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Ice hockey according to EA Sports

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Season 2021/22 for professional stars and hockey stripes It starts with the success of Tampa Bay Lightning, the authors of the historical “back to back” in the past two seasons. The NHL presents itself this year with arenas full of cheers and some news: Most intriguing is without a doubt the Seattle Kraken series’ absolute debut at Climate Pledge Arena (formerly Key Arena), a legendary venue that has hosted NBA Supersonics games until they move to Oklahoma City. Back to normal on snow also applies to EA’s popular NHL video game series that has – finally – benefited from the much-anticipated next-gen release. Last year, thanks to the pandemic, we had to settle NHL 21 on a lighter note, with some improved approaches (“be loyal‘, for example) but with a gameplay that is no longer time-honored.

For the 2021/22 season EA Vancouver Run for cover by revolutionizing the game engine (graphical and physical) to emulate it, passing through the game Frostbite already used in the Madden NFL and FIFA series. Popular X-Factor Superstars from the NFL football brand have also been named the best-selling NFL football brand of all time. No, many Crosby, Ovechkin, McDavid, Panarin and Partners won’t have to go up on stage on the popular TV show and sing a song: as already the case with Brady, Rodgers, Mahomes, Watts and their co-stars in the past few years in the Madden NFL, ice stars will have Specific skills that will distinguish them on the ice from the rest of the players. The news does not end here: many little things have been added in the franchise modes, World of Chel and HUT, and the “puck and ice” version of the popular Ultimate Team.

more realistic tablet

Those who go on the ice every year with the series produced by EA Vancouver will immediately notice a significant difference in NHL 22 in terms of game physics: the various movements of Kucherov, Kane and MacKinnon I have changed from those experienced in NHL 21. Above all, their way of skating has been changed: faster and more agile players will be appreciated for a cleaner, more elegant style, and slower players will appear

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More foolish and less effective. Overall, thanks to Frostbite, athletes feel more responsive and fluid than in the past while overall gameplay speed has slowed down. The disc glides more naturally on the ice and has less stick stick compared to later links of the chain. Disc tweaks from the first moments of the game are revealed more difficult to control, less controllable steps and conclusions quickly. To make the game more realistic, EA Vancouver has also worked on “poke checks” (the blow made by the defender with the stick to remove the disc from the attacker) and above all on the “body examination“Very well-liked by the public and the balustrades of the NHL yards. In general, it seems that any kind of contact on the ice has benefited from the application of Frostbite: in a sport of this type it is an essential aspect. Passes have also benefited from this plus it is difficult for players to intercept puck disc or be in an ideal position to receive puck and score.

Artificial intelligence

The CPU in the last episodes of the series left something to be desired: the AI ​​(which also controls our players) often surprises with absurd and unrealistic gameplay. This villain has been pushed not only into offline games and modes but Especially when we found playing online: Marks often inexplicably jumped and it was easy for an experienced user to put his leg near the door waiting for a trump to return. In NHL 22, defenders, finally, make defenders and keep an eye on anyone who approaches their goal, while goalkeepers have greatly limited the goals scored in their position.

The CPU has also made progress in building the game: actions are more fluid and above all less clear (even if traffic percentages are saved). In NHL 21 to score, all too often one had to have a pesky soccer-style tiki-taka that thankfully disappeared in the new chapter: the AI ​​improved even if it was attacked in certain situations. It stays a little steady when they don’t have the disc. On the penalty front, the referees’ whistles make more sense even if they are very limited in numerical terms: in general, being too aggressive as in NHL 21 can be counterproductive.

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x factor

One of the great new features of NHL 22 is the X-Factors-Specific skills distinguish Phenomenology from ordinary players. Superstar’s skills (there are nine divided into six classes) range from shooting power to speed in passing the disc and so on. This is an important addition that has major implications for the game dynamics of NHL 22: as happened the first time with the Madden NFL (by the way, see our review of Madden NFL 22), these skills should be calibrated perfectly. Because having a goalkeeper like Andrei Vasilevskiy or Tuukka Rask with superpowers can spoil the very realism of the simulation, as well as using a position like Leon Draisaitl or Sidney Crosby who is able to score goals and provide valuable passes in all circumstances.

The difference between a player who has the X-Factor (there are about fifty players who have this type of skill) and one who doesn’t is immediately evident on the ice, especially in attack. The choice to customize NHL stars is interesting and seems perfect for the World of Chel mode that allows you to challenge other players online with your virtual ego – adding these upgrades and abilities to your hero is great. For game modes, The franchise hasn’t changed much compared to last year Which introduced a series of significant improvements, while the possibility to play online in your franchise against those created by your friends is still missing: the functionality that made EA disappear (also in Madden NFL) for several years already. Among the novelties we note the possibility of sharing your list (it will come in a few months), while the survey in the beginner’s rating becomes unexpected and gives surprises thanks to the addition of the “Fog of War”.

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On the other hand, player ratings are rather dubious: various values ​​of Gretzky, Lemieux, Howe and Partners make you smile (to say the least). The “Be A Pro” and “Hockey Ultimate Team” modes do not offer any particular novelties: the first was taken as a whole by NHL 21; The second one – apart from introducing the aforementioned X-Factor – doesn’t do much to report except for small changes in game menus and in the HUT Rush (rewards and prizes).

Very few glitches

We tested NHL 22 on PlayStation 5 and Bugs, glitches do not decrease: Some are really silly, others are funny. The game’s new angles are very nice, and they present snowboard action well, while the lighting (no ray tracing!) has taken advantage of the new consoles’ computing power and is an important step forward. Series. The grooves of the left snowboard skis are amazing and it’s good to see the players exchanging a few lines before the match.

As for the facial animation, there have been improvements but ‘only’ for the athletes: for the coaches, the situation is fictional, with some coaches animated in a rough way, and in some cases, with disproportionate bodies.

And then woe to the speed of an NHL 22 game: Nobody knows why but EA Vancouver emulators are struggling and showing mysterious drops in frame rate. What is remarkable is that there is no new ice hockey arena (Those of the islanders), when in fact the stats exploiting augmented reality are a pretty sight to behold. However, for those who play online, we point out the absence of cross-play.

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