REVIEW: EA Sports' NHL 17

by Rob Poirier (@RobFeature)

It's almost here! The most special day of hockey's long offseason! That one beautiful day when jocks and nerds can come together as one and collectively kiss their consoles/each other! That's right: I'm talkin' about EA Sports' annual NHL video game release day! And here in '16, that video game is NHL 17 (?).

Now before you run off to your local Radio Shack to pick up a copy of this bad boy tomorrow, take a minute to read my handy review so you'll know exactly what to expect. Oh, and if you're wondering how it is that I managed to get my hands on a copy of the game before it was released, let me just say that being a respected voice in both gaming and sports culture comes with certain perks...

In this case, the perk is superhuman strength, and I used it to steal a copy of the game.

Important note: As you would expect in the modern era of video games (in which paying customers are treated like beta testers), this game is broken as all shit today. It'll probably get patched eventually, but for now, I've taken note of some of the most ludicrous bugs that you'll have to deal with. You've been warned.

First things first. That guy up there who looks like he just turned the corner to find his childhood home engulfed in flames is named Vladimir Tarasenko... I think? He plays in the Western Conference, so no one can really be sure who he is. But one thing I do know is that he was put on the game's cover despite an aggressive campaign by Drew Doughty, who felt he deserved the honour because "he's never won it before and really wants to".

This ought to be available for the Sony PLACATION, am I right?? Sheeeeeiiiitttttt that's a good ass joke (@Gerv_Rebrand)
So the game looks good on the outside, but what about the inside? What is there to do? LET'S TAKE A LOOK!!!


NHL 17 introduces the World Cup of Hockey: everyone's NOT favourite best-on-best international ice hockey tournament! See Team Europe take on... uh... other parts of Europe! Watch as Team Canada squares off against their dreaded rival... what? Team North America? Hold on, is this right?

!BUALERT! As the start of the tournament approached, many of the better players on the rosters kept disappearing (seemingly without reason) to be replaced by lesser players. It was kind of a disaster. Geez, I guess we ought to just thank our lucky stars that this bizarre tournament doesn't actually exist in real life, right folks? 'Cause that would just be a big waste of everyone's time, right guys??


EA Sports Hockey League is basically the ultimate in fantasy fulfillment (until they come out with a virtual reality game that lets me win my peers' respect). In this mode, everyone gets to build their own franchise from the ground up. We're talkin' CUSTOM teams, CUSTOM jerseys, CUSTOM arenas... mine takes inspiration from Brooklyn's Barclays Center. Check it out!

It's more important to FEEL the game than SEE the game (@Capital_Gains65)
!BUALERT! There's no friggin' way it should have been possible for this arena to get made. No, not mine, I'm talking about the actual Barclays Center. It's one of those things that just don't make any sense, a glitch in the fabric of reality, if you will... like when someone outside of Toronto chooses to cheer for the Maple Leafs.


Also new in NHL 17 is Franchise Mode, which gives players complete control of an NHL franchise while operating under the watchful eye of a demanding owner. And they do mean COMPLETE CONTROL! It's awesome! Like, remember when you were a kid and you went to your first hockey game and you said: "I love this! One day I want to do this! And by 'this', I don't mean play hockey! No, what I mean of course is 'micromanage a business to the point where I'm deciding how much money is charged for beer and eggrolls'! Say, dad? How come the other kids at school won't play with me? Dad...? Hey, has anyone seen my dad?!?"

!BUALERT! I played this mode as the Ottawa Senators and no matter how good or bad we performed, the game kept returning a value of zero dollars from ownership to make changes the following year.

!BUALERT! This mode is supposed to present a realistic challenge with respect to building a competitive team, but I encountered a bug that allowed me to acquire the very best players from the Montreal Canadiens while offering considerably older, considerably worse players in return. OH WAIT...

In conclusion, this year's iteration of EA Sports' NHL actually has a lot in common with this year's iteration of your favorite NHL team:

- it's not much different from last year's
- no one wants to hear you talk about it
- you'll probably be fed up with it by April


Rob Poirier is an expressionist painter and a regular contributor to the Bonk's Mullet internet website. He lives with his two grandsons (Stoven and Randy) in a decomissioned nuclear submarine. And yes, he did this bit last year too
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