With the embargo lifted at midnight today, some NHL 17 reviews are trickling out from various outlets. We’ve played hundreds of games and spent extensive hands-on time with the Franchise, Be A Pro, Hockey Ultimate Team, but ultimately don’t feel comfortable leveraging a score without taking a few more shifts on the ice.
What’s the hold-up, you ask? EA Sports is dropping an extensive patch tomorrow that makes changes to several game modes, and we want to take these changes into consideration for the review. In addition, we want to get more games under out belt in EASHL and HUT when the servers go live to make sure everything is in working order.
We can, however, share some early impressions. Most of the changes coming this year feel complementary to the pre-existing infrastructure of the various modes – for better and for worse. Don’t expect any game changing features out of NHL 17. The EASHL is still the most unique experience the game has to offer, and the increased team and player customization are nice but still feel shallow. The franchise mode adds team relocation and business responsibilities like maintaining your arena and setting promotions, but does nothing to shore up the glaring inadequacies in scouting, player management, free agency, etc.
On the ice, the the shooting, passing, and checking control well enough, but we’ve seen countless problems in all areas of the ice due to poor puck awareness, awkward positioning, and players’ inability to pick up a puck at their feet. This last point is one the patch hopes to address, so we’ll take the tweaks into consideration.
Look for our review to post some time on launch day, September 13.