We are right smack in the middle of the NHL 22 Technical Test. This initial test of NHL 22 is in closed beta, which leaves a lot of the public out of first impressions. However, Sports Gamers Online’s resident Hockey fan and Managing Editor Mike Straw is in. In conversation with Senior Writer and fake hockey fan Jake Jacobson on this week’s SGO Press Pass, Straw talks about his time so far with the NHL 22 beta, and how it may not feel enough like its own game.
It would be hard to categorize Straw’s feedback as negative. Like many fans, he’s excited that attributes are back. He’s having a good time defending the net in World of CHEL Threes. See, the NHL 22 beta isn’t bad, but it also doesn’t feel new. For better or for worse, Straw says, playing the NHL 22 beta feels like more NHL 21.
SGO Press Pass: How Does The NHL 22 Beta Feel?
Mike Straw: Gameplay-wise, so… get into the Beta, it only focuses on the World of CHEL. They brought back attribute allocation, which was a big win. They didn’t do… there’s some things I don’t like, the fact that your sticks and your skates don’t matter. I want equipment to matter again… that I think would do a lot to come back. And, you can only go up and down five points, it seems, in your ratings. Which is annoying because, as someone who plays EASHL Threes, I don’t need anything in my fighting because there is no fighting in that specific version of the EASHL. So why is it, no matter what, always gonna be above 60? It doesn’t need to be. Let me knock it down below 0 and put it anywhere else.
Jake Jacobson: Sure
Straw: Gameplay, it looks good. Frostbite is Frostbite… but the animations, there’s way too much, it just feels like I’m playing NHL 21. To be honest. Some people are like, “oh I like how the passing feels, I like this.” Shot blocking feels nice… but, there is way too much that feels like NHL 21. There’s not a lot of animation changes, there’s not a lot of physics changes. Goaltending feels… better? I haven’t played enough, I’ve only played maybe like three games as a goaltender so far, so… for now it feels better. We’ll see how much longer it lasts. Body checks look OK. AI is… since it’s the World of CHEL, there really is no AI, so we don’t know how the AI plays.
Jacobson: Do you know if EA’s talked about… probably not much I guess, huh? Do we know, like, is AI something that they’ve even mentioned that they are, like, “We’re making [improvements],” or anything like that?
Straw: Not yet. We won’t get the full gameplay deep dive until the end of September.
Maximum Football, EA PGA Tour and More
Our dynamic duo also talks about the latest EA PGA Tour news, discussing whether scooping up all available PGA tournament licenses is enough to sell a new golf game. They also dip into the recent acquisition of Maximum Football by Maximum Games. Jacobson tries hard to solve the mystery of who will develop a new Maximum Football game. Which, in hindsight, is a silly conversation considering Modus Games announced that Gamescan and FUN Labs would be doing it.
The SGO Press Pass is the flagship podcast on Sports Gamers Online. Managing Editor Mike Straw and Senior Writer Jake Jacobson recap and discuss the top sports game news stories live every Wednesday at 8:30 PM EDT on our Youtube channel. If you like the podcast, consider supporting the site by becoming an SGO Insider.