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When it comes to getting their game down pat, the EA teams up in Vancouver, Canada, are masters. Especially the NHL folks; because once you get your own hands on NHL 13, you won’t want to put down the controller.
By introducing momentum, and by being the first team-sports game to implement real-time physics in skating, NHL 13 is already an early favorite for sports Game of the Year – yes, even above Madden NFL 13 and all of its improvements.
Momentum allows you to grab total skate control over your player. The momentum is different for each player in the game and is based on his ratings, height and weight. A perfect example shown at E3 compared NHL 12 with NHL 13. When you’re on a full-speed breakaway towards the goal, in 12, turning was easy; you could stop and change direction at the drop of a dime. But in 13, you can’t do that anymore. Your momentum will cause you to sort of glide through the turn, causing you to go further than you want which could ultimately lead to nothing but a sloppy possession.
Also, when on offense, last year in NHL 12, the defender could easily keep up with you and your exact speed while skating backwards. It gave the defense an unfair advantage and was one of the few gripes gamers had last year. Now with momentum, the puck holder can use his speed and agility to get around the defender. In turn, this affects defense as well. You can’t skate backwards and dominate the competition anymore. You need to be able to know when to skate forwards and when to skate backwards. For those who aren’t used to hockey’s strategy, there is an option in the settings to have backwards skating on or off.Goalies are also less stagnant, as it seems they can move each of their limbs when attempting to block a shot. In general, goalie play is said to be much better thanks to the new skating physics.
When tying together the new momentum and skating implementations you would think something else has to improve. That something else is the AI. The NHL 13 team spent more time on AI this year than they have in the past three years combined. Each improvement I mentioned earlier that is at your disposal will be the way the AI plays against you.
Also, the AI is constantly learning how you play. NHL 13 wanted to get away from last year when some users figured out how to exploit the AI. Now the AI constantly pay attention to how you play. If you like running up the right wing to go in for the kill, they’ll figure it out. If you play an aggressive, offensive based 1-3-1, the AI will figure it out and changes may need to be made.
Also new are the way strategies work. Each coach has his own strategy, which he takes with him wherever he goes. Potentially you could see the Kings playing like Pittsburgh depending on who their coach could be.
As you can tell, Be A GM mode is getting a make over. Though the majority of the details are said to be coming out in the next couple of weeks, some information was available. The biggest bit of information given, though, was how the mode will be making its way online. You’ll be able to play with your friends and manage your team from an iDevice if needed. You can also watch the new and improve AI battle each other while watching your team, but still having control. You’re able to choose when to shoot the puck, to substitute, to switch lines, etc. You’re also able to draw up your own plays outside of the gameplay and then watch the AI perform that play.
There are less than six weeks left in NHL 13’s development cycle, so the team still has plenty of plans and finishing touches to put on what could possibly be the Sports Game of the Year.