The full unveiling of NHL 18 may still be more than a week away — nine days to be exact (June 21) — but information is slowly coming out from the game’s small appearance at EA Play in Los Angeles.
As confirmed via the teaser trailer, the game is not on the Frostbite Engine that both FIFA and Madden have jumped to in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Gameplay has seen improvement in the form of an overhaul to the game’s AI, leading to more realistic play by every player away from the puck. The offensive skill stick has also been enhanced to open the door for more impressive dekes, passes and goals.
But don’t think it’s all focused on the offense.
A source who was able to spend time with the game during EA Play told Sports Gamers Online that defensive players will now be able to better utilize the skill stick in order to break up passes and successful take the puck away.
The big new mode this year is NHL Three’s (official name pending). The mode takes inspiration from 2009’s NHL 3-on-3 Arcade title that featured fun, over-the-top gameplay. In addition to a standard arcade version, the new mode will see implementation in EASHL in some form.
When it comes to current modes, it should be of no surprise that league expansion has made its way to the game’s franchise mode. Relocation debuted in NHL 17, but with the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights this year, EA Sports has added the ability to add a 32nd team to the league in order to even out conferences.
What fans won’t see with NHL 18, however, are major improvements to the game’s Be-A-Pro mode or the return of an Online Franchise mode. What also was avoided by staff was a question regarding in-season contract negotiations, likely suggesting that the feature still won’t be available in the game.
NHL 18 will see a full reveal during the NHL Awards on June 21. The reveal will included a full trailer, game mode reveals and the announcement of the cover athlete.