Every year sports games come out and should get better with every edition. However, â€œNHL 11â€ feels like a step in the wrong direction.
I want to like this game, but it feels unpolished and plays more like a demo being packaged up and sold at full price.
The stadiums are very nicely detailed and are a treat to look at. Even the crowd looks like it has been given more detail than the typical hockey game. If only the players were given the same amount of attention.
Most of the players do not look close to their real life counterparts, and it is sad. Especially when you consider how much better EAâ€™s other sports franchisesâ€™ players look â€“ â€œMadden 11â€ and â€œNBA Elite 11â€ (formerly â€œNBA Liveâ€).
Like all sports games, the announcers are bothersome and should just be turned off because they donâ€™t add anything useful to the game. Thankfully, the rest of the sounds in the game are very pleasant.
All of the on-ice collisions and checkings sound good and the crowdâ€™s cheers are fun to listen to. Iâ€™m worried the crowd will become repetitive over time though because they donâ€™t have much variety.
Last, and definitely not least, the soundtrack to the game is an interesting and fun playlist that helps bring the player into the atmosphere of the hockey game.
The weakest part of â€œNHL 11â€ is definitely the control scheme, which is the reason the game is a large step in the wrong direction.
The face-offs are confusing to learn. Plus, the passing and shooting system is cumbersome, and too many times I found myself entering the offensive zone on a three-on-two rush that ended in me passing the puck to an opposing defensemen.
The learning curve for the controls is definitely steep, and I donâ€™t think it will become second nature for many people.
â€œNHL 11â€ has pretty average gameplay and it doesnâ€™t do much to create a new and exciting hockey experience. The game felt like every other NHL game, made by EA or otherwise.
The detailed control scheme, which I assume was supposed to give players more control over each skater, is too complicated to be useful for the average gamer.
Any time I had sustained pressure in my defensive zone, I had skaters sitting around doing nothing for several seconds just watching. It was absurd and makes the game far harder than it should be.
As far as hockey games go, I would consider looking for alternatives. Possibly even older hockey titles because this game just doesnâ€™t feel right.
Video game reviewer Ian Hopkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.