I’m down 7-0. Crap. The LA Kings are off to an awful start against the Edmonton Oilers but with just a couple of goals it a 7-7 game thanks to the orange and blue pucks that add and subtract goal totals, one, two and three at a time which appear at random intervals. I fist up and almost throw my controller into the ceiling fan.
Wait what? Yeah. Welcome to the new radical game mode of NHL 18.
In late July, EA Sports released codes for the NHL 18 Beta for (almost finished but not quite version) for PS4 and Xbox One users who registered to be able to play until August 1st to get a taste of the game until the full release on September 15th.
The only game modes released are EA Sports Hockey League and the three on three mode known as NHL Threes which is arcade madness that pays homage to not just 3 on 3 NHL Arcade with power ups but also goofy play by play commentary and over the top hits that remind me of NHL Rock the Rink.
There’s a few points that I want to get into on the game mode that made me smile as well as a slight eyebrow raise.
Threes Can Be Short Or as Long as You Want
Want to play three periods of two, three or four minutes? No problem. Play to a certain goal total? You can do that but if you do, prepare for the game to last well beyond three periods as I found out playing up to eight goals, it can take seven or eight periods before someone finally hits eight with the goals being added, subtracted and some straight up highway robbery in net from the new and improved goal-tending. Seriously, you may need to book an afternoon off if you desire to play with unlimited periods locally or online. Trust me when I say playing with a pal beside you is the best way to experience this mode when playing without the clock.
The Vegas Locked Knights
You’ll have to wait for the full game to experience a 31 team NHL as the Vegas Golden Knights in the Beta are locked. I was a bit bummed to not be able to wheel around with the newest squad but in due time that will be available. I’m going to assume that the minute the full game drops Vegas will up there among the most played teams in the game.
I plan on handing out a few Ls when I head over to friends houses to play the full game via using James Neal and company at T Mobile.
NHL 94 Controls Have a Fighting Chance
In an era in which using the skill sticks and advanced ways to deke and score have become the norm in the series, it’s nice to play a mode where you can win with just via button mashing.
For me I played on the PS4 and slamming down on the circle button allows for a massive hit of a player trying to turn you into a highlight reel and causing turnovers and a 2 on 1 in the wide open mode can become pretty common and for me became my primary way of scoring.
The ability for gamers of a bygone era to be able to handle the new whippersnappers who love to just fill up the back of the net with Connor McDavid like goals is pretty exciting!
There’s still a few things that have to be worked out as a couple of times I swear a clearly scored but the game said I had hit the post and picking up the puck in stride isn’t always a certainty but hey, can’t get too mad about things when there’s a big “Work in Progress” in the right hand corner of the loading screen.
EA Sports has let us only have a small taste of their newest game but if the Beta is any indication, NHL Threes will be the mode that truly makes this version of the NHL series.