I’ll admit it, I’ve never actually played an NHL game before. That’s the great thing about reviewing video games, you take the chance of checking out and reviewing games that’s slightly interested you in the past but you never really committed to giving it a try. With that being said, you are going to be getting a somewhat different review compared to other reviews out there, as I’m someone who is completely new to series who is giving a fresh look at NHL 18.
The first thing I noticed when starting up the game for the first time is that I was almost overwhelmed with how much content has been included for NHL 18. It’s jam packed full of different modes, whether it’s creation modes, play modes, or other career based modes, it feels like almost everything that should be in an NHL game is in NHL 18.
The gameplay is fast and responsive, and while at first it was almost impossible to play due to not knowing what to do, it gradually got easier to get used to. When I started to improve, so did my impressions of the gameplay. I started to appreciate the fun, fast, and at times impactful gameplay. NHL 18 goes at a pace that I don’t think any other sports game comes close to, and does represent well what a hockey game should be.
One of the biggest letdowns for me with NHL 18 is the presentation, I don’t think NHL comes close to other EA Sports games which have nailed the presentation like FIFA and Madden for example. The commentary for example is not that good, and lines become extremely repetitive and feels almost stuck in a generation prior compared to what commentary we can now currently get in sports titles.
There’s one thing I would really like to see EA do for the NHL series, and that’s to have its own Journey/Longshot story mode, full of cutscenes, dialogue and options. I feel EA has proved themselves enough with both of their tries with a sports story mode in FIFA & Madden that NHL deserves to also have that kind of mode added. As mentioned in this review already, NHL 18 is full of features and while that is true, I would rather have one of the lesser modes sacrificed to have one of EA’s brilliant sports story modes.
The Final Verdict
If you’re new to the NHL series like myself then I would certainly recommend trying it out, and I’m also sure you will get your money’s worth due to the unbelievable amount of content that will keep you busy with this game for a while. For returning fans however, it’s not an easy sell after reading about and comparing other past NHL games, it does sound and feel like there’s not much that has been changed to really hook you back in for another year. A journey/longshot type story is just what the NHL series needs to really give it that extra kick for both new and returning fans.
+ Fun, fast, impactful gameplay
+ Full of content
– Presentation could do with some extra work
– Needs a story mode similar to FIFA/Madden
Final Score: 8/10