NHL 16 is a successor to previous title, NHL 15 which was well..not so good. NHL 15 lacked offline and online game modes for next gen consoles such as EASHL, and Shootouts and had very repetitive gameplay. NHL 15 almost felt like a game that was offline and you couldn’t connect to anyone else but yourself, well for NHL 16 EA has listened to the pretty disappointed community.
With NHL 16 EA has taken the communities feedback throughout the development adding fan favorite game modes such as EASHL, making the Arena experiences even better, making the gameplay better, and making it feel like the real deal in your hands.
The gameplay in every NHL game gets better and better and this time EA did not disappoint. While still keeping that feel from NHL 15 they have made it so you have more control in the position you are in weather its goalie, offense, or on defense.
The controls of goal-tending have totally been done so now it will be easier to catch those big one timers that was difficult to stop in the past. If you have not done so yet get onto that goalie mode I can assure you will enjoy it even more like I have.
The way you Shoot, Skate, Hit, and the decisions you make is the biggest part of being a Skater. Whether its Defense or Offense you have the chance to turn the game around single handily and NHL 16 proves that even more. With the brand new ability to aim to shoot is probably one of my favorites because when you shoot at the net now they have these markers where the puck will go, this is much better than previous NHL games as when you shot it was random and it was not up to the player. As a fan you want to be in full control of each situation of the game and have the best chance to win, EA has definitely improved that with NHL 16 I won’t say they reached the limits but they have improved it.
Faceoffs for me have always been a struggle for me in the past, but with EA’s new little messenger above the player before the faceoff happens helps people like me who have struggled winning them. Once you keep trying more and more you will start getting better at them. Faceoffs have definitely improved with NHL 16.
Let’s go back a little bit and talk about the UI in NHL 16, when you first start out in NHL 16 you are asked to pick your favorite team. Once you do that it makes the theme of the menu your favorite teams main colors. As you see above my favorite team is the New York Islanders and you can go back at anytime to change it if you would like. The NHL 16 UI is much better than NHL 15 it’s much smoother and much cleaner and more simple.
As you scroll through you will see all of the game modes start to come up as opposed to NHL 15 it would randomize where everything goes for some reason. Once you get on NHL 16 you go straight to this and you can pick what you want as simple as moving your stick once or twice and hitting the A button. Also you can just continue what you are doing so you don’t even have to scroll and save some time!
Also one thing is cool is that not only does the UI have your favorite team colors but it also has your favorite franchise players instead of it being biased where it would show certain players who won the recent Stanley Cup. Obviously EA still have not removed their advertisements on each sides, one under practice mode and one under the customization.
Online Versus in NHL is still your good old game mode that has been in many previous NHL games. EA really has not touched this mode which is good but one thing I have a problem with is the ranking system. I’ll be playing someone who is a lot better than me and when I am still a rank 1. But yet again it could be due to the lack of players online.
Online shootout is back in NHL 16 as it was cut in NHL 15 for next gen gamers. Online shootout is the way you remember it in previous NHL games and once again not much changes to it except for major lag at times.
Online Team Play
Online Team Play in NHL 16 has not been updated so you can go in with your friends and search for a game. You have to keep finding lobbies until you guys find eachother, EA has done a poor job at updating this from NHL 15 yes EASHL is in the game but we all do not want to play EASHL. In order to play with your friends in OTP is to be on the same console together and in 2015 that is not common.
EASHL – EA Sports Hockey League
EASHL lets you choose specialized player classes to deliver a balanced competitive experience on the ice. Choose from 12 different player classes that fit your team’s style and strategy. Let’s just all enjoy that EASHL is finally back in NHL 16 as we all missed it when EA made the worst mistake with taking it out of NHL 15 for next gen and keeping it on last gen consoles. Finding a team that can commit is probably the one minus i’d give it, you really need to know a good group of people and especially if you’re an achievement hunter.
BE A GM
If you’re like me and get bored of online play and just want to enjoy playing the game on your own Be A GM is the best option for you. You control your own organization and I have to say, EA has definitely improved the experience with it. With the new player morale you can now really tell who is happy to be on your team or who really wants to be out of the way so you don’t have a negative locker room for your Stanley Cup run. You can now hold team meetings to let your team know how they’re doing to keep their confidence up, simulating in NHL 16 is back to its old roots because now you can jump in the game at any random time to help your team win. This was lacking in NHL 15 so much and I am glad it is back and awesome, also another thing that is back is the AHL instead just sending your player down the minors and you can’t do anything about it now EA has brought the AHL back so you can play in the NHL or AHL to see how your players play. This was something that was heavily missed in NHL 15 and why did they take it out? I am not quite sure. Also, the fantasy draft is back so you can form your dream team. Other than that Be A GM mode is by far the most updated game mode in NHL 16.
Playoff mode is back and with more new features. Not only can you pick NHL teams for the playoffs you can now mix a WHL team against a NHL team, as you see above i have the Seattle Thunderbirds against the New York Islanders. I think this brings a more casual feeling to the game, because there is nothing like mixing up every league into the playoffs. EA nailed it with the playoff mode without subtracting they added.
Season mode is back as expected. Now in season mode you can not only pick the NHL you can pick the AHL, Liiga, OHL, WHL, etc. I find this to be a very good feature because there are fans all over that don’t only like the NHL and it gets the fans more interested in the other leagues. Season mode really didn’t update which i like and you really can’t do much with it.
NHL MOMENTS LIVE
NHL Moments Live lets you relive the best moments of the past season and the current season which will be updated actively by EA. Other than a new season NHL Moments Live is still the same.
HUT- Hockey Ultimate Team
The most played mode in the NHL series gets even better. Improved player management and the introduction of HUT Single Player Seasons gives you another way to hone your skills before jumping online with HUT Online Seasons or challenging your friends with the Play a Friend feature. I have to say they have made HUT better and did not subtract much.
The NBC broadcast team with Doc, Eddie, and Ray is back. One thing that i liked about the NBC broadcasting is that they kept up with the new design when you look at the scoreboard, etc. In NHL 16 the announcers do say more stuff and I see it you just have to pay attention and play more than a few games to realize it. Yes, they can be repetitive but it has improved.
Customization in NHL 16 really is not great. When choosing your sticks, gloves, skates, etc there isn’t the much choices and as a fan you want more diversity when you’re playing EASHL besides changing the colors. I think they could have done more with this feature instead of throwing in stuff and saying here you go. EA has not done the fans proud with this feature, I think there could have been more done with this feature yes the beards are a nice addition and i think EA were using the beards to cover the full customization feature.
Now lets talk a little about the arena feel in NHL 16. Now this is one of the most important feature because you’re spending 95% in a arena in this game. The mascots were an awesome addition, they get the crowd going and while you are playing you see them doing that at the same time. If your team is losing the crowd will try to build your confidence up by saying “Go Kings Go” loud and proud. Whether its making a big hit, winning a fight, shooting, scoring, etc the fans are always by your side making it difficult for the opponent. The camera angles in NHL 16 are even better so before a faceoff or after a goal you won’t see just the fans by the glass they show the fans that are higher up which i like a lot. EA has done a fine job by matching the real life goal song into NHL 16.
Refs in every NHL game have been a major problem yes they have improved but are still very repetitive. The repetitiveness of the refs is incredible usually i find myself getting most of the penalties in the game while my opponent will never get one. Refs should be able to tell when a call is called the most and let them play hockey, yes of course it depends on what mode you’re on but in any mode the penalties should equal out. Not to mention i have gone games where its just a full period of power plays and 4 on 4 gameplay. Also usually when you see a replay the guy never did anything to cause a penalty or its the opposing player who on purpose will fall over the player to make it a tripping penalty, yes i know you want to find ways for your team to win but still. If EA want to keep kids from raging and complaining they need to focus on the refs and the stupidity of them in NHL 17.
In every game there are achievement/trophies depending on which console you’re on. Achievements is Xbox and Trophies is Playstation. Both games have about the same ones, the achievements in NHL 16 do take time and you have to have the patience to 100% them. In my opinion if you are an achievement hunter and are thinking about this game, it is an easier game to complete if you know what you are doing on the ice and how you know the game but if you don’t really know much about hockey its still doable but is probably more time consuming. You are probably going to need 6 people to help you complete them due to EASHL because everyone online that plays do not focus on achievements. All in all i’d say its medium difficulty to 100% it.
Verdict: All in all NHL 16 is a great game and probably the best NHL and sports game i have ever played with minor changes to be made. It’s a very nice looking game by looking at the ice and seeing the reflection of the arena you are in and having fun with your friends is finally back in an NHL game. NHL 16 makes you feel like you are right there at the arena if you’re looking for a sports game to buy on the Xbox One or Playstation 4 NHL 16 should be your top choice.
– More customization options needed
– Refs still need improvement
– Online lag in EASHL, Shootout mode, Online versus, etc needs to be fixed.