer engine trailer above, players react to hits and will defend their teammates just as they would in real life.
The new third-person camera angle for fights is much better than the usual first-person view because you get to see the entire ice, which includes the other players watching/jostling and the crowd on its feet. This gives the fighting action a more television-like feel, and it's a drastic improvement over previous versions of this series.
Another improvement is the fact that non-fighters don't perform as well in bouts as the more physical players do. In previous versions of this series, you could defeat a tough player such as Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara with a skilled forward such as Marian Gaborik in a small amount of time. That is much more difficult to accomplish in NHL 14.
The new post-fight celebrations that players can show off to the crowd is also new, but it really doesn't add a whole lot to the experience.
The biggest takeaway from this new enforcer engine is that fighting is now part of the game instead of something that felt too spontaneous and forced in years past. The only issue is that these fights happen a little too often, but it's not a major problem at all.
EA Sports took on a big challenge with the enforcer engine and absolutely nailed it.
NHL 94 Anniversary Mode Brings Back Great Memories
NHL 94 is one of the best sports games of all time, and to celebrate its 20th anniversary, EA Sports decided to create a mode that allows new gamers to experience a modern-day version of that classic release.
The controls are similar to what they were in 1994 because they are button-based. This means that shooting is done with one of the four buttons on the right side of the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 controller, whereas the recent versions of the game have adapted a joystick-based method of shooting the puck.
EA Sports also brought back some presentation elements from 1994 with the blue-colored ice, old-school jerseys and the star logo under each player. For a more NHL 94-like feel, use the overhead camera view. Sadly, old franchises such as the Quebec Nordiques and Hartford Whalers are not available in this NHL 94 mode.
Overall, this mode does a tremendous job of giving younger gamers a feel for what NHL 94 was like while also allowing older people to experience the game without having to dust off the old Sega Genesis console in the attic.
One-Touch Dekes Create a Better User Experience
The new one-touch deke system helps gamers take advantage of highly skilled players in a more user-friendly way.
A lot of the moves in previous games were too complicated and difficult to master without tons of practice, which lessened the experience for casual gamers.
This year's one-touch system makes pulling off brilliant moves with your favorite stars such as Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel easier and simpler. The new system does take time to fully learn, but it's not as frustrating as it was over the last few years.
This one-touch deking system couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time because, as the trailer above shows, defending in your own zone has also been much improved in NHL 14.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was a credentialed writer at the 2011 and 2013 Stanley Cup Final, as well as the 2013 NHL draft.