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The Other Deadline: NHL 13 for Our Hockey Fill on September 11th


Photo by: EA Sports

With the CBA negotiations taking a sour turn at the end of this week, the fans of the NHL are going to be looking to another outlet for hockey entertainment: enter EA’s NHL 13 on the PS3 and XBOX 360 set for release on September 11th.

And with four days to spare before the CBA expires…

Many have already downloaded the demo for NHL 13 and have been playing it ad nauseum for a hockey fix in the doldrums of August and early September when NOTHING is going on of any significance for hockey fans.

First off, a cursory glance at the game:

The mechanics are definitely overhauled and the quick breaks and turn on a dime physics that many players have used to their advantage to score at will are gone. The first thing the demo shows upon game-play is the speed of the players and the ability to use certain players with wheels to out-hustle the opponent and get behind the defense. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a team be able to use the dump-and-chase to their advantage rather than a way to kill off a penalty.

The controls are a bit clunkier, but at least EA saw fit to take out the almost guaranteed two-on-one goal as most every time you try it now the trailer whiffs on the puck or it passes too late for conversion. When controlling the action, a player of the game has to be quick to make decisions and anticipate the opponents move because there seems to be a delay in the action of the on-ice player (i.e. stick-lift and poke-check).

The goalies are not easily fooled this time around so the patented forehand-backhand-roof or the “Fiddler” is not an automatic goal anymore in the regular game or the shootout. The shooting in the game has become more of a sniper’s paradise where if the player has the skill and timing for the top corners of the goal, they should be able to score with more frequency than before. Also the five hole on the goalie seems to be a little more exposed when coming from behind the net: not necessarily a wrap-around but close to it, especially with a quick backhand.

The HUT or Hockey Ultimate Team is once again very fun to play and of course in the demo they start you out with some primo talent to boost your performance as you play through a small tournament facing the Cataracts, Devils, Kings and finally Team USA. The switching out of players was confusing at first, but once you settle into the experience it worked nicely.

The computer AI is extremely intelligent and it doesn’t key in on the puck so much as it used to but instead uses a realization of the surrounding players and puck movement. The defense sticks to you like glue and they don’t make the same mistakes that they have in previous installments of the NHL series. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone finds the loophole and exploits it like every game in the series, but so far in the demo there hasn’t been any huge inconsistencies that would tarnish the game playing experience (the closest thing to a sure goal is while in the slot if you can pin-point the top left corner with even the smallest screen in front it’s a goal).

So, in the meantime on September 11th, even if the true sport of professional hockey doesn’t get under way as planned you can still get your hands on some hockey action in the first person with another great installment of the NHL series from EA. There are enough changes in control and game-play difficulty to warrant picking up a copy (even if you stay on the strict every other year plan like I do).


What say you Predator fans? Have you played the demo? What do you like or don’t you like? Comments welcome below and be sure to follow us on Twitter @ThePredatorial and @Preducated.

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