NHL 11 demo: A brief review, system comparison

A few days ago, I downloaded the NHL 11 demo on both the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms. Much like Pro Hockey Talk did earlier today, I would like to share some thoughts on the game.

  • Immediately, I was impressed by the intro and the cleaner interface.
  • The new faceoff engine is a nice feature and there is much greater detail to the players in the circle now.
  • I broke about five or six total sticks during the handful of times I played the demo. Three times came during one game but none lead to any scoring chances. Seeing the sticks get kicked around the rink and watching pucks bounce off them was novel, but I wonder if it will get as tiresome as it does in real games.
  • My fallback scoring method failed me every time. I’ll have to find a new way rack up goals.
  • This is the first time I’ve ever played the same game on two different systems. The graphics on the Xbox version looked significantly better but it felt more natural and comfortable to use the PS3 controller.
  • This might just be a coincidence but the intelligence on the Xbox seemed to be better. In every game, the opposing team did a better job covering me and taking away the pucks. Every time I played on the Xbox, the Blackhawks blew the Flyers away. The reverse was true for the PS3. Simon Gagne was awarded the Conn Smythe when I won the Cup on the PS3.
  • I am excited to test out the full version of the Ultimate Hockey League but it’s hard to give much feedback on the demo alone. I will say that the interface is not very intuitive. Maybe the full version will be better or, at the very least, this will improve in NHL 12.

If you are a fan of EA’s NHL series, I think you will be happy with NHL 11. The series continues to get smarter, tighter, and more realistic. There may not be a drastic jump from NHL 10 to NHL 11 but it is another step forward for this underrated franchise.

Will you buy NHL 11?

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