Ahead of the launch of the game’s technical test, EA Sports has released the NHL 23 gameplay trailer. The new trailer takes a deep dive into everything coming on the ice for this year’s game.
In addition to the trailer, the company released a written dive into what’s to come that you can see below:
LAST CHANCE PUCK MOVEMENT
Contact with another player is one of the most frequent occurrences in gameplay and now in NHL 23, Last Chance Puck Movement adds another layer of authenticity and excitement to gameplay with 500 new animations related to player contact and desperation plays.
Last Chance Puck Movement encompasses a new series of desperation gameplay animations that react to player contact with one another for more accuracy and authenticity.
In previous EA SPORTS™ NHL titles, various levels of contact resulted in a loss of offensive player control to reward defense, but this model lacked authenticity and impeded in-game action. Last Chance Puck Movement keeps the game flowing by allowing players to react to contact rather than freeze so you can create more dynamic plays on the ice.
A new mechanic accompanies this addition to gameplay. When players double-tap “shoot” or “pass” buttons while skating towards a loose puck, they’ll be able to dive, in a desperation attempt, at the puck.
Last Chance Puck Movement brings EA SPORTS NHL closer to the reality of on-ice hockey plays, so it’s only fitting that we focused on replicating real-world examples of desperation plays seen in the NHL to develop and improve this aspect of gameplay.
To balance this feature, desperation moves have been added to defensive play features. Therefore, if a defensive player is in a favorable position, desperation plays made by the defense using Last Chance Puck Movement will be countered more easily.
NEW ADDITIONS TO STRATEGIES
In addition to Last Chance Puck Movement, NHL 23 will bring you more control over every action with updated strategies.
There are two new strategies added to NHL 23. The first, is the 1-3-1 power play, and the second, which serves as a counter to 1-3-1 is the 1-1-2 on the penalty kill, which you might know as Triangle +1 or Wedge +1.
In addition to these strategies, NHL 23 will feature Assisted Strategies which will include an in-game pop up that notifies players if there’s an opportunity to modify their strategy during the game, increasing the competitiveness of play.
NHL 23 will also feature more control over face-offs with the ability to rearrange player positions before and after face-offs. This feature allows you to set up plays with more accuracy than in previous years, improving gameplay strategies.
On the Power Play, you can assign three different roles to players: Distributor, Finisher and Puck Carrier. Based on your assignment, the game’s AI will distribute the puck based on role, position, situation, and X-Factor tendencies, adding an extra layer of differentiation to the feel of players on-ice.
NHL 22 introduced the X-Factor system to highlight the greatest skills of some hockey players while providing players with the most significant abilities that appear in-game. NHL 23 brings you two new X-Factors to accompany our two cover athletes.
The first is Sarah Nurse’s “Relentless,” which increases your ability to shoot and pass while off balance, a fitting skill for the high-scoring player. The second, is Trevor Zegras’ “Skilled Up,” which allows you to recreate his viral flip pass over the net.
In addition to these two new X-Factors, the team has maintained and balanced existing X-Factors by improving underutilized skills.
Alongside the new X-Factors and improvements to current ones, the X-Factor AI has been upgraded to better reflect their strengths. Now, passing-based X-Factor players will now take more passing risks and shooting-based players will find new openings in defense.
AI ADDS AWARENESS
On top of updates to X-Factor AI, goaltending and teammate awareness has been an area of focus for NHL 23.
AI goalies will now play more like a human player than ever before with the addition of 300 new save animations that were previously unavailable to AI players. This added level of skill should keep AI goalies more authentic than in previous years. Alongside these new save animations, AI goalies will have improved goalie intelligence as well as proper position and puck tracking.
But AI goalies aren’t the only AI players that are getting an update in NHL 23, AI skaters will also bring you closer to the game with increased team awareness, just like you’d see in a regular hockey game. AI skaters now gesture to indicate when a player is open and which player is most likely to score when on the defensive side. AI skaters will also lift their sticks to show when they’re taking a line change.
As always, we are focused on incorporating community feedback into new iterations of the EA SPORTS NHL franchise. So, based on your feedback on NHL 22, we’ve updated pass-assist by reducing the number of times you’ll feel like you’re off target. This will be most applicable to powered and out-of-vision passing.
With balancing the game in mind, we are also improving the ability to intercept or disrupt those passes based on your positioning. Don’t expect defenders to act as a catch-all for pucks though, offensive players may still be able to pass the puck behind the defender if their positioning is more favorable.
In addition to these changes, we’ve implemented improvements to the game as a result of feedback from poke checks by reducing player movement speed while in the defensive skill stick and decreasing the effectiveness of poke checks when chasing or in a poor position, to balance gameplay. We also increased puck carrier speed to create more separation between players and ensure that the fastest skaters in the league act like it.
What do you think of the gameplay changes in NHL 23? Let us know in the comment section below, and join the discussion in the official SGO Discord server.