Where’s the Respect for the Champs? A Review of NHL 19

michael banner 2Everybody loves hockey, well at least everyone that’s reading this article but a close second is video games. The best hockey video game in the world is EA Sports’ NHL series. Recently, I took full advantage of a Black Friday sale to purchase the newest version “NHL 19“. This year’s model features PK Subban of the Nashville Predators as the cover athlete and instead of going out that Friday night, I took my newest game for a spin. In this article I will talk about the newest features of the game and give you my thoughts on how it was.

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What’s new?

From EA Sports:

EA SPORTS NHL 19 brings you the most authentic experience to date thanks to a number of exciting features. Play on outdoor rinks and journey from the ponds to the pros in new and returning game modes. Compete with and against 200 of the greatest hockey legends to ever hit the ice, highlighted by Wayne Gretzky. Powered by cutting-edge new gameplay technology, experience explosive-edge skating that delivers more acceleration, speed and responsiveness.

Express Yourself

With millions of different possible clothing combinations to explore, there’s an outfit for everyone in NHL 19. Over 900 all-new items including hoodies, jackets, parkas, knits, and more have been tailor-made for hockey fans everywhere, showcasing bold designs that highlight your personality. From NHL apparel to looks inspired by pond hockey lifestyle, hit the ice decked out in some of the biggest sports brands in the world. In addition to unique appearances, new playstyle classes and player traits also let you fine-tune the way you perform on ice. In NHL 19, beat your opponents in style!

Go Outdoors

Hockey returns to it’s roots in NHL 19 by taking the game back to frozen outdoor ponds surrounded by spectacular environments. Showcase your skills and creativity on surfaces that are all-new to NHL 19, and experience everything the World of CHEL has to offer on these new stages. Building upon the success of EA SPORTS Hockey League, World of CHEL introduces a new unified system that let’s you create your perfect player for use across multiple modes and outdoor surfaces. Earning customization gear and applying specialization traits to your character will impact playstyle across The World of CHEL, including when you’re playing NHL THREES Drop-in and EASHL, as well as the recently-introduced NHL ONES and Pro-Am modes.

Free-for-all Hockey

What better way is there to celebrate your personality than taking it to the ice in a One vs. One vs. One free-for-all game of hockey? In the all-new NHL ONES mode, you compete against two other players in a no limits game where skill and creativity reign supreme. With no rules and no stoppages, this all-out gauntlet will give you a great chance to flaunt your style and hone your abilities. Win the free-for-all to progress to new outdoor locations and become king of the hill.

Real Player Motion Technology

Turn on a dime and work your way out of tight corners with Explosive-Edge skating in NHL 19, fuelled by Real Player Motion (RPM) Tech. Providing a higher level of control and responsiveness, RPM is going to amp up your hustle in all three zones. With RPM Tech, you’ll be able to generate speed using edgework and crossovers, providing you with the ability to accelerate in ways never before possible. Experience high-pace hockey action worthy of today’s NHL with control that only elite players posses.

New physics collision technology combines with RPM Tech to make jaw-dropping hits more life-like, varied, and satisfying. With these two systems working together, you’ll enjoy a more complete on ice experience.

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What was missing?

One thing that has been popular from NHL video games of the past was Winter Classic mode. That has been missing in the last few editions and this latest one is no different. It’s sad that EA Sports did away with those. Winter Classic mode allowed you to play in the Winter Classic of 2011 between your Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. Remember that epic contest that took place under the lights at Heinz Field that saw the Caps win? Good times.

Winter Classic mode also had the game the following year in Philly between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers. I owned NHL’s 14 and 15 and don’t recall seeing the Winter Classic from 2014 on the NHL 15 version that was in Ann Arbor between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings. What made this game mode so unique is not only were you playing in packed stadiums in the great outdoors, but the rosters on each team were identical to the team’s that you saw in those Winter Classics on TV.

Another notable absence was there were no more unique goal horns and songs for each team after a goal. This was a neat feature on NHL 17. I didn’t own NHL 18 so I can’t confirm what the goal horns were in that version. Instead each goal would play a song from the NHL 18 soundtrack.

No mention of the Stanley Cup champs?

Other than a brief clip of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup in the game intro, things were notably absent if you played games as the Washington Capitals. I typically like to play season modes so I made one. I was excited to hear the NBC guys talk about the Caps being Stanley Cup champions but was very disappointed when I played my first game against the Boston Bruins and didn’t even hear a mention of it at all.

It got worse in the third game against the Vegas Golden Knights. The intro began as follows:

“We are here in Washington to see the President’s Trophy winning Capitals!”

Are you kidding me? Do they realize that Subban’s Predators were the winners of that trophy last year? Now I would’ve expected this kind of introduction in NHL 17 and 18 but this is the intro for the game the season they are defending Stanley Cup champions? Come on, man.

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Overall thoughts on the game?

Other than the hiccup of not mentioning the Stanley Cup champs, NHL 19 is a great video game. The graphics are sweet and seem to outdo themselves every year. My favorite mode is the World of CHEL. It’s cool to make a player and skate on outdoor ponds. I give it a four out of five stars. Get it!

One comment

  1. I love this year’s EA Sports NHL game. Be A Pro, Franchise, and Chel are winners for me. Love making a new expansion team of all the outcasts and winning Cup. Love creating a hot, new pro that takes the league by storm (much like Ovi).

    Thoughts for next year: I agree on the Stadium series/Winter Classic mode return. Everyone skates like McDavid in NHL 19, maybe for next year a more improved mechanic like unique skating styles (like Ovechkin or MacKinnon). Also if you can edit the Be A Pro’s age so I don’t have to keep being a new 18-year old.

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