Xbox 360 Review: NHL 13

Ice to see you to see you…

The NHL series is perhaps the most consistent of sports titles from EA, each year brings improvements and while it’s been several years since I’ve played one, I felt right at home when I booted up NHL 13, the latest entry in the franchise. Upon doing some research I discovered that the NHL might not have a season this year, how bizarre! Can you imagine something like that happening with the Premier League? The whole of the UK would go nuts, so I’m sure Americans must be in an uproar about it.

So it seems like NHL 13 could be the only shot that hockey fans have to see their favourites take to the ice, but the arcade feel of past entries has been replaced with something called “True Performance Skating” meaning the way you control your players are more realistic than ever before, making shots harder to do and even just flowing over the ice has changed, you’ll need to slow down to turn and take shots accurately, it’s challenging but rewarding once you master it.

All the standard modes that you would expect return like career options, exhibition matches and tournaments, a new mode lets you re-enact classic moments from famous NHL games and a new GM mode lets you play online in a league with hundreds of opponents, but since it’s early on it’s hard to really tell just how good it will work in the long term, it’s something to keep an eye on though.

A good old-fashioned fisticuffs has changed into a more complex control scheme with the analog sticks, I’d prefer a button-mashing fight to this…but it’s still good fun. The commentary is superb and manages to keep right up to date with the action, but also during the end of the periods you get advice on what you need to focus on to secure victory, but it also tells your opponent at the same time so you can see the strengths and weaknesses of both your team and your rival.

In terms of visuals, NHL 13 looks impressive and is easily the best looking NHL game out there, but the animations can be a little stiff at times, still it’s come a long way from the past few years. The menus do take a little work to navigate and sometimes I wish it was a case of “less is more” but it’s only a small complaint.

The Verdict

NHL 13 may have ditched the arcade style for a more realistic one and maybe that will divide fans, but it is rewarding, enjoyable and most of all…fun. If you are a fan of NHL, this might be your only chance to take to the ice with your favourite players this year, so it’s a worthy purchase.