I have been playing NHL 19–the most recent EA Sports hockey game–since its release date in September, and I can’t get enough. The new features such as World of CHEL, the updates to the skating style and the Hockey Ultimate Team market are big improvements over NHL 18, and even though there is a slight new gameplay problem, it doesn’t make it any less worth it.
There are new features added into the game such as the way the players skate. EA Sports made skating more realistic and smooth this year by adding the crossovers real NHL players use skate faster and help them generate speed off a turn. After 30 minutes of switching over from NHL 18 to 19, I could easily tell how smooth the skating was especially after playing a couple of shootouts and an online game.
But the big standout addition to NHL 19 is a new game mode called “World of CHEL.” In this game mode, you can play “ones” which is a free-for-all match between 3 players where the one with the most goals wins. In the newly implemented game mode there are tiers that rank each player based on their ability to win, where you start in the lowest tier. Everyday the game gives you a chance to rank up by scoring goals and winning games. By winning games you also level up and get hockey bags that contain equipment to customize your player such as clothing and equipment, which I think is a great way to keep players hooked on this game mode.
Another feature, Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT), has evolved in a way that you are now able to obtain loan players, just like FIFA. These loan players will allow you to use “legends” and other players for a span of 5-10 games. Although using them in HUT games against your friends won’t take any games away, I recommend that you use your loan players online until they have one game left, then use them against your friends for the rest of the year–that way you can get the full use out of them.
The game has a lot of fun new features, but there is a couple big downsides. Tripping has worsened this year, making penalties a main problem which could make games longer and cause frustration when you’re transitioning from NHL 18 to 19. However, when playing against your friends you have a choice of turning off penalties, making tripping no problem. Another occurring problem has been added 2 weeks into the game. The game developers changed the market layout in “Hockey Ultimate Team.” The new market layout makes it so that you can no longer multi-select items when sending them to sets, which wastes a lot of time going back and forth to send items to sets. I am surprised at how EA Sports so often tries to improve little things that are already perfectly fine, only to end up making the game worse.
Would I still have spent my money on this game knowing about all of the new features and problems? Yes, I would, 100%, because there are way more ups than downs and the new mode “World of CHEL” is totally worth upgrading for. You will also have the new gameplay and how smooth the skating is compared to NHL 18. Plus you can easily fix the tripping problem when playing friends online or offline by turning the rules off. I would rate the game 8/10 although if they fix the market layout and tripping in game, it would be an easy 10/10. I would recommend this game to anyone that likes hockey, or any other sports games.