NHL 11

8.0 Overall Score

Written by on October 18, 2010 in

EA brings the war on ice back for another year with NHL 11. In the world of American sports, Hockey ranks a low 4th place of the four major sports in this country. For the detractors, hockey is a difficult sport to follow and keep up with on the best of days. NHL 11 brings a lot to the table to sway even the most casual of fan with a deep immersion of the sport.

NHL 11 boasts some of the best graphical eye candy seen in almost any sports game. The animations of the players feel smooth and dynamic. The arenas are really well detailed and showcase the unique look and feel of each team’s home ice. Body checks look realistic and bring a head-ringing devastation feel to them. One drawback that makes the game feel less polished is fighting for the puck up against the glass. Sometimes the players barely look interested in what they’re doing, much less actually trying to fight for the puck.

Face-offs bring a new level of completeness to them as you control several different ways to command the face off using the right stick. Flick the puck to your teammates, brush your opponent off the puck, and even punch the puck between his legs to gain an advantage. The right stick controls function for body checks, dekes and shooting the puck as well. Flick the stick up and fire a quick wrist shot. Pull back and then push forward for a slap shot to blast the puck by the goalie.

NHL 11 features a ton of gameplay options to get you on the ice your favorite way. Be the GM with a substantially deep array of options and control of your NHL franchise and its farm teams. You can basically control everything but the cost of the nachos at the rink. Trade, sign free agents, put out offer sheets on restricted free agents, and buy out contracts of the players you don’t need or want anymore.

My favorite mode to play is the Be a Pro mode. You build your pro right from the first time you pop the disc in. After you’ve completed your character creation, you can take him right online to compete and build up his stats and abilities, or you can stay off line and work on bringing him up through the ranks to being a phenom on the frozen water. Being graded on your ability to position yourself correctly (with the help of some arrows that point you in the right direction), being a team player, and building your stats is pretty fun and gives you real sense of accomplishment as you’re building up your player.

A new option to toy with is the Hockey Ultimate Team or HUT. Build and manage your team through a card collecting and trading system using pucks that you earn through game play in exchange for packs. The packs come in different levels with the expensive packs providing better stars and rare cards. You can also bypass the ‘hard way’ by just spending Microsoft Points for packs and upgrades, a common “feature” within EA Sports games. By making the top tier of card packs ridiculously expensive in pucks, it just screams in your face that you should spend real money to upgrade your team to the level that you want.

Online, the primary feature is the EASHL Dynasties. You basically get your team out there and battle it out in your quest for a championship, adding user controlled celebrations when you score. I usually saw it from the other end though. There’s a lot of similarities in this mode to the online mode found in the World Cup soccer game that came out earlier this year. Gameplay works well online and the lag is pretty minimal.

Overall, NHL 11 is very fun, once you begin to get a feel for all of the nuances you have control over with your controller. The button combinations were, and still are, tough to memorize to get the full potential of your ability to shine out on the ice, but even with the basic functions, this game is a blast to play. With the multitude of options to dig through, NHL 11 will keep hockey fans very busy for a long time.


A copy of NHL 11 was provided to The Married Gamers for the purposes of review and evaluation.

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Author: Erik Johnsen View all posts by
A married gamer that spends time editing many of the articles you read right here at The Married Gamers. Erik sometimes reviews Xbox One games and writes articles, but spends his available free time from work or hanging out with his family hunting achievements for a higher gamerscore.

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