Excerpt: It is another year, and time for another professional hockey game - NHL 12. EA Sports has made some interesting tweaks to the franchise this year. After installation, and updates NHL 12 started me in the Winter Classic. Now I don't watch hockey on TV so I did not know they were playing games outside in major stadiums. This is an excellent way to start this game. It got me pumped up to go and play some hockey. That presentation twist took me off guard, but I liked it.
Hockey sim with new features but more fights than before.
Common Sense Media
25 December 2011
Summary: Parents need to know that NHL 12 is a hockey simulation game that has some violence (more violence than previous versions), including the option to engage in a fist fight with another NHL player. From a first-person view, you can punch the other player in the face. Those who play online can talk with others (strangers). The game also has a lot of branding. For the first time, you can design and play with female players.
Conclusion: loving tweaks to the game engine to better emulate the real thing. First and foremost is the obvious upgrades to the computer AI for both your teammates and the opposition – defenses will now move into passing lanes more readily and cut off the cross ice passes; repeating the same tactics will cause new tactics being played against you – if stripping the puck doesn’t work, they will hold you up.
Excerpt: Hockey fans were very pleased with NHL 11 last year. It was an appropriately-paced game with plenty of features, smooth gameplay, and a nice feel to it. One year ago, I gave it a 90% rating in my review ( http://www.game-over.com/reviews/xbox360/NHL_11.html ). Since taking over the virtual hockey crown from 2K Sports in 2009, EA’s offerings have only gotten better. With NHL 12 , EA has not taken drastic measures to change the experience.
Excerpt: Hockey is a big part of my life right now. I work from home and live with my girlfriend, so I don’t really get out of the house much. The one thing that does get me out every week is playing defense for my hockey team, the Crystal Lake Slasher, every Monday and Thursday night. As a defenseman I have to understand the game at a relatively high level. I have to know positioning, how plays develop, how to break out of our zone, how to keep the puck in their zone, etc.
Conclusion: The steps forward for NHL 12 might not be as monumental as NHL 11 was, but at the same time they didn’t have to be. NHL 12 is a must purchase for hockey fans or even those who have passing interest in the sport.
Excerpt: First, the game looks very similar to last year’s. In many cases, given only the ice and skaters, the two would be indistinguishable. There certainly have been additions and tweaks to the presentation aspect of the game, such as details you would see in a TV broadcast, but overall, it’s largely unchanged.
Conclusion: Fans of the NHL series are unlikely to skip an entry, for any number of reasons, including the roster and uniform updates, the online play or the simple lack of competition, and there's no reason to start now, as this version's tweaks offer a genuine improvement over last year's well-regarded title, once you adjust to the more realistic controls (either through practice or tuner adjustments.
Conclusion: The third and final notable addition this year is the 2011 Winter Classic pitting the Washington Capitals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just like the real outdoor game held every New Year's Day somewhere in the northeast US, this doesn't mean much. It presents you with a pretty place to play a single game, but that's it. Heinz Field looks great with the snow coming down in the dark, and player uniforms pick up interesting reflections from the big stadium lights.
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.
Conclusion: You could make an argument that, with DLC nowadays, maybe the $60 annual sports games are overkill, unnecessary. NHL 12 is further proof that, for as complete as NHL 11 was considered, there seems to always be new, significant, quality additions that can be made from one year to the next.