NHL 10 - 360 - Preview

NHL 09 was one of those sports games that leapt off the screen with vivid and vibrant graphics and then blew away gamers with great gameplay.

Get ready, NHL franchise fans, the game you love is about to get much, much better.

During an event held at the Electronic Arts complex near in the Lower Mainland around Vancouver, B.C., Canada, the team behind the title showed some of the biggest and newest attributes of the next iteration in the title – which is tabbed to release on the first of September.

Improvements have been made across the board, featuring new play modes as well as new gameplay features. But while some of the new features are being kept under wraps by EA, what can be talked about are the new game modes – which include a revamped GM mode, Battle for the Cup and the new Playoff mode.

The developers on hand during the features walk-through stated that the goal was to the “the Orange Box of sports games.”

The new GM mode is the dynasty mode given a facelift. Players who embark on this will find rewards for completing goals and tasks, and the mode really gets started with a prospect game that allows GMs (general managers) to scout the 40 best draftable players. Then it is on to the draft. The trading block is new to the mode and the AI has been redone from scratch to ensure that trades are fair and players cannot manipulate the draft system unfairly.

The Battle for the Cup is a playoff series that allows players to immediately battle a friend or the CPU for the Stanley Cup without having to go through an entire season. And the Playoff mode will allow up to 16 users to take over teams and battle through for the online title.

The game’s mechanics have been improved to the point where things that players do within the context of the game will follow them through, creating a storytelling experience. For example, there can be repercussions for actions. If you hurt an opposing player in a game on your home ice, you will be booed when your team visits the arena of the player you injured. And not only will the fans remember you, but so will the announcers and you find references to things you have done trailing you throughout the game.

NHL 09 was one of those games that was a real treat visually and the 10th iteration of the franchise will not change that. The game, shown during a gameplay demonstration, sparkled and some of the new elements really took the game to new heights.

Offline and online, NHL 10 should give players something to get very excited about.

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