NHL 16’s New Features Include The Return Of EASHL


Lace up your virtual skates, grab your equipment, and this year – find some friends, as NHL 16 is on the way, and this time it is bringing back the much-loved EASHL.

The inclusion of EA Sports Hockey League, better known as EASHL, is big news for many fans of the EA Sports NHL series. The mode allows up to 6 online players to form a team, competing together to rise through the leagues and achieve glory. It was left out of last years game, as EA cited development issues in the transition to the next generation of consoles, prompting fans to convey their displeasure through various social media outlets.

EA are promising a new, re-imagined EASHL for NHL 16, with specialized player classes to deliver a balanced and competitive experience. Additionally, regular 6 v 6 team play will be available for those who wish to drop-in to random games without the pressure of seasons, and online couch co-op will also be an option in online games.

In terms of single player modes, Be A GM will be receiving a new player morale system, which will affect team performance based on multiple factors. Be A Pro will benefit from a new style of progression, where on-ice actions will directly affect how the player upgrades their attributes. A new training tool is also being included, centered around visual aids.

Hockey Ultimate Team is possibly the biggest part of the NHL series (and nearly all of EA’s sports titles), and EA are keeping quiet on that front for now. The only news for HUT is the inclusion of single player seasons, which is likely to accompany the normal online seasons options.

On the ice, there will be a new precision skating system and seamless puck pickups, which should reduce some of the issues from last year’s game, where players would find it very difficult to control a bouncing or rolling puck.

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Finally, EA began implementing huge changes last year with the introduction of an NBC Sports presentation theme and new commentators, and now they are looking to enhance this with an expanded NBC Sports broadcast package and new pre-game intros, authentic arena effects, props, mascots and more. We will also see enhanced facial features and new equipment for players, and the feature you have all been waiting for…playoff beards.

Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners will be getting a new, different game called NHL Legacy Edition, which has a feature list baring many resemblances to last years game. It does not describe any new additions, choosing to mention that players can jump into various game modes such as EASHL and NHL 94 mode. Ultimate Team will be back once again, as well as multiple teams and leagues, although no new information is provided here – these are all features from previous games. I would take a guess that there will not be too many radical changes on the older consoles this year.

EA will be well aware of how important a year this is for their NHL series. Much improved graphics, new broadcast presentations and the series’ best gameplay to date, should have made NHL 15 the true next-gen experience for hockey gamers. Instead, the fans turned their backs and started a social media backlash, as it emerged that many important features had been stripped from the game.

Now, EA need to win them back. If they can converge all of these features together with last year’s excellent core experience, those fans will finally get the game they have been waiting for. On current-gen, at least.

NHL 16 will be coming to Playstation 4 and Xbox One in September 2015.

NHL Legacy Edition will be coming to Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in September 2015.

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