Tuesday, 18 September 2018 12:30

REVIEW: NHL 19 (Xbox One)

Written by Melekharn
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The last sporting game I ever played was probably about 20 years ago, sitting in the “kid’s corner” of the family’s favourite restaurant playing what I think was Looney Tunes All Stars. I’ve always been a firm believer that if you want to play a sport, you should actually go out and do it. I was a little apprehensive when SubZero slide on into my DMs with the codes for NHL 19 to review. I mean, EA have always created incredible games that are easy to pick up and play, filled with pumping sound tracks and stunning graphics, but a sports game?

Initial impressions of the game were quite high, with NHL 19 offering a suggested control system based on your previous experience with other licensed NHL games. You’ll be able to change these setting as you see fit, but the fact that they haven’t just included a “one style suits all” sat well with me. It suggested to me that EA Sports are really wanting anybody to be able to pick up the game, easily play and enjoy it. This was further emphasized as your progress into the main menu. The game asks you to pin 3 game types of your choice to the menu. Once again you can change this up at a later time if you so choose to, but finding the game types you hadn’t pinned is as simple as scrolling down.

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NHL 19 offers players a number of different experiences when playing. If you want the full experience, you’ll join Franchise Mode, where the player will be required to manage their team; be it trading players with other teams, upgrading the home arena and adjusting the ticket prices.

Alternatively you can take control of an existing team in Season Mode, where you’ll have the option to trade players and make changes to the team’s roster without the having to worry about your budget. A multitude of other game style exist within NHL, but we mustn’t give too much away.

EA Sports lives up to its reputation with the in game sound track. Whether you’re browsing through the menu waiting for a game to load or in the middle of a game, you are greeted with an upbeat and constantly changing playlist. This was a pleasant and much welcomed change to the last game I reviewed. In game, you are treated to all the sounds of what I assume would be a real life Ice Hockey game; the shredding of ice under skates; the slam of bodies against the protective barriers and the sharp crack of a hockey puck being launched towards the goal. In game commentary was also a pleasant surprise, with the recorded voices being edited to seamlessly blend into something that sounded much more fluid and natural.

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Matches play very smoothly and keep you heavily involved. Newer players will enjoy hints floating above the player they are controlling, changing players, performing passes and shooting for goal are all extremely responsive. When you consider how many individual characters there are in the game, you can see why graphics are a little less than what some people have some to expect. Teams are made up of characters based on real life team members, each of them recreated in digital form. A few minor glitches in face movements was really all I encountered, with one or two players occasionally pulling a face from Garry’s Mod.

I have to say I am very impressed with this title. I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Electronic Arts really understand what players are looking for in a game and we’ve come to expect them to deliver amazing titles. Games are fast paced with plenty of action, offering the player an exciting and constantly changing game play experience against challenging AI, which is why NHL 19 proves that EA Sports is the go to developer for licenced games. EA Sports may have changed my opinion on sporting games as I am now seeing the appeal they have with people.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: EA Vancouver
  • Publisher: EA Sports
  • Genre: Multiplayer, Sports