Last year’s NHL title, NHL 09, stood
out among other sports titles by offering fantastic gameplay, a robust amount of
features both on and offline, and tons of depth. The game was the best sports
title of 09, and was voted so by GameZone’s writers. Now, EA Sports is readying
their sequel, NHL 10, and putting even more great content into the mix. NHL 10
moves the series in a new direction, adding in a bevy of elements that focus
more on the visceral and aggressive feel of hockey. Players will be able to get
into first-person fistfights with their opponents, slam them against the boards
and pin them there in order to steal away the puck, and a new Tough Guy
character type for the Be A Pro mode. Additionally, the game still keeps the
great feel and realistic pace of last year’s game, making one that hockey fans
will definitely be on the lookout for this fall.
NHL 10 starts you off with a brief
tutorial to gauge the player’s abilities with the controls. You are taken
through the basic shooting and dekeing gameplay mechanics, as well as the new
fighting and boardplay mechanics. After rating your skill level, the game puts
you onto the ice to start winning games and bashing heads.
The new fighting mechanic hinges on
the double thumbstick controls, requiring you to move your head (and pull on
your opponent’s jersey) with the left thumbstick and throw punches with the
right thumbstick. This mode requires skill and timing, and pulling down your
opponent’s jersey while connecting with an uppercut is very rewarding.
The Be A Pro mode introduces a new
character type, the Tough Guy, that essentially functions as a straight-up
basher. Your job on the ice in this mode fits into the Enforcer role, as you’ll
have to intimidate your opponents and fight them, while keeping them from
getting too aggressive and trying to take on your teammates. This is a great
addition to the already excellent Be A Pro mode, allowing for new and unique
gameplay and a different way of playing that will appeal to those looking for
something new (or just bust some skulls).
NHL 10’s newfound focus on
aggression adds a fun and exciting new element to the series, and should be a
hit with those hockey fans looking to blow off some steam and duke it out. Look
for a full review later this month.