EA draws a lot of criticism for its core sports franchises primarily featuring minor tweaks and improvements, along with rosters updates each year, and to some degree it’s understandable. As you can see in our review, this year’s Madden title tackled itself right into this category. Yet, earlier this year EA Tiburon teed up with a host of improvements and modes in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14: The Masters Historic Edition and now EA Canada has hit the ice in full force in NHL 14, delivering a virtual hockey experience that is the closest thing you’ll find to stepping into the rink for yourself.
Since 2009, EA Canada has been on a mission to bring the gameplay and physics of hockey to life accurately in virtual format, with each year’s release offering new game engines and refinements. While this is true for all of EA’s sports titles, the effort put behind these yearly releases has been blatantly obvious and when playing NHL 14 it truly feels like an authentic hockey experience. The sport of hockey isn’t only about scoring goals: major collisions, scrambling on the boards for the puck, maintaining a solid forecheck and defense, and even aggression are important aspects of the game. But it’s also the little nuances like the erratic bounces of the hockey puck after it’s rebounded off the goalie, the way a player skates, puck dumps for line changes and those intense power play moments when four defensemen are doing everything possible to simply clear the puck out of their zones. These are the things that paying fans attend games for and the accurate representation of these things in NHL 14 is a large part of what makes it such a great title. [Review Score: 4/5 Stars]