EA Sports sure has been busy. What with the changes that they are making to FIFA 13 (written by yours truly here), and with the NHL playoffs currently in the Semi-Final stage, EA is currently working hard on bringing the most realistic ice hockey experience that can be delivered. NHL 13 is bringing with it, two big changes that will help give the player even more control in what EA dubs as “the biggest change to the franchise since the introduction of the Skill Stick in NHL® 07.
First up to…err…bat, is the new “True Performance Skating”. This new feature boasts skating that is more physics driven and will allow for a more realistic and accurate way that players move around the rink. There are over 1000 new animations that will be in play here, allowing for players to have access to the entire skill set of an NHL player, bringing creativity that has never been seen before in the NHL series in years past. Next is the “EA Sports Hockey I.Q.”, which sees a new way that the Artificial Intelligence reacts to not just the players around it, but all the players on the rink. In previous NHL games, it would be that the goalie on the opposing team would only focus on the player with the puck at any given time. Now, goalies will be smart enough to anticipate other players coming in and react accordingly, giving a more true-to-life experience. The EA Sports Hockey I.Q. will also play a part when you create and execute plays and team strategies
Gameplay innovations aside, EA has also invited some new experiences to be had online via GM Connected, which is basically GM mode that you can play with your friends online in your own fantasy league. You will be able to coach, manage and play against your friends and see who reigns supreme. There is also the NHL Moments Live, which will allow you to reenact, or even rewrite important moments in NHL history. Real world footage of each scenario will be shown, with moments from the 2011/2012 season shipping on disc, and also highlights from the 2012/2013 season being available as the season progresses! There will also be improvements to core NHL modes such as Be-A-Pro, Hockey Ultimate Team and a more refined on-ice presentation. All we need now is a Don Cherry/Ron Maclean hosted segment.
You can actually pre-order the Collector’s Edition of the game now for $79.99. Here is a list of goodies you get with the “Stanley’s Cup Edition”
- Exclusive collectible Stanley Cup® tin featuring an embossed Stanley Cup image
- Two Stanley Cup® Theme Hockey Ultimate Team packs featuring randomized player items from the Western and Eastern Conference Champions
- Gold Jumbo Hockey Ultimate Team Pack (Regular) featuring 24 randomized items, including an exclusive Wayne Gretzky Hockey Ultimate Team Legend and six other rare items
- A CCM Boost Pack featuring the all-new CCM RBZ stick (For use in Be a Pro and EA SPORTS™ Hockey League)
- A 10% discount on a one-time purchase at shop.NHL.com
- A complete copy of NHL 13
NHL 13 does not have a confirmed release date, but if the last few NHL games are anything to go by, September will be a good bet. So far it will be released only for Xbox 360 and PS3.