Hockey heats up with NHL17

NHL 17 (EA Sports)

Platforms: Xbox One and PlayStation 4

IF terms such as deking, poke-checked and shouldering down pucks mean nothing to you, then join the queue.

If they do, then you’ll know they are all ice hockey terms.

Don’t be alarmed though if they don’t – as Australians we’re not really exposed to the world of ice hockey like the Americans or Canadians.

Actually it should come as no surprise to the more informed gamers this game is the product of EA Canada’s team of programmers.

Like most EA Sports franchise titles, NHL 17 is just one in a never-ending annual release of continually updating titles that seem to add a little every year.

Last year, the not-surprisingly titled NHL 16 welcomed a new game engine that took the game ahead leaps and bounds in terms of playability.

No surprise that has continued with a number of minor alternations and tweaks to improve on what was already a solid game simulator.

One of its strengths is the sheer number of game options, with the highlight being the all new World Cup of Hockey.

Unfortunately, with only a limited number of countries actually competing in ice hockey at the highest level, there are only eight countries involved in the world cup itself, but they’ve done a pretty solid job making the whole experience feel top-notch.

In fact, the whole NHL 17 experience is just that – a total gaming experience. Gameplay is based around the premise of it being a telecast game on US network NBC, complete with full commentary.

Welcome additions include an excellent in-game tutorial/training system that involves onscreen displays that offers suggestions and hints to improve your gameplay.

They have also revamped the goal-keepers role in the game, and improved AI that increases the difficulty of the computer-controlled players particularly at higher levels.

There has also been a change in the former “Be A GM” mode, which has now been renamed to franchise mode, where you can become the general manager of any NHL team.

WE RATE IT

Graphics: 8

Gameplay: 8.5

Playability: 8.5

OVERALL: 83%

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