Hockey and the NHL series have one major advantage over other sports titles, it provides nonstop action for the gamer. Each match delivers jaw-dropping hits, then 2 seconds later rewards the player for making the goalie look silly. I believe, NHL 23 provides that unique rush in a multitude of ways. But, now it’s the 2nd offering in the series. And, for the first time featured on the newest generation of consoles. Being said, I think fans have the right to expect considerable leaps. It’s time to go over NHL 23 review gameplay and see if they gave us loyal gamers enough improvements to prove the latest game in the NHL series is worth the hype.
One of the biggest things NHL 23 advertised was the improved presentation. Now I will say they delivered on that, the game takes full advantage of the power of the system when it comes to presentation. At first, crowds do a better job of coming to life during games. This fully immerses you in all the action that happens on the ice. Secondly, on-ice graphics make a return and, Stanley Cup celebrations are fun as never get old. Graphicly, different camera angles on goal replays keep everything feeling fresh. But be warned, the new replays are specifically for goals, which I found a bit disappointing. It seems the game takes 1 step forward, and then 2 steps back.
NHL 23 introduces ridiculous changes to the online presentation now made permanent throughout every game mode. This forced integration of an online feature alienates offline gamers for no reason and takes a sledgehammer to the side of Franchise mode.
In my first offline playthrough, I saw glow sticks in the crowd, which really stood out to me. Then I could see them later on the ice as if the crowd threw them from the stands. Word!!
Last Chance Puck Movement
As far as gameplay, minor improvements were made all over the ice, none bigger than the addition of Last Chance Puck Movement. Which is a natural progression from the frustration players suffered from losing the puck mid-move.
Now players can double-tap the shoot or pass button as they skate toward a loose puck. Then, you can extend the possession by trying to shoot or pass to a teammate with a selection of different animations. This is a new feature to the game which avoids an otherwise dead possession in past games. As a result, this makes gameplay more fluid, extending possessions for the offense. At the same time and more importantly not gimmicky or overpowered relative to the games I have played.
There’s a bit of difficulty when it comes to passing because the game does not let you pass through well-positioned defenders with any type of consistency. Which in all honesty is a good thing. If a defender is in the passing lane, then kiss your perfect handoff goodbye. Deflections are alive and well in NHL 23, making players a lot more cautious when they do decide to pass to a teammate.
The difficulty in the passing game can lead to a few headaches. In contrast, every one-timer feels well-earned when you do rip a pass to your intended target. Alas, computer goalies have come to play, making a one-timer-heavy offensive approach, not as reliable game to game. It makes it even more annoying when you have a one-time chance but the computer AI will not move to the other side of the net…cmon!!
I love what poke-checking does to slow defenders down. Players are still able to become a poke-check demons if they can time up when the opponent exposes the puck otherwise with little repercussions.
I can’t leave out, that I love how alive the puck feels bouncing around the ice. With NHL 23 gameplay you don’t get the feeling the puck gets stuck on any one person, because they can lose it anywhere and at any time.
Now again, no mode is hurt the most by the permanent condensed presentation than Franchise Mode where full presentation thrives. I will say the customizability before you set up your franchise mode in NHL 23 is amazing. I’m really impressed with how deep players are able to get with the options presented here. Unfortunately, that appears to be the only bright spot when it comes to the Franchise Mode. For whatever reason NHL 23 doesn’t have an all-star game or Winter Classic. I feel, not having a super in-depth presentation package, holds this mode back to where gamers can’t fully embrace their 10-man custom league.
Hockey Ultimate Team
The biggest addition to Hockey Ultimate Team is the addition of women players. Unlike before, now we have t mixed-gender teams which add even more customization to the game. But, that’s where it starts and stops as far as big changes. I will say sadly it is quite refreshing not having NHL’s ultimate team all in your face like the other sports titles. Although I did buy packs with the pre-order items I received. And was able to put together a decent team I’m not a fan of ultimate team.
Be A Pro
World Of Chel
Cross Platform makes its debut in the mode later this year so that’s something to get excited about. The fun appeal of chel is being able to customize your player to your liking and quickly dropping into different types of games with your friends or random players. “Ones” mode is as hectic as it sounds and nonstop fun as everybody runs around like a chicken with their head cut off. In addition “three’s” with 2 randoms will help you work on your patience with people hoping they pass you the puck at the right time. The “Free For All” is very appealing to those of us who aren’t interested in the highly competitive side of the mode and just want to survive off a diet of drop-in games and “one’s.”
Now fans are quick to call a new game a copy of the last game with 5 points added on to the end. NHL 23, is probably one of the first that I can say would deserve that honor. As a longtime player of the franchise, I’m a bit taken back. Gameplay-wise I would recommend the game, I feel they’ve made a bunch of minor improvements to keep it fresh with the biggest being the Last Chance Puck Movements. But with little to no improvement in most game modes. If you already have NHL 22, I would wait until NHL 23 is on sale before I get it. 2 Years into the newer consoles, I expected better and maybe that’s my fault. But with that, I give NHL 23 on Playstation 5 a 6 out of 10.
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