The gameplay in NHL 15 was rock-solid, but the feature set left a lot to be desired. For NHL 16, EA Sports sought to add back the features fans had grown to love, such as EASHL, fantasy drafts in Be a GM mode and simming ahead in Be a Pro.
Even if the developers had stopped there and simply given gamers the same on-ice action, there would have been some really happy people in the NHL gaming community. They didn't just throw in features; there are new gameplay elements to discuss as well, and it has NHL 16 looking like one of the standouts of the sports video game season.
Release Date: September 15
Platforms: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
From dragging a foot to stay onside to the subtle deflections of the puck or disrupting passing lanes, EA Sports has set out to make every position on the ice important.
Whether you play as a forward, defenseman or goalie, NHL 16 delivers a balanced gameplay experience that makes every position on the ice meaningful to team success. With gameplay innovation on offense and defense, players have new tools to not only score goals but to prevent them as well.
Gamers who played the EASHL beta in July and early August could attest to some of the new interactions that are possible in the game this year. This video clip shows off some of the nuances that have been added. Experienced fans of the series will notice more of the details.
Control the Crease
The new balance extends to the men in net.
Goalies have long been bystanders that felt more CPU-controlled in the NHL series for years. The new controls in the images below give a glimpse of what gamers can now do with their goalies:
Perhaps playing goalie might actually be fun in this year's game. If you watched the way the goalies moved in the video above, you can see that there's now more control than ever of the men in the crease.
To no one's surprise, the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby is the highest-rated player in NHL 16 with a 96 overall rating, per EASports.com. The 28-year-old future Hall of Famer had 84 points in 77 games for the Penguins, but he didn't capture the ultimate prize.
That belonged to the man in second place in the player ratings and his teammates.
Jonathan Toews, the captain of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, is just behind Crosby with a 94 overall rating. How good will the Blackhawks be in NHL 16?
Consider this: The Blackhawks are the only team in the game that has two players in the Top 10. Defenseman Duncan Keith is one point behind Toews with a 93. Chicago's excellence goes even deeper than that, as Patrick Kane (92) and Marian Hossa (90) are both rated at a 90 or better.
Here's a look at the Top 21 players in the game this year:
|Top 21 Players in NHL 16|
|Sidney Crosby||Pittsburgh Penguins||96|
|Jonathan Toews||Chicago Blackhawks||94|
|Carey Price||Montreal Canadiens||94|
|Shea Weber||Nashville Predators||94|
|Alex Ovechkin||Washington Capitals||93|
|Duncan Keith||Chicago Blackhawks||93|
|Drew Doughty||Los Angeles Kings||93|
|Steven Stamkos||Tampa Bay Lightning||93|
|Henrik Lundqvist||New York Rangers||93|
|Pavel Datsyuk||Detroit Red Wings||93|
|Ryan Suter||Minnesota Wild||93|
|Jonathan Quick||Los Angeles Kings||93|
|John Tavares||New York Islanders||92|
|Jamie Benn||Dallas Stars||92|
|Corey Perry||Anaheim Ducks||92|
|Patrick Kane||Chicago Blackhawks||92|
|Evgeni Malkin||Pittsburgh Penguins||92|
|Anze Kopitar||Los Angeles Kings||92|
|Tuuka Rask||Boston Bruins||92|
|Pekka Rinne||Nashville Predators||92|
|Henrik Zetterberg||Detroit Red Wings||92|
Picking Chicago in an online game almost seems unfair.
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