NHL 16 Review on PlayStation 4
Once the weather gets cooler and the leaves begin to turn brown, you know another NHL season is right around the corner. With each one comes a new entry in EA’s hockey franchise. Is this year’s iteration better than the dismal one from last season? In so many ways, yes.
Last year’s version on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 received universal hate, not because the gameplay was awful by any means, but because plenty of fan favorite gameplay modes were removed. In NHL 16, EA remedies this by giving the hardcore fans what they want. There’s an endless supply of game modes to select from: GM Mode, Be a Pro, Hockey Ultimate Team, etc.
Having such a varied selection, it can be difficult to pick just one. The options in NHL 16 reminded me of a buffet, plenty of decent things to try, but it was lacking a distinct standout.
The only mode that I truly enjoyed was Season Mode, which lets you play as your favorite team while you skate your way to victory over 82 regular season’s games. Of course, that’s a tremendous amount of NHL 16 to play, and luckily, you can skip whichever games you’d like. As a huge St. Louis Blues fan, it was nice to finally force them into the finals of the Stanley Cup.
The other game modes in NHL 16 are serviceable and, unlike last year’s NHL 15, have variety. For instance, as a subpar gamer of this franchise, I craved a great training mode — luckily, it’s found in NHL 16. I was allowed to practice both offense and defense in structured training regiments, something that was severely lacking in NHL 15.
Another big hit is Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT). Here, you open booster packs of varying rarity and you build your team based on which players you pull. I had fun earning coins to buy more packs and there’s a decent in-game Auction House, too. In the end, HUT’s interesting, but for beginners, it’s highly frustrating. It needed more tutorials, and at the start of a season, micromanaging contracts for players after every single game can be migraine-inducing.
There’s also a new on-ice training overlay in NHL 16. While you’re playing, the on-ice trainer will notify you where open lanes and best place to play the puck are. Basically it boils down to the screen looking incredibly busy. It’s great for beginners, but I felt it distracted from the action on ice level. The trainer will also let you know where the best place to shoot on the goalie is, which at times felt like cheating. I liked the ideas behind the trainer and with a bit more refinement it could be perfect for new comers, and if you hate it, there is an option of turning it off completely.