Content of the article: "NHL 21 – Review Thread"
Game Title: NHL 21
- Xbox One (Oct 16, 2020)
- PlayStation 4 (Oct 16, 2020)
Developer: EA Vancouver
Publisher: Electronic Arts
I stand by that it plays as well as it ever has. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a proper representation of the sport. If EA Vancouver ever hopes to stand alongside the giants of the genre – NBA 2K and MLB The Show – they’ll need to rethink what simulation hockey really means.
EA's NHL 21 is a success thanks to its improved story mode, exciting new skill moves, and excellent controls.
NHL 21 has taken the best of what has been offered this generation in the series and sprinkled goodness on top.
I’m not old school like the coaches and GMs that still make up a large part of the NHL, but I’m old school in that I grew up in the 80s and 90s and value hard hockey played the right way over flashy dekes you might see once a season. I love dekes as much as the next person, but not at the expense of solid core gameplay. EA Vancouver tried to sell dekes, cosmetics, and the idea of being a superstar, but what resonated with me, an old-school hockey guy, were the core gameplay improvements.
There’s no denying NHL 21 is a tight little package — in fact, it’s been years in the making (click that and thank me later) — but that’s because EA Vancouver is doing everything it can to refine a polished hockey game year-on-year. NHL 20 introduced or improved most of the items that feature inside this, so unless you’re super into single-player modes like Be a Pro, you could get away with buying it instead of this. If you’re into multiplayer, well, you have to upgrade; I don’t need to convince you. I’m ultimately rather pleased with NHL 21, but still have to throw some shade at EA for choosing not to support this on next-gen consoles in any way. Boo.
The added physicality on both ends of the ice and the demand for skill-based gameplay makes NHL 21 the closest thing to real hockey in series history.
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