Electronic Arts has been producing sports-themed video games since the late 1980s. The video game giant's sports division produced its first hockey-themed game in 1991 and has been producing games for fans of “the fastest game on Earth” ever since. The latest release — titled "NHL 14" — is one of the best hockey simulation games to date.
After last year's release remodeled the entire physics engine to improve the look and feel of the skaters, "NHL 14" expanded those features to increase the playability and enjoyment of the game for both hardcore hockey fans and casual fans alike.
One of the new features is called "collision physics," which is another upgrade to the physics engine. This feature makes it easier to pull off bigger body checks against your opponent based on player size, speed and positioning. The result of these new physics is more realistic collisions.
Another new feature is called the "enforcer engine," which is based on EA Sports' boxing series "Fight Night." Instead of the first-person view that has been an NHL game staple since 2010, the producers have changed to a third-person view, which allows the player to see teammates and the referee on the ice. The fight mechanics concentrate on punching, grappling and dodging.
In the cut scenes following a fight and for the remainder of the game, players involved will show the effects of the fight in the way of bruises, blood and swollen faces. The fighting engine does seem to be almost too readily available, which can get tiring, but EA included an option in the game to avoid the fighting so the audience can make its own decisions on whether to throw down the gloves or not.
Fans can choose from a very casual experience to a hardcore simulation in which all game assists, such as passing and shooting the puck, are turned off. And for the true hockey aficionado, 13 different hockey leagues from around the world are playable in game.
"NHL 14" is rated E10+ by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board due to mild violence. With the customizable gameplay settings, players can enjoy a virtual hockey experience with multiple players able to compete at the same time both online and offline.
Game: "NHL 14"
Platforms: XBox 360, PS3
ESRB rating: E 10+
Landon Walters is a history and political science major at Salt Lake Community College. He is an avid sports fan and loves writing. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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