Real NHL isn’t happening anytime soon… and my mens-leagues haven’t fully started yet, (one practice last week and our first work-hockey game is on Tuesday) which has left me yearning for some hockey action these days. I’ve turned to NHL13 for a few hours a week to get this fix.
The game mode of choice has been on Xbox Live, in the Be a Pro mode. I would like to emphasize the ONLINE part of that statement, because honestly, the Be a Pro in single player is seriously lame – I feel like you’re not competing against anyone, and anyone who plays hockey is extremely competitive.
Over here are some things I really like about the game – keep in mind I’ve spent about 90% of my time playing Be a Pro On Xbox Live.
- The New Skating. No more turning on a dime. Gliding is important, and very real. No need to hit the Skate Boost button like a mad man anymore. People who play hockey in real life will appreciate how the skating has changed. Backwards skating is also very real, so switching stances and setting up for shots feels more realistic, and this makes positioning more important than ever.
- Personal Player/Character Achievement is great. As I score goals, make assists, and win or lose games, I feel attached to the player almost as if it actually is me. Better games and stats will allow more points to put into certain aspects of your player, such as passing, puck control, decking, wrist shot accuracy, etc.
- Goaltending. I haven’t played as goalie yet (not sure I will) but the goaltending from both real players in Be a Pro (kudos to you goalies..) and even the AI is great. The goalies no longer let in every single one timer or all the NHL95 wrap arounds we grew to love and hate.
- Necessity for Great Positioning. I said it above in the new skating bullet, but positioning seems to be the name of the game in NHL 13. I’ve found that simply trying to dangle through or fire off a snapshot the second you get the puck won’t even get you a shot on net anymore. You need to make sure you’ve got some positioning on your opponents or it will easily get blocked or deflected. The skating plays into this in that if you can shift into a backwards skate in the slot as your teammate has the puck on the wing you are in a great position to get a good shot off or make a better play.
- GM Connected. This brings a sense of community to your GM Mode that other games like Madden have had. The mobile app helps you keep track of your standings and trades too – ultimately bringing you closer to your team, and the league. One thing I’m not sure about though is scheduling… I guess I just don’t know too many other people in real life who are playing NHL 13. In the leagues I’m in, I’ve found it hard to play against others as I may only have an hour or so to devote to the game, and the chances that my opponent is online is usually slim. I think there is a way to sim all the games in GM Mode, which I am okay with (I’ll just play GM and trade players/edit lines/scout as I see fit, leaving my real playing of NHL13 to Be a Pro on Live). Managing a team is still fun even if I don’t have time to play all the games.