NHL 22 Review – IGN


Chunks of NHL 22 look like a booster of NHL 95, which introduced the spin-o-rama. This innovation was fast stick play that made it easier for a defender to dodge, at the expense of realism. Decades later, such skills have now evolved into X-Factors, giving some star players special moves. Now universal in NHL, Madden NFL and FIFA, they break up the simulation aspects for which these respective sports brands were previously known. And so, NHL 22 finds itself in conflict. It is reminiscent of the growing pains of the series in the early 2000s when arcade-style burlesque play reigned before giving way to a loyalty to real sport. With the almost total absence of penalty calls except for the most serious infractions (even with the penalty slider high), NHL 22 is moving towards this fantastic style but not fully embracing it.

It’s worth noting that this is the first game in the NHL to run on the Frostbite engine – important to say because you probably wouldn’t know otherwise. The change is almost invisible, which is sort of a triumph considering that Madden NFL still hasn’t technically fully recovered after making the change four years ago. On the other hand, it doesn’t look significantly better than NHL 21, as you would expect for the first game designed to impress on a new generation of consoles. So in this regard, no news is good news.

NHL 22 screenshot gallery

Instead, the changes are mostly these X-Factors, which make sense in the context. Some star players gain speed, others gain better shooting accuracy after a shot, or shooting power while skating. The idea being that these video game skill enhancements represent the specific skills of a gamer. The impact of these abilities is controlled by the fact that each team only has a handful of such stars, so it’s not like every player on the ice has a special ability. These X-Factors integrate perfectly with the modern NHL style of play and the NHL 22’s right analog stick puck handling control system; the accuracy of the latter improves with each annual game. For all of the integration, however, their effectiveness seems woefully insignificant in execution, and in some cases, invisible on the whole. Being able to deke without a speed penalty is a nice bonus to have here and there, but a far cry from the superpower that NHL 22 claims to be.

The biggest problem with NHL 22 is mostly superficial. Self-styled rink reporter Carrlyn Bathe is relegated to X-Factor’s abilities as if speaking on a promotional reel that keeps spinning at GameStop. On a face-off between the Blackhawks and the Penguins, she said, “Patrick Kane’s puck on a zone stringing ability is how he makes the attack. Crosby’s nice backhand ability is that nasty shot he uses to score. It’s shocking next to James Cybulski and Ray Ferraro’s comment, as they call the game straight (so steep).

Add to that hyperactive pre-matchup screen overlays, icon IDs, and other visual noises (which, thankfully, are customizable to some extent), and NHL 22 feels less like a broadcast than a game. arcade trying to get your attention. EA sells this as augmented reality, and nothing here is completely off limits when you consider how networks now use ever-increasing computing power to mark up hockey rinks with lines and graphical stat displays that don’t. are not really there. Still, NHL 22’s focus isn’t on real-world stats, but rather those skills of the game.

NHL 22 visually looks uneven, as if it is struggling with its style.

It’s also weird – NHL 22 visually looks very uneven, like it’s struggling with its style. A quirk like a fan’s hair growing out loud polygons during an intermission is a minor issue. The ice surface that looks like a dangerous, war-torn road, filled with potholes rather than scuffs, is not so appealing. Stranger, brighter swimsuits appear almost cel-shaded from a distance, a lighting quirk imperceptible when you’re close.

Upon entering the solo career in Be A Pro mode, the weirdness continues. It might be a prospect, but the agents and team leaders seen between in-game events appear to have oddly oversized hands. If it reads like wine, so be it; a new generation of consoles brings improved expectations, and NHL 22 makes glaring mistakes despite gains in player likeness and texture fidelity.

NHL 22 makes glaring mistakes despite gains in player likeness and texture fidelity.

Once on the ice itself, Be A Pro is fine, if it is stunted. Other sports games mimic movies with spoken characters and dialogue, but here everything is silent apart from Cybulski’s fictional podcast recounting the events while the text boxes determine the star’s personality created and the synergy of the star. the team. It certainly looks like a drop in quality from what other sports games have done. And yes, the progression is designed to push them to earn their X factor for what it’s worth, although the experience points gained have a bigger impact.

Franchise Mode hides X-Factor players in the Free Agent / Scout pool, making their hunt a secondary element to winning the Stanley Cup. Having a successful scout run means acquiring these abilities for your team, although this is more important when these players are typically rated higher. This season also brings the expansion, the Seattle Kraken, into the mix, and the resulting expansion project – which is good because it’s the only addition to a mode that’s effectively the same as the year. last.

Of course, the esports-focused CHEL league involves X-Factor capabilities as well. In Ones, Threes, or the General Team Play, elements of HUT make their way through allowing individualized avatars in the game to wear unlockable gear for a visual kick, and yes, X-Factors when they’re found. For hyper-competitive types this is fine, but general online play against others in one-off matches doesn’t have the bloat of CHEL.

The sublime physics of the NHL 22 puck and skating retain true simulation qualities.

Promotional chatter aside, it’s worth noting that the biggest gains in NHL 22 are in leveling the playing field between pros and newcomers. The sublime physics of the NHL 22 puck and skating retains true simulation qualities as the puck bounces off the boards or trickles into the net without being seen, but unlike the growing separation between casual and hardcore players in, say, NBA 2K, there is now reasonable middle ground in the NHL. It’s easier to find a realistic playstyle that results in authentic stats and scores without the need to understand the intricacies of hockey or play with the difficulty sliders. If anything, that seems more worthy of celebration than skills that are tweaked to suit a handful of players.

If there’s a good comparison to EA’s recent NHL fights, it’s MLB: The Show. The two found a practical and almost perfect formula to replicate their basic game on the field / on the ice five or six years ago; now the challenge is to find the “new” in what was hard to improve. In the case of the NHL, that led to the brash three, filled with fireworks, wacky stadiums and open three-on-three games. There’s always the three-way Ones mode, pitting trios of players against each other and a single goalie in a half-rink contest. At this point, it feels like reaching even though these modes provide a competitive charm for small groups online.

It’s also worth pointing out that there is a repeated pop-up on community inclusion when you first browse the menu, and while on the surface it looks like a business trying to please activists for points. brownies, we also have to keep in mind that hockey in general suffers from a racial divide. For example, HC Donbass player Jalen Smereck was the victim of a racist taunt last month, so NHL 22 is supporting tolerance at this time.

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