NHL 11 is one of Electronic Arts most successful sports video games. I have gotten the opportunity to play the new game and have rated it on a number of topics including overall game play, graphics, creativity, sound/interface, single player game options and of course the online experience. Along with this I will tell you if this game is worth buying and what audiences should expect the highest level of satisfaction.
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The graphics in NHL 11 compared to 10 is definitely an upgrade. The player features are more defined and many of the players you can recognize just from facial attributes. Everything is much more crisp and clear including the rinks, goalies, and game screens. This was obviously something Electronic Arts tried to improve on.
Creativity is another thing that Electronic Arts improved on this year. One that that was changed is the faceoffs to begin the games and after each score. During these faceoffs, you experience an over the top view where you can see the referee drop the puck. This differs from the original view that NHL 10 offered where you observed the side angle. Another bit of creativity added to NHL 11 this year is the hitting. All the forechecks in this years game are different where as in NHL 10 they were all relatively the same no matter what. They added hip checking which allows you to flip the other player which is very entertaining.
The sound during and outside of gameplay has also gotten better in my opinion. The gameplay announcers seem to have more built in lines so that you no longer here the same redundant quotes during the game. Also the sound outside of gameplay has gotten much better. In NHL 10 you were stuck with the same songs for the entire games release. In NHL 11 they are uploading new song playlists that continue to give the game new sound. The interface of the game is also better. Navigating the menus is not as much of a challenge as everything is much better labeled. The online menus have gotten better and it is now easier to check your online player stats.
Single player game modes have also increased in quality. The game still offers the play now mode where you can play your friends offline. Be a pro and be a gm mode are also still available which are lots of fun if you want to play a “single” player or person during games. This can give the game a new twist. NHL 11 added a new feature this year called the “HUT” This is where you can make a player as yourself and continually make him better. To make him better you play games with him and earn cards that can upgrade your player. This is another fun new option this year.
The last and in my opinion the best upgrade this year was the Online play. In previous years the online play was not as centered around rankings, levels and records. This year your players stats are much easier to locate and people tend to take the game much more seriously. There is also the online option of shootouts. The online stats are tracked and easily accessed through the gameplay. They track all sorts of stats such as power plays and penalty kills. The only negative that I have to say about online game play is that some people still “figure skate” which can make the game not as fun and realistic.
Overall I think that the game is suitable for almost all audiences. I think that it is a must have for hockey fans and especially something that can get you ready for the upcoming season beginning on the seventh of October. Casual fans of hockey and even sports games in general can also enjoy the game and I would rate this game as an overall nine out of ten.