New console generations can prove rocky for sports franchises: performance issues, bugs, and a reduction in features are routinely guaranteed. Certainly, that's the fate that awaited EA's NHL series when it transitioned to the PlayStation 4 – after all, we still have nightmares about the abysmal NHL 15. Surprisingly, EA Vancouver has deked its way around this issue with NHL 22, and while the result isn’t an overwhelmingly new experience, it's refreshing to see the ice hockey sim remain on track.
If you are going into NHL 22, expecting a similar product to last season, your assumption could not be more spot on. In fact, it is so on the numbers that you’d be hard-pressed to find anything truly earthshattering this time around the horn. If you’ve had the chance to take the 2020 installment (NHL 21) out for a spin, you’re likely not going to find many differences, at least as far as the standard battery of modes is concerned. You’ll have the opportunity to partake in Be a Pro, Ultimate Team, World of CHEL, and the Franchise staples, but essentially nothing more.
Where I want to give credit is with the accessibility push. NHL 22 features extensive settings to make it more accessible, including color blind options, menu narration, and more. I wanted to love the color-blind settings because protanopia allows me to read menus easier, but they change the color of uniforms in addition to the HUD and menus, which I just couldn’t get used to.
Still, there are real steps to make the NHL franchise more accessible and inclusive. There are several in-game notifications promoting positive play and encouraging players to make NHL a safe place for everyone who wishes to enjoy it. These notifications promoting safe and positive play pop up so often that it sticks with you, and that’s a good thing.
As a long time hockey fan and NHL series player, who has recently returned to what used to be an annual purchase, NHL 22 really feels like the strongest the series has been in a long time. The presentation is the best its ever been, specifically the real time stats and animations that will pop up in-game make it feel closer to a broadcast NHL game than ever. Players, arenas, and the crowd all look better than they ever have, players interact with each other more realistically than ever, and I find it difficult not to give EA credit where it’s due.If you want to get , must be the right place for you.