Video Game Review: NHL 18


Colin Kirkwood, Staff Writer

EA Sports has one again released their electronic take on hockey in NHL 18. This year’s game once again featured the same game modes such as the card collecting mode known as hockey ultimate team, EA sports hockey league where players can come together and take on others, and the old standby franchise mode. But this year franchise mode has been revamped with a new feature. With the recent expansion taking place in the league, the developers decided to give the player the ability to draft their own expansion team in franchise mode.

In addition to this feature, franchise mode once again returns with the ability to relocate your team, preform a full rebrand, and sign new players. Overall, this mode returns virtually untouched. The trusty stand-by mode that is Be-A-Pro has once again returned, with no changes made. Personally I feel that this mode is in desperate need of a shake-up. Perhaps a way to inject some excitement into it would be an introduction of a storyline but overall it’s a solid play. Draft champions has also been placed in this year’s edition. This game mode revolves around drafting rental player cards and going head-to-head against other user drafted teams. The very popular hockey ultimate team is also featured again. This is also a card based game where players collect player cards in order to assemble the best team possible.

The lone new feature to this game was the insertion of the new NHL Threes mode. The premise of this mode is to travel across continent of North America playing against every professional team on the map. The map is broken down into four circuits: Pacific, Atlantic, Central, and Metropolitan. Players earn star points by defeating teams which are in turn used to buy new players for their team and to recruit mascots from the NHL onto their team.

I can’t get enough of this new mode! This is just what the franchise needed to inject life into the game. The fast paced 3-on-3 gameplay combined with the new deking controls make for an instant hit with any hockey fan. One of my favorite features if how once you defeat a team, you can then wear their jerseys. This appealed to me personally since I am a jersey fan. Another attractive feature to this mode is that players have the ability to team up with a friend and take on the map as a team. I tested this with a friend of mine and we had a blast. The zany hitting mechanics that go along with this arcade mode induce a number of collisions that are sure to draw a laugh of every player as well.

When it comes to regular gameplay, found that things are basically unaltered from last year. Besides the new deking abilities that I mentioned, the overall stagnant feel has returned. Since NHL 15 the presentation has been the same with the NBC look and feel. The commentary needs to be upgraded or added to since the same quirks and phrases can be picked up. Im not necessarily saying that this is a bad thing, just a refresh would go a long way. Perhaps this could be established with new camera angles or new in game announcers. The graphics are once again top of the line in the only professional hockey game available on the market. Players represent their real on ice counterparts to a T.

Wrapping things up, it’s clearly evident that EA sports worked hard on bringing something new and exciting to this year’s version of the game and threes was just what the doctor ordered. A solid title year in and year out and this version falls right in line. However, a gameplay shake-up would do wonders for this franchise. My final rating is 7.5 out of 10 pucks skittered wide of the net.