[Critique] « NHL 23 »: EA’s desperate maneuvers


Who says new season in the National Hockey League (NHL) says new edition of the game NHL from Electronic Arts (EA). Is it worth putting aside the previous version to spend our hard-earned money again? We tell you right away, NHL 23 nothing of a revolution compared to NHL 22. Despite some interesting additions, EA has mostly put the gum on the presentation.

Among the most notable additions are the many new animations that make the gameplay smoother and more authentic. Among these, the « desperate manoeuvres » (last chance puck movement) consist of a series of animations that can be triggered when the puck carrier is off balance after contact. He can then attempt a desperate shot or pass, giving rise to spectacular plays. However, the new animations that caught our attention the most are those of the goalkeepers. More agile and quicker, the goalkeepers are better equipped this year to deal with popular strategies of attacking players, such as the cross pass and the one-timer shot. A necessary addition, although we ourselves had several bases stolen.

The other most notable addition is the possibility, in Franchise mode, to put yourself in the shoes of a commissioner of a personalized league whose entire structure is defined. Number of teams, number of divisions and conferences, salary floor and cap, total number of games to be played, etc. Everything goes there. You can even redefine the format of the playoffs and the type of qualification. We can’t wait to see someone recreate a league made up of only the original six NHL teams and faithful to the rules of the time. And above all, but here we speculate, we wonder if these are not the cornerstones for an upcoming return of the GM Connected online mode. Let’s dream.

Keeping Up Appearances

NHL 23 took a significant leap forward in terms of presentation. Thanks to the Frostbite game engine introduced last year, improvements to lighting and textures have been made again this year. There’s also a new interactive celebration when you win the Stanley Cup. The national anthems are back before games, in addition to light shows and projections on the ice like you can see in the NHL. All this against the backdrop of a much more engaged and vocal crowd, which reacts more realistically to the highlights of a match. Cheer.

Sadly, the Be A Pro offline mode is literally identical to the version of NHL 22. Already, last year, we wrote that this mode was in urgent need of a complete overhaul to introduce a narrative arc worthy of the name. We will still have to wait. Those who buy the game with this mode alone in mind should pass.

If, like us, you’re not a fan of the Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) online mode, there’s probably nothing in HUT 23 that will change your mind.
However, for the very first time, female hockey players will be included. It was time.

Finally, after dividing the community of players into four last year, players on the same generation consoles will finally be able to compete in HUT and in World of Chel. This cross-platform compatibility is planned for the month of November.

NHL 23

★★★ 1/2

Developed and published by Electronic Arts. Available on PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X & S.

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