When writing, I generally apply some rules to myself to continue to get better at all times. One of my biggest rules is that I refuse to go back and read something I’ve written past a month after doing so, in hopes that if I ever do go back to read it, I will have improved dramatically.
Well, it’s time to break my own rules.
I was writing for a different website prior to starting this one, and I reviewed NHL 10 for them back when it came out. I want to go through some of the points I made in my review just to see if my opinion stood tall after a full year of playing the game… and yes, I still play it to this day.
If anyone is interested in reading the full review, I posted it on my old blog here, so if you want the full written text you can find it there. So what did I have to say? Let’s find out.
– “Board Play” made NHL 10 feel authentic, and gave new defensive and offensive opportunities that balanced the gameplay. – I’ll still be bold and claim that it does continue to make the game much more authentic, but it allowed a few exploits to really take over the online portion of the game. One of the biggest problems is that people tend to use it as an offensive option for when they’re about to take a hit. Just simply hit the board play button, and the defender will bounce right off, normally giving you a clear lane to the net. While it’s not the easiest thing to perfect, it’s simple enough that it’s exploited by a majority of players. Board play does still hold up well when dumping the puck and trying to stop offensive zone set-ups.
– The new first-person fighting system also adds authenticity, but isn’t completely necessary. – This is true, but I’ll admit that it’s hilarious in some situations, and completely rewarding on knock-outs. Watching the other player fall to the ice followed by an injury report with “broken jaw” on it makes you feel like you accomplished something.
– EA Sports Hockey League mode is a great idea, but more annoying than fun – I still 100% stand by this. While I was able to play a few games in the EASHL mode, I spent more time waiting around and rejoining lobbies than I did playing games. After awhile, most top ranked teams just flat out refused to play newer teams. There is also the issue of glitch-goals that came into play, so most teams would only accept challenges from other teams with a full six-man roster. (Having a human controlled goalie eliminates most glitch-goal issues.)
– NHL 10 wasn’t a huge jump, but it was more than just an “upgrade” – I’d have to go with 50/50 here. While the new board play and fighting mechanics add to the game, I’m not quite sure the game really feels too much different. It’s definitely a smoother experience, but this makes it feel more rewarding more than it makes it feel like an evolution. The presentation and feel are leaps and bounds better… and I do believe it was worth the full asking price.
– NHL 10 fixed some nagging issues that had needed to be addressed for awhile – I’d say this is more false. Glitch-goals became almost unstoppable in the online portion of the game, and were easily exploited against AI opponents. Menus still experienced long pauses and some game modes were more of a hassle than they were worth.
Even with some of these points ending with negative tones, I’d say I almost feel exactly how I did back when I wrote the review. Of course, the longer a game is played online, the more people find to exploit, so the online portion of the game got a bit frustrating as time passed. However, I’ve easily played NHL 10 more than any game in the past year because it has a fantastic level of polish and never seems to drop in fun. While other users can ruin the experience at times, it doesn’t take away from how satisfying the game feels.
With that said, I want to experience a lot of changes with NHL 11. At this point, a more polished version of NHL 10 will feel too similar. Having played the demo for NHL 11, I can already say that the new physics system feels fantastic. Hits seem to register how they should, and movement feels more fluid and realistic. Combine this with everything else promised, and we could be looking at an even better game than last year. My biggest fear is that glitch-goals will return, and if the demo was any indication, they will. They are frustrating beyond belief… but I think the new modes and gameplay tweaks can solidify this game as the next step in the series.
(also featured on my personal site, powrdup.com)