Electronic Arts, always busy showing their latest games at E3, took some time out of their schedule to show Game Guy Barry White the latest in their award-winning pro-hockey video game on both the Xbox360 and PlayStation 3. The game is NHL10 and it could give last year's NHL'09 a run for its money.
Returning in NHL10 is all of the licensed National Hockey League teams in all of their glory or lack thereof (I'm looking at you, New York Islanders!). Everything that made the previous award-winning editions of the franchise great is back and, according to EA Sports, improved. In fact, the game publisher says that there are more than 200 individual improvements in NHL10 over last year's edition.
For example, your AI-controlled teammates and opponents actually have emotion; meaning that they actually act on emotion and not just show it on their digital faces. Let's say that the whistle blows due to an icing call and one of the opposing players take a little cheap-shot on one of yours. Acting on emotion, your player (and/or one of your teammates) might go after that opposing player or take a cheap shot on him later in the game.
Another improvement that EA Sports was proud to show off is the new fighting engine because they know that fights are one of the things that makes hockey entertaining to watch. The new engine takes the fighting into a first-person view and while the concept seems rather nifty, time will tell if it's well received. The non-hands-on demo that the Game Guys received made the fighting seem clunky and awkward, but what we saw wasn't the finished product so there is hope that improvements will be made to it.
EA Sports also made improvements to the skating and passing systems. Fan response was that certain maneuvers (passing especially) felt to arcade-ish and didn't actually mesh too well with the rest of the game. Electronic Arts says they've fixed it, but only a hands-on experience by players will tell for sure if the arcade feel has been remedied.
Finally, EA's NHL Online has returned with everything that fans liked from NHL'09, which was the first edition of the game to feature the new online system. Players can still create their own players and play in a multi-player user-created team against other players and teams from around the world. In short, no real changes here other than that (unlike Fifa10) online play isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
NHL10 is planned for release on September 8th and is only for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.