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EA Sports' NHL 15 is the first entry in the series to be released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As a huge sports fan, particularly with hockey, I was expecting NHL 15 to bring new, amazing experiences on the current generation of home consoles. But despite both looking and playing great, this entry is missing a number of features that greatly hurts the experience and makes NHL 15 feel dull. NHL 15 is a good game, but it's a game that is not worth returning to once you have had your full experience with it.
Presentation: NHL 15 looks great. Players look like their real life counterparts. If a player has a missing tooth in real life, their character will be missing a tooth. Subtle features like this add to the realism. Stadiums also are presented well. During the pre-game commentary, players will see real footage of the city and their team's respective stadium. Fans seem to be more into the action in NHL 15. You can hear shouting, cheering and booing from the die-hard fans, who have face paint and jerseys on. Fans still look awkward when moving around, but their cheering and attire are satisfying enough.
Calling the games are NBC's Mike "Doc" Emrick and Eddie Olczyk, along with Ray Ferraro between the benches. Before each game there is brief analysis of the game before the first faceoff. It's a nice touch seeing Emrick and Olcyzk commentating beforehand, but they look out of sync with how the game looks. Emrick is known for his loud calls and excitement, but he does not fit the role when announcing the games. There is the occasional high-pitched scream from the man, though these expressions are few and far between. There isn't much depth to the script, either. Within an hour I knew which lines would be repeated throughout my experience.
The music in NHL 15 is great, especially between periods or faceoffs. Bands like Young the Giant, Fallout Boy and more are featured, making this soundtrack more memorable and enjoyable than previous installments.
Gameplay: The gameplay in NHL feels fluid and fun for the most part. The game is quicker and the new physics are a welcomed addition to the series. Pucks will bounce off the boards, sticks and pads like the real game itself. Where the game really suffers is with online versus play. A number of games I played online felt extremely stiff and clunky and it became frustrating trying to generate offensive opportunities. Online play feels slower paced, unlike the offline game modes.
Using the poke check at times feels too easy. A defenseman will be far away from my forward and the sticks won't touch and I'll lose the puck with ease. The physical play in NHL 15 felt inconsistent. I would line up for a big hit and the opposing player wouldn't budge. Obliterating an opposing player and causing a turnover feels amazing, but the lack of consistency when checking players caused me to play more of a man on man defensive game. Another issue I had is with transitioning from player to player while in the defensive zone. Switching players three to four times to get the desired player quickly became tiresome. I wish the transitioning among players was easier.
Where Are The Game Modes?: NHL 15 is missing a number of game modes on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. EASHL is a staple of the NHL series. Many players, like myself, pour countless hours into this game mode. It's available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, but it's nowhere to be found on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which is annoying because many people buy the NHL games for this feature. Connected GM is also not in NHL 15. Hockey Ultimate Team mode still offers players the ability to create their dream team by purchasing packs and setting their lineups. GM Mode is in NHL, but there is no season mode. Players like myself who want a one season experience will have to use GM Mode, which has a lot to offer, but GM Mode can be confusing for those who don't understand hockey well. GM Mode allows players to run a franchise in any way they desire. Be A Pro mode is fortunately still in NHL. Players can decide which position they want to play and can choose to enter the NHL draft, which is random, or choose their favorite team. Players will automatically be on the NHL roster, which to me impedes the sense of growth from the minor leagues to the NHL. Future game modes like Playoff Mode and Online Team Play will be added with patches.
Verdict: NHL 15 is a good game. It plays well, features a great presentation and is a game hockey fans should try. Because of a number of widely loved game modes are not in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions, the experience feels dull and true hockey fans will quickly grow tired of the short number of game modes. NHL 15 feels like a missed opportunity for an excellent entry on the new consoles.
-Lack of depth in the game modes
-Playing online feels stiff
Destiny launches tomorrow in North America and has already launched in other areas throughout the world. For those who have already gotten Destiny and for those who are incredibly excited for Destiny, I'm happy for you. Destiny looks like it is going to be an epic game, but I'm not anticipating Destiny. Don't get me wrong, Destiny is going to be THE game to play for many people, but I'm not that excited for it. Is that a bad thing? Is it because I've hyped games too much before and they haven't panned out like I hoped they would? I'm getting Destiny at its midnight launch and I will play it for hours. The hype is just simply doesn't exist. Let's find out why as I discuss my thoughts on Destiny one day before its release.
We Know Destiny Is Going To Be A Good Game- Bungie and Activision are behind Destiny. I will buy almost anything Bungie makes because I know it will be good and Bungie is consistent with their works - at least from what I have experienced. As for Activision? They do publish this game called "Call of Duty," which is pretty fun, though I don't care for that franchise anymore. Destiny has a respectable team under its wing. What could go wrong? I don't think anything will go wrong. The game has been marketed well. Both the Alpha and the Beta were well received and have people extremely pumped for this game, and we have seen just enough with footage, trailers and more so that nothing is spoiled and the craving or the itch for the game can be remedied.
I Blame Myself For My Lack Of Hype- Prior to a few weekends ago, I didn't watch a single second of Destiny gameplay, trailers, or previews. I tried to shun myself from any footage regarding the game. Perhaps this wasn't a smart idea because I haven't fallen in love with what the game will offer, like many other people have. Destiny could be a blind purchase for me because I know nothing about the game. Normally that is okay, but with a game this big and the magnitude of its launch and hype, I need to watch videos and I to have to sit down and see what Destiny has to offer. The only way I'll grow any form of hype is by watching videos, doing research on which character suits me best and seeing what the game has to offer.
Where Is The Hype? My most hyped game of all time is Diablo 3. I was expecting the greatest game ever because how much I loved Diablo 2 and how excited I was for the next installment. Diablo 3 ended up being a great game, but it was extremely disappointing to me. My anticipation was through the roof and it maybe was way too high? But I seldom am legitimately excited for games today because I was so disappointed with one game. I understand that isn't fair, but I just have lost interest in preparing myself for a major release.
Destiny is going to be a game that many people will love, and many people won't love. I'm hoping to fall in love with the game, which mixes various genres of video games into one huge MMO. I think looking at gameplay today will determine whether or not I am excited for Destiny. I think Destiny has great potential and will be awesome nonetheless. Will you be getting Destiny? Are you excited? As always, thanks for reading and share your thoughts!