NHL 11 Review

Recently I had the chance to play NHL 11 and I must say I was impressed. NHL 09 was a revolutionary hockey game that set the foundation for NHL 10. NHL 11 however feels much different, and far better. This game raises the bar and takes giant steps towards a more realistic hockey video game. Broken sticks, refined skating, and user goal celebrations are only a few of the new features in the game. The biggest new addition is EA ultimate team, which is a unique online GM experience that adds even more value and fun to the game.

Game Play Refinements

The first thing you will notice when you sit down to play the game is the change in pace. I don’t know that it is slower, but it feels extremely realistic. NHL 11 has a completely different feel from NHL 10, the new physics engine allows for bone crushing hits and realistic new player animations. Players will now fall and react to hits in unique ways based on physics. Another thing that you will notice is the skill stick refinement. Open ice dekes are not nearly as effective. Instead of big deliberate dekes, the new open ice dekes are more small finesse movements. Passing also feels different; in order to make a hard pass you will have to hold the trigger down a little longer. Just a quick trigger tap will send a very soft pass. Face offs have been completely changed, you can now tie up your man off the draw, draw it back or shoot it off the draw.

Glitches

For all those who rely on glitches you are going to have to find some new ones. The pass across the front of the net for a one timer glitch is gone. Almost every pass in front of the net will be picked off by the opposing team’s defense. The toe drag shot is still a very effective way of scoring. The wrap around glitch is also fixed.

Game Modes

NHL 11’s not only presents refined game play, but also game modes. Be a Pro mode has even more depth with the addition of CHL teams and rosters. Be a Pro Mode now starts in the Memorial Cup Championship. You are playing for your favorite junior hockey team, and your performance in junior hockey affect where and when you will get drafted in the NHL. As a hardcore hockey fan I am really looking forward to the junior league rosters in the game because now you can play as future NHLers who are too young to be drafted instead of waiting for roster updates or a new video game. Be a Pro now accurately reflects the journey of a real NHLer.

Be a GM mode or Franchise mode is essentially the same, new rosters, restricted free agents and even a few more bonus features. Be a GM mode is still the same mode you know and love with a few modifications.


EA Ultimate Team

EA Ultimate Team is the new game changing mode added to NHL 11. You go online and are given a team represented by hockey cards. You are given players from every league all over the world, and it’s your job to build the ultimate team. You must make your team’s lines and try to achieve a balance of skill and chemistry. Chemistry is determined by the player types, for example 3 playmakers on the same line will not have very good chemistry, but a sniper, a playmaker, and a power forward will probably have good chemistry, more details are provided in the game. Once you assemble your first team you compete and play other teams. By playing games you earn cards that can improve your player’s stats and EA pucks. EA pucks are the currency of ultimate team and you can use pucks to bid on players and trade with others to create the best team. Players have certain contract lengths and of course some players cost more than others, which will create some sticky situations when building your team.

EA ultimate team is a revolutionary game mode that is a blast to play. For those who love Be a Gm mode you will love EA ultimate team. It adds a much needed dimension to online play and is worth the price of the game. Along with the improved existing modes, NHL11 packs a lot of value into one game.

Online Play

Online play is essentially the same. Of course you can play online games, shootouts, and team play. Eashl is back and refined, but is essentially the same. The biggest addition to online play is EA ultimate team, which is similar to online franchise mode. Build your ultimate team and compete against other ultimate teams.

Conclusion

EA sports have really stepped up their hockey game. I recommend all hockey fans buy NHL11, it is truly revolutionary and the best hockey game ever. Refined game play combined with added game mode depth and online mode depth, creates the must own sports game of the year. This game will definitely blow any hockey player or diehard fan out of the water, those who like a more arcade like game; NHL 11 is not for you. For those who love hockey, and want to own the most realistic sports game ever created must get NHL 11.

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