When it comes to sports games, ice hockey often gets overlooked (unless you’re in Canada) which is a shame in my opinion as it’s a game that’s as interesting as it is absolutely insane. Fortunately NHL 19 is here and if you’ve ever wanted to step into ice hockey then this may be the game for you…
Of course, like any sport the best way to learn is by playing as the team mascots themselves. It’s fortunate then that in the THREES mode you can do exactly that, playing a fast and frantic 3v3 whilst at the same time dressed in a comically oversized costume. To be honest, 3v3 might be one of the best modes I’ve played in any sports game. It’s ridiculous, it’s fun, it’s chaotic whilst still keeping the allure of the game itself. It’s not new to NHL 19 but if you want to start with ice hockey games, then THREES is perfect for introducing you to the game and having fun while doing so.
Apart from THREES, NHL 19 has a whole host of interesting modes such as PRO-AM, where you get to take on players from past and present in 3v3, Franchise mode where you take the mantle of all-controlling Manager and build your team for the season and most importantly World of Chel mode (a name derived from the last syllable of ‘NHL’).
World of Chel is the biggest introduction and is the game’s online hub that houses different modes and has a singular progression for your skater. You get to play in modes such as the aforementioned THREES and PRO-AM, as well as taking it professionally with the EASHL (EA Sports Hockey League) and the one that got me initially interested in NHL 19; NHL ONES.
Now I’ve already touched on THREES and PRO-AM, so lets talk about EASHL and ONES. EASHL is NHL 19‘s online season where you get to customise you team and players and take to the the internet to play people from all around the world (mainly Canada) to prove who is the best at shooting tiny pucks really hard at equally tiny goals. ONES is the mode that drew me in and has you facing 1v1v1 with one goalie trying to stop the onslaught of pucks. It’s a ruleless free-for-all that has you trying you hardest to out skill each other whilst flying around the ice, on top of that you get to play on ponds and lakes, so the frantic nature of trying to dig the puck out of the wall is mixed with the beauty of some stunning lake locations once you’ve won a few matches. Like I said, when I saw the initial trailer for outdoor play in a location that looked a lot like a certain lake in Banff with no rules I was instantly hooked and knew I had to play.
Some other notable changes for NHL 19 come in the gameplay changing RPM (real player motion) tech that definitely makes body checking way more impactful than I thought it would be and also takes the action of skating and makes it feel perfectly fluid.
Obviously nothings perfect in sports games and sometimes all those bodies with all those physics sometimes just get in each other’s ways and become almost impassible but apart from that everything runs remarkably well. Another important addition is the inclusion of legends so you can take to the ice as Wayne Gretzky (literally the only ice hockey player that the majority of people outside of North America knows).
Graphics are beautiful but sometimes do fall short in the facial side of things when you compare it to other leading EA Sports franchises. However at the same time the ice and the motion of players really does look good and with me running it with a Xbox One X, I could also get it to run in 4K UHD which really did make thinks look great.
If you’re a fan of NHL then this is a worthy addition to your cabinet next to the replica Stanley cup, but even if you’ve never played a hockey game before then this is still worth your time.
Author: Hal, Plymouth store