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NHL 17 hits the ice on consoles

EA’s premier hockey title, NHL 17 is here and packing a season’s worth of improvements.

A whole new rink

“We’re really excited to deliver completely new ways to play the game for our fans,” said Sean Ramjagsingh, Lead Producer, NHL 17. “Combined with the new gameplay features and deeper experiences in our fan favorite modes, NHL 17 is the biggest year-over-year release we’ve ever had and we can’t wait to get it into players’ hands.”

With what EA has packed into NHL 17, it just might be the biggest year-over-year improvement the series has seen. While that might sound a tad like hyperbole, you might want to take a few things into consideration before you pass judgement. Three new modes make their appearance in the game, with Draft Champions, Franchise Mode and World Cup of Hockey.

All-new modes of play

Draft Champions might be the easiest of the new additions to figure. I mean, a draft is a draft, right? Well, it’s a little different than just that. In the mode, you’ll have to make fast picks in a draft of superstars, and then take those players right onto the ice. It sounds like EA is walking the line of a simmed-out draft mode, and something designed to be fast and fun. Draft Champions might be a cool splitting of the difference.

As for the Franchise Mode, that’s a little different than what you might be used to as well. Yes, you’ll have to do all the usual things that it takes to manage a successful sporting franchise. You’ll find that “managing budgets, players, promotional nights” and more are all here, as are challenges that you’ll have to face down. But I don’t know of any other Franchise Mode that allows you to relocate your team. That’s just cool. And it’s not in name only either, as you’ll actually have to design a stadium interior and uniforms.

Finally, there’s the World Cup of Hockey. And this should prove to be very popular with fans of the global game. In World Cup of Hockey, you’ll “compete for glory on the international stage as their favorite national heroes”. I’m thinking this might be a popular mode.

Of course, in addition to the above, EA says that the game will be stocked with everything that you already love about NHL. Well, with some new features of course.

Gameplay refined

Gamers will find “more responsive gameplay using authentic goaltenders, new Net Battles on offense and defense, and bone-crushing Collision Physics”. And just to rub it in a little more, there are even all new celebrations for when you score a goal.

So tons of new stuff in NHL 17, and you can grab a copy now for the Xbox One and PS4 if you’re in the US. The rest of the globe? The game will be out tomorrow.

If you’re an EA Access member on the Xbox One, you can even get in a little free play before you commit to the whole game. Members can play for 10 hours, for no additional fees, right now. And if you’re a member and you buy the game, you’ll also get 10% off the purchase price.

Before you do any of that though, you might want to head over to EA SPORTS NHL Rewards. There you’ll be able to sign up and get in-game rewards, and “other great surprises”.

About Jason Micciche

Jason's been knee deep in videogames since he was but a lad. Cutting his teeth on the pixely glory that was the Atari 2600, he's been hack'n'slashing and shoot'em'uping ever since. Mainly an FPS and action guy, Jason enjoys the occasional well crafted title from every genre.

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