By Paul D.
Most people are familiar with the game studio Electronic Arts, or EA. maybe their most well known genre is there line of sports video games. These games focus on the players and culture of different professional sports and are designed as an immersive sports experience. Among the sports available are football, soccer and hockey. Their popular NHL line of games are one of the only hockey games on the market and is very popular among hockey fans. So when they announced the next installment in the series, NHL ‘16, was scheduled for release in september of 2015, it was met with a lot of excitement from fans, as well as some doubt.
Lots of people have criticised the games because of things like slow servers, little to no useful customer support, and crashing problems. They have brought things like this to the attention of EA and they usually promise bug fixes in the next game. So when NHL ‘16 was announced people were looking to EA to make good on their promises, but the only new features they had displayed on the website were realistic arena atmosphere, story driven commentary, and beards, with realistic growth rates and patterns. You just know a game is gonna be fantastic when one of the main selling points is the computer’s ability to simulate and grow a realistic beard. The rest of the features are things that NHL ‘14 had and got ruined in NHL ‘15, and when everyone said they like 14 better, they gave them just that, NHL ‘14 with better graphics and better beards.
With the company having to release a new game every year, it can be really tough to create something new each time, and EA is trying their hardest. after 14 fans were commenting on how repetitive the series had become, so they changed it in the next installment only to have everyone get really upset, saying how much better 14 was and how they shouldn’t have changed what was already good. it seems like EA just can’t win, if they do what people want they realize they don’t want it and when they try to fix what people got so upset about it looks like they’re just backpedaling, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to try.
Instead of focusing on these pointless features like hyper realistic beard growing and Mike Emrick catchphrases, maybe they could fix the problems that actually make the game unplayable. Their servers are not nearly good enough to support online play at a reasonable framerate, maybe instead of carefully studying and researching how quickly different players grow facial hair they could dedicate some of that time to boosting the bandwidth to make online hockey matches run properly. Or they could fix the ice tilt, which is when one team is playing way better but somehow their opponent keeps scoring goals on week shots, shots in traffic and terrible opportunities.
Now that being said NHL ‘16 isn’t necessarily going to be a bad game, EA just needs to start addressing the real problems that people are having, because when all is said and done, aside from minor graphics buffs and controller feel, most of these games play relatively the same. And EA needs to realize this, if they seriously dedicated to making a good game, with no bugs, smooth gameplay and servers that can support online matches, then people will be a lot more happy with it and they can really make something great.