EA Sports has released a new developer diary for fans that details what players can expect from the single-player Be A Pro mode in NHL 16 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Be A Pro allows users to create their own customer player, and forge a career of their own from prospect to NHL Hall of Famer. Players will start by choosing whether to start as a CHL prospect working to get drafted, or as an already drafted NHL player working to earn his spot in the league.
The game allows you to be the type of player you best play as. If you’re a bruising power forward, then focusing on things like body checks and standing up for teammates. Want to become a pure scorer like Alexander Ovechkin? Find ways to get into the open areas to bury pucks past opposing goaltenders.
It’s all about your player progressing based on how you play. To also help with progression, coach feedback has returned to the mode, helping players improve on certain aspects of their game. The new visual trainer also makes its debut in the mode to allow more fine tuning of skills.
NHL 16 launches in North America on September 15; Europe gets the game on September 17.
Hockey and video game fans alike have been given a special treat from EA Sports, the creators of NHL 16. The company released a limited beta for the game’s popular EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL) game mode for its Xbox One and PlayStation 4 players who had purchased NHL 15 the previous year. A code given to players of both consoles via email, players have the opportunity to play the beta from July 30 up until August 7.
Gamers who had the One and PS4 were extremely upset last season when NHL 15 came out without the EASHL game mode on the new systems but was placed on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Although EASHL in NHL 15 wasn’t much different from what was on the previous year’s game, gamers weren’t thrilled to be without one of the most popular game modes in the NHL games.
EA promised to not only return EASHL to NHL 16, but to improve it immensely, much like they promised the rest of the game. From game play to actual functions inside of EASHL itself, the beta has given fans a chance to experience NHL 16 firsthand before it hits stores, and also allows players to provide feedback while EA works out the rest of the bugs before the release date in mid-September. After playing the beta over the past few days, here is what I have found to be some of the best improvements to the game, and what could still use work. Thanks to fellow writer and gamer Michael Straw for their input.
One of the coolest parts of EASHL over the years has been the ability to edit your skater or goaltender to make him or her look as much like you as humanly possible. EA has done a nice job of doing this, but they took it a step further this year. With complaints from game players about a lack of ability to edit current players in the game that looked nothing like the player in real life, the creators at EA made a concerted effort to open up editing for every player in the game. This has led to your capabilities in EASHL editing to be even more in-depth in NHL 16.
From stick tape patterns to different color shades of tape, making your player unique has never been this much fun. If you aren’t careful, you can spend hours on the beta simply messing around with your character and making it to your likeness. Details as precise as beard length and the addition of things like leg tape and skate guards are added into the beta to enhance customization even further than in the past.
Even the team you create in NHL 16 is given more uniqueness with the new system. Now Mike “Doc” Emrick and Eddie Olczyk have the ability to say the name of your team that is given by you when you create your EASHL team. From standard team names to ridiculous ones you and your friends can get extremely creative when you create you team and team name, while at the same time getting the name recognition on-screen from one of the best announcers in the National Hockey League.
Even Playing Field
One thing you won’t see on your player customization screen in NHL 16 is the attributes field. That’s due to the EASHL’s creation of player classes. EA has claimed that the addition of these 12 classes will put more of an emphasis on player skill and your abilities to play together as a team, creating a better competitive experience on the ice. In my limited playing time, I’ve only seen three or four of the classes be utilized, but I can already say that the player class system is a vast improvement to the game. If you’re a college student, like myself, you don’t necessarily have as much time to play EASHL and rank up your skater or goaltender, which put you at a severe disadvantage when you go online and play. Now with the class system, there is no need to worry about that anymore. On top of that, a sniper or playmaker does not have the same checking ability as a grinder or enforcer, making it much more realistic than in NHL 15 when a 5’9 winger was able to drop a 240 pound defenseman if he simply came at him with a great deal of speed.
Every team, no matter how much or how little you play, has the same 12 classes with the same statistics for each class. The emphasis is now placed on your abilities in-game and how well you work with your teammates as opposed to how many hours you log. Granted, playing more will make you and your friends better, but you won’t find yourself over matched due to experience points or having a less skilled skater than opposing players. In the four games I played on the first day of the beta, I went 2-1-1, with my only loss being 1-0 and my best win being 5-1. If you are a more skilled game player than your opponent you will most likely come up with the victory, which has not been the case over the past few years, and I think the casual gamer will appreciate that.
I think it was fair to say that the non-player controlled skaters in EASHL could used some work. Well early on it appears that the makers at EA have done a great job with that, improve the overall skill of the computer players. I first noticed a change when my team went onto their first penalty kill. One of my computer defenseman picked up the puck in the defensive zone and cleared it down the ice without hesitation. My computer generated winger then proceeded down the ice on the forecheck to pin the opposing team in their own defensive zone. Both of these things rarely happened with the AI computers, if at all, in previous games.
Along with more realistic game play and evening the playing field among players, it appears that EA also put a heavy emphasis on making the computer-controlled players on each team more competent. The computers appear to fill in the lanes on the rush better and are much smarter on the rush on whether or not to shoot the puck or pass it off (without having to call for it). Players classes and more intelligent computerized players in this beta alone have greatly improve the EASHL experience.
What Needs Work
This game is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I admittedly haven’t tried playing in goal, which supposedly has vast improvements this year, or played as a defenseman, but from what I have done as a forward there are a few things that EA can work on before September.
EA has preached gameplay balance and more realistic skating in their videos leading up to the beta, but it doesn’t appear that it is fully operational just yet. Skating is certainly slower than it was in NHL 15, allowing for the more precise movements feature above, but the precision aspect itself still looks like it needs some work.
There also seems to be a bit of a delay between taking shots or making passes and them actually registering in the game. Sometimes shots were attempted on the controller but didn’t register on the screen. The same went for passes, and by the time they were made, if done at all, the play originally set up had already fallen apart. Also the board play in-game, which had seen significant improvements over the past two games, has seemed to have taken a step back in this beta.
But this isn’t a shock to the makers of the game. EA has come out and said that there are a few bugs that still need to be worked out and for gamers to be patient as they make these improvements in time for September. They are even leaving a feedback link on the beta for players to put in their suggestions on how to improve the game.
Aside from giving fans of the NHL franchise a chance to try out their newest game, the release of the beta is also a way for fans to interact personally with the creators in order to voice their displeasure with the game before it comes out so they have a chance to fix it. This makes your input crucial to the success of NHL 16. Play the beta, see what you like and don’t like and submit that feedback to EA so they can have a chance to alter it before September.
Since this is just a beta that is being put out a month and a half before the game’s release, I will give EA the benefit of the doubt in that the skating will improve come the September and some of the other minor bugs noted above will be taken care of as well. Overall, though, I think that NHL 16, particularly EASHL, will be an enjoyable video game from the play-every-day gamer to the casual game player.
The NHL 16 hype train continues as the team at EA Sports has released a brand new video touting the atmosphere improves in this year’s installment of the franchise.
With the New York Islanders set to begin play in their new home in Brooklyn, the Barclays Center, the developers felt it was only right to show off a bit of the new arena for fans to get their first taste at hockey in Brooklyn. Including the authentic goal horn, the Barclays Center will feel like home for Islanders fans when they take the ice with their favorite team in NHL 16.
But if you thought the new arena was the only thing to look forward to as an Islanders fan in NHL 16, you are sadly mistaken.
The game will also feature the popular “YES!” chant that Islanders fans have taken on as a new tradition. Even the players partake in throwing their hands in the air in the way WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan, the originator of the movement, does.
NHL 16 features arena atmospheres unlike anything that has been featured in the series before. Every team’s authentic goal horns will be included as well as the goal song for over 20 of the league’s members. NHL 16 launches on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 15.
EA Sports has released a brand new developer diary that explains the improvements coming to the goaltending mechanics in NHL 16.
With help from Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Eddie Lack, the developers at EA Sports Vancouver have worked to deliver the most advanced goaltending control system in the history of the franchise. And with the new precision skating system in NHL 16, the control will be as responsive as ever.
“We try to get feedback from as many people as we can, NHL players included,” lead producer Sean Ramjagsingh said. “We try to use the players as best as we can. We had freddy Andersen from Ducks was around the office. Eddie Lack helped with new goalie controls/motion.
“As much as we can, we try to leverage the players to help with the on-ice part of the game. They all have opinions.”
With the new goaltending controls, users will have the ability to push across the crease, have better control of rebounds and even have a better opportunity to play the puck when it’s either behind or in front of the net.
“Precision Skating in NHL 16 captures the authentic look and feel of a goaltender’s momentum and precise movement as you control them in the crease,” Ben Ross, associate producer, said in a press release. “When the shots start flying, decide whether to make controlled positional saves or commit to high-risk athletic saves that may leave you vulnerable to secondary chances.”
NHL 16 launches on September 15 in North America for Xbox One and PlayStation 4; it launches in Europe on September 17.
When NHL 15 was announced, fans were angry when they found out the popular EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL) wasn’t part of the game. But never fear, EASHL is coming to NHL 15, sort of.
EA Sports has announced that owners of the game will have the ability to play NHL 16’s EASHL before anyone else in the form of an open beta. The beta will start on July 30 and run until August 6, and requires initial access via NHL 15. Anyone who has NHL 15 on Xbox One or PlayStation 4 will automatically have access to the beta. Those who don’t have the game, but have the console can apply for a code if they had the game on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Jump into NHL 15 starting July 30 and you’ll see a new panel in the main menu hub to download the NHL 16 EASHL Beta. NHL 15 is required to access the beta initially, but is not required after you have successfully downloaded as the beta will be accessibly directly from your console hard drive.
Users in the beta will have full access to all 12 of the modes player classes that replace the typical attribute system from year’s past. They will also have the ability to fully customize their player’s appearance and equipment however they see fit.
In addition to customization, there will also be the return of EASHL seasons. Unlike previous seasons, these are more outlined in the same way Hockey Ultimate Team is set up in terms of progressing to higher divisions. Seasons progress based on the division a team is in after reaching either the game or points threshold to advance or be demoted.
In regards to playoffs, they will open up in almost the same way the HUT playoffs did in NHL 15, with certain cups available to teams based on division ranking.
The one feature of EASHL in NHL 16 that fans, unfortunately, won’t be able to utilize is the ability to create custom jerseys for your team. Instead, fans will have to select one of the hundreds of already in-game uniforms available to them. It’s a feature that will be added back in the future, but it’s unclear whether it will be in the form of a post-launch update a la the addition of the NHL Draft to NHL 15’s GM Mode or in NHL 17.
Teams and stats created in the NHL 16 EASHL beta will not carry over to the main game come its release in September. EA Sports is looking for player feedback on the mode in the form of a gameplay survey that fans can fill out after the beta is officially launched.
This will likely be the only opportunity to test out the new EASHL in NHL 16 before the game’s launch. So, if you really want to know if the changes to mode are worth it, make sure to get in on the action starting July 30.