Continued from September 2014 Kandy Magazine. Download the Kandy app here http://app.lk/kandymagazine to read the full review…
This is much the case with NHL 15, a hockey title with superior design that comes at the cost of some of the franchise’s most beloved play options. New features include 12-player collision physics that allow for the most realistic on-ice action you’ve ever played, modified puck physics that gives the puck bounces, rolls, and other movement, a seat-by-seat realization of all 30 NHL arenas, and more. As far as in-match immersion goes, NHL 15 is by far the most advanced hockey game ever created.
Perhaps the most important innovation in NHL 15 is EA Sports’ next-generation player A.I., referred to as “Vision” by the development team. Vision gives your digital teammates and opponents the ability to actively read plays on the ice, allowing them to react more fluidly to changing conditions and to predict plays before the occur. The result is a game that feels closer to real than any previous release; NHL 15 is the closest you can get to professional hockey without lacing up your skates and hitting the ice.
Developing NHL 15 for both previous and next-gen consoles has led to a few snags. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game do not include many of the high-end engine changes that EA Sports has so proudly advertised. In fact, the compelling new A.I., realistic puck physics, and 12-play collision system are not present in NHL 15 for previous-gen consoles. Old-gen players are essentially getting a very minor upgrade from NHL 14. In theory this would make next-gen the obvious choice, but major features are missing from the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game. Both GM Connected and EA Sports Hockey League modes have been removed from the next-gen releases due to development time constraints.
The final result is two games that feel somewhat incomplete. Old-gen players don’t get the benefit of new features or engine enhancements, and next-gen players can’t access two of the most beloved game modes from previous NHL releases. It’s a bit of a tragedy; a full-featured NHL 15 for next-gen consoles would no doubt be one of the best hockey games made in the history of the medium. Alas, we’ll just have to see if the team at EA can get everything into the next iteration of the series next fall.
For now, NHL 15 is a no-brainer for hockey fans. It’s the next evolution in a series that has continually delivered high-stakes hockey action, and if we’re being honest it’s pretty much the only serious option for people who love hockey enough to buy a yearly release. The most difficult decision related to NHL 15 isn’t whether to purchase the game, but which generation of console to play it on. It all comes down to your favorite features and your fidelity demands.
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