Summary: Of the four major North American sports, hockey ranks behind only football in terms of its physicality. It’s a brutal game played at high speed; finesse players make headlines with their graceful goal-scoring, but bigger, stronger, and slower skaters have important purposes to serve, too. Alas, videogame hockey is a different story. The virtual ice is a wide-open arena in which racking up points is of paramount importance.
Excerpt: Jeremy Roenick’s face is a disaster. Both eyes are sporting ugly shiners, and we’re pretty sure his nose isn’t pointing the same direction it was when the season started. Worst of all, it’s not even his fault – he’s been in ten fights in the first month of the season. This isn’t because J.R. is particularly prone to fisticuffs, although he mixed it up plenty during his Hall of Fame-worthy career.
Pros: Tough, physical play at net, Puck physics better than ever, Many deep, polished modes
Cons: Legends mode is BORING, Menu load times take forever, Be A Pro getting a bit stale
Excerpt: This yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s EA Sports brand seems to be more about refinement than advancement. Every title I have reviewed seems to make strides to improve last yearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s already stellar performance with some work...
Pros: + Plenty to keep you playing, + Graphics are a treat, + Improved AI
Cons: Be a Legend feels shallow, Not a lot of new features
Summary: EA Sports' NHL 11 reached the pinnacle of hockey gaming last year by featuring the most enjoyable and most accurate arcade simulation of the sport ever made. So where do you go from there? NHL 12 answers that question with a range of subtle refinements and additions that improve play on the ice in a number of ways, as well as add new features like being able to skate as a number of NHL greats.
Pros: Accurate simulation of real NHL hockey, Subtly improved defensive zone coverage and anticipatory AI, Expanded CHL play lets you really get into your Major Junior career, New Be A Legend mode taps into a limited slice of NHL history
Cons: Very few major differences from NHL 11, Some of the new defensive AI exposes problems with the offense, Inelegant incorporation of the new Winnipeg Jets
Summary: A terrific hockey game with improved A.I. and physics, NHL 12 reminds us why the ice is so much fun. While some new additions fall a bit flat, it's another extremely solid entry in an enjoyable franchise.
Pros: The improved A.I., The enhanced physics engine, The overall strong presentation
Cons: Legends integration is stale, Be a GM needs an upgrade, Be a Pro camera is just fair
Summary: NHL 12 is the latest installment on the hockey franchise, where you can play your way to super stardom in the revamped Be a Pro mode and experience the authentic action and energy of real life hockey with the Full Contact Physics Engine.
Conclusion: The additions that change the gameplay do make enough difference to those schooled in the ways of hockey, and the goal tenders being made more real is a big boost to how 'authentic' the whole thing feels. But is it worth it for those who like it but who don't know their Jarome Iginlas from their Sergei Samsonov? You've got to say no, even if it is, yes, still a great game.