Demo Impression: NHL 13 makes tremendous leaps with gameplay
NHL 13 continues the long line of critically acclaimed NHL games. Upon playing the game, you'll notice a few changes that make the game better than ever.
Acceleration and speed actually matter in this year's game. In previous versions, you would be able to start and stop on a dime, while this one makes you take physics into consideration. Speed is also important for the first time in years. Gain enough speed by handling the puck and you'll be able to blow past idle defensemen with ease. The combination of acceleration and speed is also relevant while checking the opponents, sending them flying with a hard check going at full speed.
One of the other biggest additions to the game is the improvement to the goalies. Instead of being able to easily one-time a shot (passing in front of the late goaltender and shooting the puck off the pass) the goalie is now able to watch both players skating towards him. In fact, the goaltender is now able to keep an eye on all five members of the opposing team, making it a more thought out chance to stop the puck. Goalies also have the ability to break away from the canned animations of last year’s game. The overall animations look drastically improved along with the goalies overall ability to stop the puck. Having the most realistic goalies ever will make the game feel way more authentic that years past, and makes the game easily worthy of a purchase.
I noticed multiple improvements to the defense in NHL 13. Most notably is the ability to finally step up into a passing lane and intercept the puck. In NHL 10-12, I would position my defenders to stop the pass and cringe every time they would let it past them. If you are an aggressive defender like me, this makes the game way better. Poke checking is also much more refined to where you actually know where your stick will end up. I would get a handful of penalties per game in years past by trying to get the puck and accidentally trip a player for no reason. Stick lifts also seemed less effective than the previous entries in the game, which used to work almost all the time. I have been able to maintain aggressive defense without drawing dumb penalties that hurt my chances to win, a big plus in my book.
As far as game modes, NHL 13 is very similar to NHL 12. All of the same modes you've been used to in the past return. The online game modes look the same as well, offering little innovation to the series. It looks like the developers decided to spend more time improving and tweaking the gameplay than adding modes and options, which is fine.
NHL 13 is shaping up to be the best version in the series' long running hockey simulators. The game feels similar to NHL 12 but with all the gameplay tweaks make it feel like something new entirely. NHL 13 launches September 11th, keep it locked into Gamezone for our review closer to launch.
Are you interested in NHL 13? What’s your favorite hockey team? Let us know in the comments below.