NHL 11 :: XBox 360 Game Review
You can create the Ultimate Hockey Team in the latest addition to the awesome NHL series, but does that make this the ultimate game?
Almost all the things that you loved and enjoyed in EA Sports' NHL 10 is back in this year's game including Be A Pro mode, Be a GM, Playoff Mode, Tournament Mode, and Practice Mode. The big new focus this year, however, is the online EA Sports Ultimate Hockey League.
EA Sports Ultimate Hockey League goes through one month seasons where you make your own team and play online against other teams. At the end of the season, you can get placed into three different-level brackets for playoffs. The winner of the playoffs becomes the champion of the month and the next season starts.
When you first create a team, you are given a starter pack of cards. These player cards represent who you have on your team. You can trade them online and buy more packs. There are also coaching cards and other cards that lets you do things like improve your player cards. As you play games, you will earn EA pucks that you can use to buy more cards. You can also buy cards with real money.
New and Old School
Also new this year is a complex face-off system where you can position your player, change grips, and lift sticks to win face-offs. There are also breakable sticks that keeps games interesting. Lots of little things, like user-controlled goal celebrations, are super fun. Playing speed seems to be slowed down even more than last year from the speedy and arcade-like NHL 09, but this will allow for more dekes and passes. Passing is slightly different this year as well.
Overall, NHL 11 is great. The player card system for online play is a bit annoying to use and computer goalies still have that top circle point shot weakness, but the commenting and sound is still great and it looks even more realistic with new body contact physics. Definitely one of the best entries to the series.
ESRB Rating: E 10+