EA Sports NHL 2014 has been dropping videos and information like nobody’s business about this year’s offering. An AI Improvements statement here, a goalkeeping improvement video there. EA seems to be really getting us ready for the last major NHL game before the jump to next gen consoles and are just tossing out everything they can think of, Today there’s a brand new video highlighting the Be a Pro mode which made its debut in NHL 09. More than just being a player in NHL 14, you also have this life outside of hockey. Your personality will shine through and your formative trials n’ tribulations as a young lad growing up in the mean streets of Manitoba will show itself once you step on the rink.
Now its not just what you do on the ice that determines your progression to worlds greatest toothless guy who can probably squat around 690 pounds, its how you handle yourself off the ice which determines your career progression. Thinking about carrying an unlicensed gun in a nightclub wearing sweaties? I wouldn’t do that. Wanna go home with that stripper from the club while you’re wife is at home with two kids? Probably not a good idea (ed.note: Says you).
During your life as a professional you’ll have to learn how to handle the media. You can be of the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning breed and constantly just say the right things and always do whats best for the team. Or…..you can take the Sean Avery route. You decide.
You’ll be interviewed before you enter the draft. You’ll be interviewed about pre-game jitters and post-game regrets. You also better watch out for those off the field instances that fell many a career. Do you really NEED to have a dog fighting ring in your backyard? Do you really NEED to bring weed on an airplane on the way to a music festival? You love wearing Unforgiveable cologne by Sean John? Play well enough and Diddy will be begging you to be the face of his product along with all other sorts of endorsement deals. Finally, Likeability meters detect (ed.note: WHAT DO THEY DETECT??) how well you are like by your teammates, management, and most importantly, the fans. You can be like Mariano Rivera/Derek Jeter and have people begging you to be their teammates. Or you can completely isolate yourself like A-Rod and management will want nothing more then to get you out of the clubhouse.
Enough with the real life comparisons, I know. On a serious not there are actually some pretty interesting concepts and ideas that are integrated in this completely overhauled mode. My personal favorite is that if you’re a bad teammate, your teammates won’t pass you the puck as much. A hockey regular season is 82 games plus the playoffs. I believe it would be very hard to find time to enjoy 10-15 seasons of this. My approach to these types of modes is simply just to not play every game, Play the important games and the playoff games. Tight race for first with the three games to go… Hop on in. Middle of the season and playing a last place team… I’ll pass. My one question, and this will determine if I do this…. Do I have to control just my player or can I play as the whole team like you can in the FIFA franchise?
For die hard hockey fans this really is an awesome and time consuming mode which gets you really involved. This, coupled with the plethora of new improvements to gameplay, shows that the NHL franchise on current gen systems is leaving it all out on the ice.