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NHL 13

Release Date: 
Game Platform: 
PS3/Xbox 360
EA Canada/EA Sports
Star Rating: 
7 out of 10

EA Sports’ annual Puck You to hockey fans.

The Pitch: NHL 13 returns even if the National Hockey League won’t be. Upgrades to player AI and more realistic skating physics are the big selling points for the premiere hockey franchise this time around.

What It Really Is: Disappointing.  Inconsistent collision, buggy physics and awkward player movement trumped most of the good experience we had with NHL 13. After the excellence of NHL 11 and the middling upgrades of 12, many of us hoped for more from 13. Instead, EA delivered a hockey game that inexplicably feels like an arcade game but with an annoying blanket of skating realism thrown over it. While the new GM mode actually adds a solid helping of depth for devout hockey fans, the new NHL Moments Live mode is the slapdash addition du jour for most sports franchises and, without a hockey season to generate new moments, it’s gonna get stale fast. Unfortunately, in many ways, NHL 13 is a letdown to hockey devotees who really could’ve used a pick-me-up after the lockout announcement. It’s a tough time to be a hockey fan, doubly so for our brothers up north..because it’s always tough to be a Canadian. Ready-Made Press Blurb: “We’re forgoing ice fishing this year so we can spend more time with NHL 13. And we really love ice fishing.”

Fun Fact: For the first time ever, two actual female hockey players, Angela Ruggiero and Hayley Wickenheiser, are included in the game. We’re not sure why you’d only include two lady players instead of an entire team but this is hockey, logic be damned.

Who’s It For: Hockey fans. Period. If you’re not looking to get your surrogate fix of actual Hockey from this game there’s little other reason to play. NHL 13 lacks the wider appeal of it’s ancestors like 94, 99 and 11; it’s just not as fast or fun as we hoped it would be.