|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: EA Canada|
|Pub: EA Sports|
|Release: September 12, 2011|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p||Mild Violence|
And there are many more signature traits where those come from. EA has managed to pack an incredible amount of depth into NHL 12's gameplay. It's almost a shame that a new one will hit the shelves in a mere 12 months.
If you were a fan of the controls in NHL11, you'll be perfectly comfortable in this latest incarnation. It's a little bit more difficult to hit people and score, but all of the buttons and analog sticks should perform the same functions. If they don't, you probably need a new controller.
EA has also spent some time tweaking the Ultimate Hockey Team feature that they implemented last year. Basically, Ultimate Hockey League is like a fantasy hockey league that can be played via Xbox Live or PSN. This explanation might be a tad simplistic, considering how much thought must be put into every single decision in the UHT.
Ultimate Hockey Team tasks players with collecting players' cards, assembling a team, and entering that team into the league. Players are allowed to trade or purchase new cards, but they need to pay attention to things like salaries, contract length, and chemistry. UHT was pretty popular in NHL 11, and I assume that the same will be true of 12. It's a welcome distraction from the standard gameplay.
And Legends mode actually affects many of the other game modes in NHL 12. Now players are able to play as (or play with) the biggest names that hockey has ever known. You'll be able to play as Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, and many more.
You will also be able to select legendary cards in Ultimate Hockey Team and put Wayne Gretzky into your multiplayer lineup. Obviously, this detracts from EA's vision of overall realism, but we'll give them a pass. Playing as Mario Lemieux totally makes up for it.
NHL 12 is a welcome addition to the NHL family. EA has seemingly done the impossible by revamping the game in a way that not only increases the realism, but also improves the gameplay. NHL 12 also includes a few extras that are guaranteed to make it a fan favorite (like Legends, goalie fighting, and the Winter Classic). American hockey fans and pretty much all of Canada will not be disappointed by this title. So go pick it up if you want EA to continue defying science.
CCC Contributing Writer