“You hate sports games” is the answer I got from most of my friends when I asked them to help me out and play with me on multiplayer. They now all love NHL 13. We’ve had a mini league going on the past few days and it’s been awesome.
Let me start by saying the graphics are fantastic. It was beautiful to play, and for the spectators to watch. The reflections off the ice, the skate marks left and the crowd left me slightly stunned for a second, until I realised I actually had to move the controller and actually play.
The controls remain the same as previous NHL's move with the left stick, shoot with the right stick but this time round true performance skating has been added. I quite quickly adapted to this having played ice/roller hokey when I was younger. In layman's terms the faster you go the harder it is to control the puck. The goaltenders have also got a hell of a lot better, easy taps into the goal are no more. They are fully animated, and I have to say the Penguins (my team of choice) have been epically good at saving goals for me. The only ones he's let in are some super flukes. For example, I was playing with my friend who hit the cross bar, it bounce back at one of his players who happened to have his stick up and it bounce straight back into the top left hand side. I was gutted. It was the first and only match I lost on multiplayer.
The usual season modes are still here, battle for the cup, be a GM, be a pro and legends. They remain mostly unchanged from latter games, yet some have been tweaked slightly. In regards to online play, versus and EASH are in full swing.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing this just in multiplayer and actually playing as apposed to managing. My friends and I have had some stonking games. It’s so easy to get really warped up in this game, and get incredibly competitive. This is all helped by the usual stadium noise and sound track, although the commentary seems unbelievably repetitive, it could make a really good drinking game*.
If you don’t have any friends around and don’t really even feel like playing ice hokey, that’s okay. GM allows you to manage your team from the directors box. The aim is to successfully train and guide your team into a dynasty. GM connect, as the name suggests allows you to go online and compete with friends in your own league. It is capable of hosting up to 750 players or 30 teams. Play against your friends and see who will win the Stanley Cup. Although I see the appeal for some people, this is a bit too Football Manager for me and I far preferred actually playing ice hockey rather than managing the team.
With an astounding amount of different mode options available, even the menu having sub-menu entitled 'other modes', where you'll find Be a GM, Be a Pro, Be a Legend, Playoff, Season, Tournament, Practice and Shootout modes. I've found it hard to play each of them to a good enough standard to review absolutely everything as it deserves. This game pretty much has something for everyone. From first time NHL players to players who have to work their way through the franchise. The biggest difference to the new game is the introduction of the new AI system. This leads to more informed players who are more aware of their surroundings than precious games and gives far more realistic game play.
Overall I've found this to be an extremely playable game, with or without friends, on or offline. The atmosphere created by the stunning graphics and booming music get you totally pumped to play and the phrase "Okay, one more match" crops up again and again until you realise you've been playing for about six hours. The controls remain relatively the same as NHL 12 and are simplistic enough for someone who may have only played one or two sports games to pick up quickly. In fact if you're new to the franchise it might be easier for you to pick up the new true performance skating. As mentioned before there is an abound of things to do and different modes to play which could possibly, if you're in to it, keep you entertained for longer than Skyrim.
X360gamer.co.uk takes no responsibility for the consequences of this made up drinking game. But if you play it and it's really good, I'll take all the credit.