Can't wait to hear everyone's thoughts!
NHL 94 mode is rubbish as I figured.
Hitting seems to be turned up compared to 13, players that shouldn't be able to check well usually don't, save for Hossa laying out Chara in the neutral zone and Brookbank and Bergeron getting into a scrap. The fighting engine is much more fun than the first person view we have had forever, did beat Chara with Toews after Toews laid out a Boston player. Slapshots look to be more powerful as well, although I wasn't having any success getting Chara slappers from the point to go anywhere but wide.
Has anyone been able to find the demo on XBL? EA's website says it's available now, but I can't find it in the games section.
Edit: Never mind. Found it. You have to go to the demo's tab in the Games area to find it.
Maybe I'm just spoiled with my NHL13 pro that has all stats related to checking at 95+, but hitting seemed harder to me.
I was kind of worried when I read that EA felt that poke checks were OP in 13, but I was able to poke check without problems in the demo.
One touch dekes are disappointing. Maybe I just suck at dekeing though. It's never been a huge part of my play style.
Goalies seem harder to beat after a bit of time in the free skate.
I can't figure out how to do the backwards strafe. Maybe it's just automatic and I'm not noticing it's different.
The thing that I'm most excited about, "Live The Life," is not available in the demo. Kinda figured, but I was hoping for a small teaser at least.
Overall, it doesn't make me want to rush out and buy it, but it doesn't make me not want it either.
Edit: Got a bit more time to play this at lunch, so here's some additional thoughts:
The AI defense is way better than it used to be. At one point, I had a step on the RD on the rush and the LD strafed over and checked me before I could angle towards the net and get a shot off. Overall, I'm barely getting open shots or passing lanes.
The enforcer engine is both annoying and cool. I landed a giant (clean) hit with Bryan Bickell and was immediately engaged in a fight. That was cool. The annoying part is that we'll now be subjected to the same pushing and shoving animation after nearly every whistle.
They've completely screwed true performance skating, imo. I had grown very accustomed to using the LT to initiate backwards skating as a speed control. Now, you just end up doing a spin-o-rama. All the time I put into learning to control my skater's position on the ice is out the window. Time to learn all over again.
Speaking of relearning controls, I really wish they'd drop the stupid rule where you can't change from Rookie difficulty to anything else. I fall into the same pattern every year.
1. Get my ass completely handed to me at Pro difficulty.
2. Play a season in the juniors on Rookie and learn the controls.
3. Continue playing at rookie because I don't want to play through the juniors again and EA won't let me change my difficulty once I've set it to Rookie.
It's completely asinine. It's a single player game mode. There should be no reason I can't change from Rookie to Pro when I've learned the controls well enough.
FTR: I've had the game settings set to "Simulation." I'm going to try some of the other modes to see how it's different.
I was playing and I got hit and flew across the ice...im done.
Feels 100% exactly like NHL13 for me. *Shrugs*
I was using the Bruins and one cool thing I wanted to point out. Kelly automatically checked someone hard right after the faceoff. Then Carcillo went after him and I was forced to fight. That was one of the key things they left out for so many years. Anyway, after I laid out Carcillo, I liked how his left eye was all red. You just see that huge welt on his face and it's pretty neat.
That's all really. Hitting, shooting, skating, passing... I dunno. All feels like NHL13 before the tuner updates screwed it all up.
I like the improvements, although the fighting after a clean hit annoys me. Hopefully its just bumped up for the demo to highlight fighting.
Screening the goalie is actually effective and tip shots are great which makes it worth going in front of the net.