To many fans, the NHL franchise from EA Sports has taken some pretty big steps in the wrong direction since making the jump to the current generation of consoles.
Absent are things like a fully-featured EASHL or Be-A-Pro modes and Connected GM that added more replay value to a franchise that used to be at the top of the sports-gaming landscape. We know some of the improvements coming based on either what’s been shown in the game’s first trailer as well as what’s been told to us. And though the game has improved over the last two years, there are still plenty of things missing that would help put the game over the top.
Here’s a look at a handful of things that we’d like to see not only in NHL 17, but future installments of the series as well.
- The introduction of pre-game introductions was a very nice touch when the series made the jump to the current generation consoles. That being said, there are issues with frame skips and drops that should be addressed.
- We talked about how EA was planning on adding more authentic faces than ever with NHL 17, but it would be nice if the development team would be able to get every active NHL player – one who was on the roster at the end of the season – scanned into the game. Providing post-launch likeness is also something that is wanted.
- Another issue in the series has been the crowd reactions and overall atmosphere. There is no difference between regular season and playoff games, and the crowd often sounds like an empty preseason game. Add some life into the buildings, would you?
- Make the commentary less robotic…and bring back Jim Hughson. Enough said.
- Just give us effective AI that doesn’t leave players scratching their heads 80% of the time.
- Improvement of play along the boards that result in more realistic scrums
- Fluid goaltending animations
- Eliminate the “glitch goals”
- More fun goaltending controls
- Better puck and stick physics – pucks shouldn’t appear to be held to a players stick via magnet. A player shouldn’t get knocked down yet still have the puck never leave his stick.
- Overhaul of Be-A-GM scouting and draft systems – how about a potential and ranking system that makes sense.
- In-season contract negotiations
- Better free agent and overall player logic – Have players not want to sign because of the city, coaches, other players, etc.
- The ability to hire and fire coaches throughout the year
- Better prospect management – allow players to keep junior-eligible prospects on the roster to start the season before making a decision to send them back down or keep them up. Prospect training to help reach potential would also be nice.
Those are just a handful of the things we want to see in NHL 17 and beyond. What do you want to see in the game? Let us know in the comment section below, and talk with me on Twitter @MikeStrawWrites.
Michael is a former Managing Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s covered the Buffalo Sabres, along with the NHL in general, for various outlets since 2009. His work has been featured on outlets such as Yahoo, Sports Illustrated and Fox Sports.