First and foremost, this game looks ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. I have not yet purchased a next-gen console, nor do I think I will have by the fall, but when I do, I’ll be nothing but amazed in its beauty.
There are a few things I’m hoping for when this new title in the ever-popular NHL franchise:
-Make Sure All the Current Gen Features Are Available: One of the most frustrating things I remember about moving from PS2/Xbox to PS3/Xbox 360 was the fact that the first couple of titles (years) only had the very basic necessities, with other components were completely removed. I say “very basic” because, for instance, while Franchise/Dynasty Mode was readily available, it wasn’t as in depth as it previously had been and took a couple years to return to that level. We’ve since gone much further in the now “Be a GM Mode” and have added (and greatly expanded) Be A Pro, I don’t want to see those awesome modes taking steps back.
-A More Hometown Feel: The nine second mark makes me think this is definitely happening. We’ve seen various team traditions in other EA games — the Lambeau Leap in Madden and countless College Football traditions in NCAA Football — for years now. Sure, in some year we’ve had the Kings come out to “I Love LA” or the Sharks skate out from under the giant inflatable shark but I’d love to see more traditions added (C’mon Octopus!).
This brings me to aforementioned “very ominous thing” that SI confirms is happening:
-Mike Emrick and Eddie Olczyk will be your new Commentators: As soon as I heard his voice in the trailer, I got scared. Fans have been asking for the change for years as NBC/Comcast has become the true carrier of hockey and thus having ESPN’s old crew of Gary Thorne and Bill Clement made no sense. While Clement’s color commentary could be off at times, it was no where near as bad as most color commentary in video games. The big loss though is Gary Thorne. I, for one, am definitely not a fan of Emrick’s and relish the thought of paying money to hear him commentate my hockey games. He talks to much about himself and (a lot of the time inaccurately) over-analyzes basic things we all can see — I feel like he’d start trying to explain the various glitches as they occur. I would have added in the “hometown feel” that I’d love to see various broadcasters from each team and/or former players at least playing some role in the broadcast presentation would be cool, but this squanders that idea. Most of all, Emrick doesn’t possess the raw excitement Thorne has, in real life (see below) and in video games. Emrick was previously the play-by-play man in 989 Sports’ Gretzky NHL series on PS2 and that doesn’t hold a candle to Thorne in the previous EA Sports NHL games.
I’ll miss you, Gary: