Having purchased NHL 11, 12, and now 13, I've been hoping that with each purchase, the game would get better... unfortunately, I've been left disappointed just about every time.
Graphics: 4/5 The graphics, I think, look a bit better than a year or two ago, but the wonky looking collisions are still there, and there are more God awful faces than good ones.. there's also no emotion on any of the faces either.
Sound: 3.5/5 Seemingly the same exact commentary as the past couple years, which isn't too bad, but the soundtrack's more miss than hit, and that's unfortunate. The fans, hits, and sound of saves/the puck hitting the boards is as good as ever, and only made better with a headset (Turtlebeach or something).
Control: 3.25/5 Nothing but frustrating ... the puck has a mind of its own way too often, and the AI is just stupid. Also, the whole "realistic physics" and "explosive skating" things are fine and good, but it almost literally takes 2 hours and 15 minutes for you to turn around and get a puck that's five feet behind you.
Fun: 3.25/5 It's really not much different than the past two years, but I've just had enough of the bull. The game's presented very well, it looks good, and it can be fun when it doesn't feel like the rubberband AI is deliberately working against you (Three of your own teammates on one guy in a corner, he comes out with the puck and scores on what should be an easy save). There are also countless other problems that I have with it. To name a few:
1.) I will often have a handful of breakaways and 25-30 in one game, and the opposing goalie -- regardless of rating -- will often make a Jesus Christ save every single time. The other team will then get about two goals with their first three shots on goal, resulting in a power down of my 360.
2.) Often times I'll throw my player's body on the ice to block a pass or shot, but I'll go to a replay and clearly see the puck pass through my body.
3.) While passing across the ice, the puck seems to magically hit a skate or stick almost half the time.
4.) The AI in Be a GM will constantly offer trades with the same player over-and-over again, despite declining the trade once, twice, thrice, etc.
5.) Players like Datsyuk can take down Wookiees without an issue.
6.) User-controlled player is often left alone with the puck on attack while the team decides it's the right time for a line change ... even if it's just a few moments after a faceoff.
7.) Overall, the AI is pretty awful. The box is full of shit in claiming that it's better than ever, or something along those lines.
Thankfully, I only paid $22 for this game ($40 on sale, $20 gift card). It's not an unplayable game, but it's nothing more than a glorified version of rock, paper, scissors. Getting a goal is as rewarding as ever, but it doesn't really matter when the opposing team can get an easy wrist shot goal from just inside the blue line as often as they do.
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