The ice is cold and smooth, you skate easily along the boards as you chase the puck. Your stick meets the puck and you carry it into enemy territory. As you skate into the zone you are met by a defender who wants to take the puck away from you. You triple deke and then spin around him winding up as you take your shot on the goalie. It goes in. GOAL!!!! This is our review of NHL 19.
From developer EA Vancouver and publisher EA Sports, this year’s NHL 19 is truly in the game. From the minute you start the game it goes right into all of the normal EA Sports set up. Pick your favorite team for your background, set up your home screen, and pick your modes. This year we have a lot of mode options indeed, from pro career, to franchise mode, to hockey ultimate team and more. You truly get the sense that they wanted to give you every option available to make of the game what you will. I spent a lot of my time in the pro career mode, because I like being able to set up a character, set their stats, pick their gear, and have the opportunity to set your place in the draft through your play.
Pro mode offers you the most immersive gameplay in hockey that I have seen in a while. From the minute you click the button on your home screen you are set into a world of creation. You start by creating your character, which now offers you a choice to make female players. You choose your name, your gear, your jersey number, and if you choose to try and set your draft stock then you will also pick a non-pro team to play on, this gives you the opportunity to play for your draft life. The better you do, the better your draft stock, the worse you do, well you know. In each game, your coach gives you goals that you need to accomplish during your time on the ice. If you accomplish these goals it makes your game rank raise, if you do something like getting a penalty it will decrease your grade. Either way, good or bad, these things also affect experience points that you get in your categories. Another thing that makes NHL 19 immersive is the skill points that you earn as you level up so that you can purchase talents that will increase your player’s stats. Woah did I just explain hockey or a role-playing game? The career mode definitely has a sports/RPG feel to it. The other career option is picking your team directly. This gives you the chance to play on your favorite team, however, what fun is it to not be drafted?
The other game modes offer similar, but different options for playing the game as well. In franchise mode, you get to pick your team, and in doing so you coach the team in drills and the games, but you also play as every player on the ice. This way you don’t have to worry about the AI not doing what you want. In the ultimate team mode, you get to do a fantasy draft, similar to the MUT mode in the Madden games. Pick players and take your team through online play against others and in single player challenges. Participate in online leagues and championships to your heart’s content.
In NHL 19 you can also explore the new World of Chel, which is an evolution of EA Sports fan-favorites hockey league. This mode adds a unified progression and customization through the character creation modes. Play in 1v1v1 NHL free-for-alls, customize your character with over 900 new pieces of gear that you can unlock, participate in PRO-AMs where you play with pros current and past. You can also play in EASHL Clubs where created characters form teams to try and make their way up the ranks together, and NHL Threes Drop-In where you can play with your creativity in an action-packed environment.
All this and more is open to you as you play the game for Xbox One or PlayStation 4 on release, September 14, 2018, for the normal price of $59.99 USD. Have fun with friends or by yourself as you play this year’s newest installment of NHL 19 action.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PlayStation 4 with a code provided by PR.