Tag Archives: NHL

NHL 15 Rant

fans-get-their-man-bergeron-as-nhl-15-cover-athlete-1111565That’s right, I’m back; your eyes aren’t deceiving you. You’re asking “but…why Monkey? Why come back after so many months away?” I’ll tell you why: NHL 15.

Before the release of NHL 15, the developers and EA Sports were bombarded by complaints from the fan base because information was released about the content of the game on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. A list (which I am putting below) was compiled by the Operation Sports community and fans of the series started cancelling pre-orders and voicing their disgust. 


No GM Connected
No Online Team Play (when this is patched into the game later this year, it will use real NHL players and teams)
No EA Sports Hockey League
No EA Sports Arena
No Online Shootouts
No Live the Life
No Be A Legend
No Winter Classic
No tournaments or Battle for the Cup
No season mode (you can only play seasons in Be A GM, which is limited to NHL teams)
No NHL 94 Anniversary mode
No custom music support
No create-a-play designer
Cannot customize each team’s AI
No create-a-team
No way to edit individual players
Practice mode is now limited to one skater vs. an AI goalie

No custom camera option
No Action Tracker replay highlights
No Top 3 Stars at the end of games.

Yearly draft is fully automated by the CPU
Cannot play the AHL games for your chosen franchise
Players sent down to the minors do not accumulate any season stats
No fantasy draft option
No preseason games
Be A Pro

No option to sim ahead to the next shift
You only play in the NHL; you cannot play for minor league teams
The Memorial Cup tryout period is gone. You now begin by picking an NHL team, or by letting a random CPU team draft you.
No All-Star game
Ultimate Team

Cannot play against your friends
No tournaments
No mobile app1403557456-media

Before I bought the game this morning I was fully aware of this list of omissions but decided to buy the game anyway. I had skipped NHL 14 because after NHL 13 I was sick and tired of how stale the series had become. The commentary team had remained the same for years and gameplay was lacking. Goalies on player controlled teams were awful and the game just didn’t provide me with an authentic hockey experience. I bought NHL 15 because I wanted a hockey game on my PS4 and also because I play offline Be a GM more than any other mode.

After a few hours of playing I realised that on top of the omissions noted in the list, there were a couple more. I scored a hat trick with Bobby Ryan at the Canadian Tire Centre and yet no hats were thrown onto the ice (despite the commentator making reference to hats being thrown onto the ice). You can’t even edit a player’s gear, meaning that when I signed Brodeur he was resigned to wearing a boring, dull white helmet.

The game itself features unrealistic contact physics meaning that hitting once again this year is just bad. There is no other way of describing it.  Sometimes contact wouldn’t even register and other times a much smaller player would take out a larger player and fling them back a couple of feet. Does everyone remember the hilarious glitch from a couple of years ago where a player was flung into the stands by a hit? EA Sports made light of the incident but it’s not funny anymore. Already, after only a few hours of gameplay, I’ve seen players flung over other player’s heads only to land in a way that would surely result in major bone fractures. Goalies on player controlled teams were just as unreliable as ever and seemed to be fooled by every deke. The AI team doesn’t bother setting up plays in the offensive zone and “forechecking” is a concept seemingly alien to the players.

While the commentary and presentation are certainly new, it’s not “better”. The dialogue seems a little robotic and there is rarely conversation between the two announcers. It just seems like sentences strung together one after the other with no real flow, except for at the beginning of the games. Even then, the dialogue seems a little weird and suggests that the development team may have had grander ideas for NHL 15 than what has come to fruition. At the beginning of a game verses the Panthers, Eddie Olczyk makes reference to something happening in the media which sounded a little bit like an outburst. This never happened anywhere in the GM mode and left me very confused as to what he was talking about.

The worst part about the game is not anything listed above, but the crashes which result in lost games and anger from the player. I decided to write this rant after crashing for the fourth time, losing my game data. This needs to be fixed because the last thing EA needs right now is more problems with this game.

I knew I was getting a bare bones game but on top of visuals it seems like no significant improvements have been made, not just on last year, but on NHL 13. I still have the same complaints that I did two years ago.

Insult to injury was a1403493488-mediadded to those in the community playing the game on the PS3 and 360 when it as revealed that the latest installment is pretty much a carbon copy of last years game, but with newer rosters and a new commentary team. Youtuber Domski made a really good video highlighting all the similarities (and no, it’s not fake): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn5XHhd9zbc

EA Sports could have done a variety of things to make things better. For one, they could have delayed the release of the game. NHL 15 is clearly unfinished and the team should have been given more time to work on the title. The NHL season hasn’t even begun and I’m sure people would have waited a bit longer for the game if it meant getting an improved experience. FIFA doesn’t come out till the end of September when the big leagues like the BPL etc. have already started in real life, so NHL being delayed till the start of the hockey season wouldn’t have been that strange in my eyes.

They could also have reduced the price of the PS4 and Xbox One versions. I traded games in to get my copy but other people have paid upwards of $70 (CAD) for this game which is essentially a really good tech demo. The modes people love and play most often are not there such as EASHL and GM Connected. People are left wondering why when FIFA and Madden were able to get a complete next gen experience to fans when the new consoles were released, why the NHL development team has failed to produce similar results almost a year after?

If EA really didn’t waNHL-15-screennt to reduce the price they could at least answer their fans. I tweeted Sean Ramjagsingh, the producer of the series, numerous times leading up to the release of the game and I did not receive one reply. If you look on his twitter feed he only tweets positive things about the game (obviously because he wants the series to have a good image) but when the community is clearly outraged, it would look better for him to face his critics. I have seen the series stagnate and worsen in recent years and whether Mr. Ramjagsingh likes it or not, he is the face of the franchise. The Facebook page is similarly quiet, the wall being dominated by complaints from the community yet there is not a word in reply from the company. There is no dialogue and this is harmful to the series, especially as EA has such a bad reputation among the gaming community anyway.

As I write this the user Metacritic score for NHL 15 on PS4 is 3.1 and for Xbox One 2.4. Playstation 3 is even lower with a 0.8 and lower still for 360 users coming in at 0.7. The game should be seen as an embarrassment by the developers because it only looks worse when compared to the likes of Madden 15, FIFA 15 and (in my opinion) the current leader in the sports game market, NBA 2k.

If EA Sports don’t sit up and take note, things can only get worse for NHL 16.


EA Sports predicts a Bruins Stanley Cup victory in 2014

nhl-14-playoff-simulation-header_656x369Fans of the NHL and the EA Sports NHL franchise will be used to the yearly prediction from EA as to who will win the top prize in North American hockey.  So far they haven’t done a terrible job, predicting that the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks would win as well as the 2012 Los Angeles Kings.  In 2011 they also predicted correctly the Final matchup.  Last year they guessed wrong with the New York Rangers but this year they might just be right if my own predictions are correct.

NHL 14 has the Bruins making their way through the Red Wings, Canadiens and Rangers to skate out in the Finals against the San Jose Sharks, who themselves bested the Kings, Ducks and Avalanche.  Only time will tell if EA has predicted correctly, but one thing I will say is, my money was on the Bruins from day one.


Check out the story for more information on the EA Sports website: http://www.easports.com/nhl/news-updates-gameplay/article/nhl-14-playoff-simulation

Don’t be “that kind” of sports fan

I’m going to break from writing about gaming for a moment to discuss something that is equally as important to me.

Growing up I was always asked one question when I told someone where I was from: “Are you from the claret or blue side of the city?”  To many people in the UK this question is easily understood but for my readers who have no idea what this question pertains to, I will briefly explain.  I am from Birmingham, England.  As you probably know, soccer is a national obsession there and one city that demonstrates this perfectly is “Brummagem”.  In the city there are two ‘major’ teams that have an intense hatred for one another.  Aston Villa and Birmingham City.  If you are born in Birmingham, chances are you will be born into eithcroppeder a claret (Villa) or a blue (City) family.  I was born blue and regardless of results or league position I will always be cursed with this.  

However I went to school with (mostly) Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and a couple of West Brom fans.  Most of these “glory hunters” (exclduing of course for the West Brom fans) had never been to Manchester, London or Liverpool and they were viewed by the local teams fans as another level of fan.  A lower level.  “It’s easy to support a team like Man Utd” they would say, “because they are a good team.  Try supporting Birmingham (a then newly promoted Premier League side), now THAT is being a true fan.”  This same sentiment, based purely on georgraphy, was echoed in the stadiums.  I used to be a seaso1549268_10153800048450523_937546990_an ticket holder at St. Andrews (arguably the home of football…OK I did say “arguably”) and whenever we played teams like Manchester United, chants of “at least we support the local team!” would ring out across the stadium, directed at the few thousand ‘travelling’ fans.  I admit, I used to chant this too.  I sometimes needed a break from accusing the referee of self love or singing “sh*t on the Villa” (a popular folk song from home).   It was wrong of me though and the first part f the chant is what botheres me the most: “at least…” I say this after maturing, I know.  This sentiment has bothered me, especially in my early twenties, because I now no longer live in Birmingham and have spent a good chunk of my life loving sports and leagues that are in other countries.  For instance, over the past few seasons I have come to love Bayern Munich.  A couple of weeks ago, I sat down to watch them play VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga.  It was a1607018_10153800058635523_1808464125_a hard fought match which resulted in a Bayern win thanks to a magical scissor kick by Thiago after a perfect cross from Rafinha.  It was a moment every soccer fan wants to see and watching Bayern as much as I have over the last few seasons, I have seen magic many times.  I’ve never been to Munich.  I’d love to but I’ve only ever driven through Germany.  Should the fact I’ve never been to the home of Bayern stop me from supporting the team?  No, and here’s why.

I enjoy watching Bayern.  I like the players, their personalities and their skill.  I like the organisation and their “German talent first” mentality.  So there you go.  I challenge you to give me a good reason why I shouldn’t say I’m a fan.  Sure they are the best team in Europe and of course I like that, but so what?  


Now that’s settled, I have another example.  I now live in Ottawa, ON and have done for about three years in total.  One of the reasons I chose this city is because of the NHL team here, the Ottawa Senators.  I was a Sens fan before I came to Canada.  I had grown up a Red Wings fan thanks to a combination of visiting Detroit when I was 8 and liking Steve Yzerman, Brenden1620676_10153800072450523_1411100119_a Shanahan and Chris Chelios.  I loved these guys but when they started to retire or leave I felt like I wanted to pick a new team that I wanted to identify
with, and in my thinking, “grown up” support.  By this I mean, follow a team through highs and lows.


I picked Ottawa partly because it’s a Canadian team (and I love Canada), partly because of Daniel Alfredsson and partly because it was a fairly new kid on the block and didn’t make me think of the knuckle-puck first and NHL second (sorry Ducks fans).   Supporting an NHL team from England is difficult.  When you are far away from the team, you tend to be with people who don’t care about it.  I’d go out wearing a hockey sweater only to be looked at strangely.  I’d talk about how the two line offside pass is no longer in the league, and I’d be ignored.  It was tough not supporting a locaOttawa_3l team, or even a local sport.  Now I’m in Ottawa surrounded by Toronto, Montréal, Pittsburgh, Boston fans etc.  I have gone from being one of those fans that should be told by Blues fans to “support my local team” to being a supporter of my local team.  Cool, right?   I mean, it really makes a difference, right?  Our survey says, EHH EHH!  Wrong.  It makes no difference.  Sure, I know the Canadian Tire Centre like the back of my hand now, which I didn’t five years ago, but apart from that I love the Sens just as much.  It’s made not one jot of difference.  In my opinion, geography is, or at least should be, of little concern to fans.

have one more point to make before I get off my soap box.  Unless you have been living under a rock, you will know that the Seattle Seahawks are currently Super Bowl Champions, and they are a team I’ve been watching and supporting lately.  I used to be really into the NFL but stopped following it until this season when I decided to start watching again.  I used to like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (due to many a holiday in Florida when I was young) and the New England Patriots, but decided on a  fresh start.  A new team.download

I chose the Seahawks for a few reasons.  Here they are:
1) They are in a different conference to the Patriots, a team that my friend really likes.
2) I played as them on the Madden 25 demo before the season began and won my games using them.
3) Seattle is the nearest team to where I used to live in Vancouver, BC.
4) The personalities of players like Richard Sherman.
I shouldn’t have to justify myself, but there you go.

The term “bandwagon fan” is being thrown about all over the internt right now and I really don’t like it.  Sometimes being a fan from afar is hard.  Seahawks gear is really hard to come by; your friends are most likely Brady fans and your team is never on local TV.  Sometime20110820_SEAHAWKS_MINN_1060s it takes more work to like a team that is thousands of miles away.  You have to keep up via NFL.com (or it’s equivalent in NHL, Premier League, etc.) and you have to pay for viewing packages or cable to watch the games.  You have to go out of your way to find fans of the team you like to stay part of that community.  It really isn’t easy.  I chose the Hawks before they were Super Bowl bound, but even if I didn’t, why should it matter?

I’ll end with this.  Next time you see a guy or a girl wearing a Manchester United jersey or a Sidney Crosby sweater, don’t judge them.  Sometimes these people are hard core fans who might know more about the sport or the team than you do.  You being an idiot about it will only make you look bad.