According to EA Sports, it’s the world’s “Premier Hockey Video Game.” If you ask gamers, though, it’s more like the only one—main competitor 2K Sports only released the current version of their game, the Ryan Kesler-bedecked NHL 2K11 for iPhone and Wii. By steering clear of the PS3 and Xbox 360, they hope to gain enough time to make NHL 2K12 a clear improvement on EA’s NHL 12, but only time will tell.
Meanwhile, NHL 12‘s September release date creeps nearer, and EA has begun to release a trickle of information. Primary improvements to the game center around making it even more indistinguishable from watching a live game on TV: in addition to ever-more-complex player models and realistic crowds, the physics engine has been beefed up with what EA calls their “Full Contact Physics Engine.” No more awkward action figures gliding eerily across the ice as in the PS2 days; these players shift their weight, collide with each other, and move differently based on their size. The game’s Be a Pro mode has also been improved.
New to the game are highly improved dynamic goalies: players can “knock the net off and make contact with goalies, knocking them down or out of position, as they crash the crease,” and most importantly, EA promises that gamers will now be able to drop their goalie’s gloves and take a swing at players they don’t much care for.
Beyond EA’s press release and screenshots, little information is available about the game. It remains to be seen whether updated rosters, a better physics engine, and the improved Be a Pro mode are worth $70, though.
NHL 12 comes out in September for all major gaming consoles, and will most likely run hockey fans $59.99 in the US and $69.99 in Canada.