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NHL 17 Review

NHL is back for another year and while last year’s NHL 16 was a little disappointing in some aspects, EA really seems to have stepped it up again once more.

Obviously, being from the UK, I’m not really a hockey fan, however there’s always been something about the action in the NHL series that has drawn me in. Unfortunately then, last year the series felt a little stripped down and the NHL 15 was hardly the best either, however that’s all changed with NHL 17, which finally feels like it is skating its way to recovery.

While NHL 17 is packed with the sort of game modes that you’ll come to expect from most EA Sports franchises, it’s always been the gameplay which is the real star. In this respect long standing gameplay mechanics like Skill Stick and the physics system are still present and very much a joy to work with. There are a few improvements on the gameplay side too, such as net battles and improved goalies, while puck physics and player movement has also been enhanced. There are a few issues, such as the commentary team not keeping up or the occasional break in the frame rate, but other than that it’s a pretty smooth experience when out on the ice.

The main changes this year really come outside of the action. With lots of new modes being added to fill up the empty space that NHL 16 left behind. This means you’ll be playing modes such has Draft Champions, where each round challenges managers to choose the best players to build a balanced team; Hockey Ultimate Team mode; Franchise Mode and World Cup of Hockey, where for the first time you can take part in a full International Tournament Mode, which features numerous teams, players and uniforms from the world of International hockey. Of course all the fan favourite modes are included too, so the menus this year really are feature packed.

Of all the options within the menus, Franchise Mode is one that sticks out for me, as it give you the ability to manage profits through ticket sales and also the ability to improve the arena. This means that not only will you be trying to get a decent team on the ice, but you’ll also have to run a successful business and keep the fans happy at the same time, which can be quite the juggling act. To me this is a nice departure from just playing hockey, as fun as that may be.

One of the other more interesting aspects of NHL 17 is the ability to Edit your Team and the Arena. For teams, new customisation tools allow you to edit to your team’s entire uniform, including patterns, colours, patches and logos. Arena customisation meanwhile, allows you to customise every detail from the ice surface, to the goal light, to the scoreboard and even the goal songs and FX. It’s a lot of fun to play around with these options and it certainly adds something a little extra to the game, other than just taking to the ice and trying to win the fans adulation.

On the presentation side, NHL looks as great as ever. Mascots actually dance around and the intros really build up into the action. EA really seems to have captured (what I imagine it would be like) to sit and watch a game of Ice Hockey. As mentioned, the commentary could be better and offer more variety, but NHL 17 certainly looks as good as any other EA Sports title out there.

Overall, it’s fair to say that NHL 17 is an improvement over the previous year’s offering. At last we have a load of modes that are worthy of the gameplay. It seems pretty obvious that the franchise went backwards for a little while, however with NHL 17 it is finally moving once again in the right direction.

Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: PS4)


+ Packed with game modes
+ Gameplay as fun as ever
+ Looks fantastic


- Commentary could offer more variety

Edited On 19 Sep, 2016

( 3 )
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 1 month ago
Im sticking with 17 not seen enough as a csual player to change over. It plays identical to the last one I thought but I am a very casual user
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 1 month ago
16 i mean
Joe Anderson (Editor)'s avatar
Joe Anderson (Editor) 1 month ago
Yeah, I'm more of a casual player of this game too.

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