On Tuesday EA released the list of game modes for their latest hockey game, NHL 15. This will be the first hockey game released for the PS4 and XBOX One consoles. Last year EA held off on releasing a hockey game for the new consoles because they said they needed time to perfect it.
So what did we hockey fans do about this? We bought NHL 14 and played it on our old systems all year. We’ve waited patiently all year for NHL 15 to come out so we can play it on our fancy new consoles. (God forbid EA ever release a new hockey game on PC.) Waiting in anticipation of how awesome NHL 15 would be. EA released Madden and FIFA last year on the next gen consoles, so it shouldn’t be that hard to make an awesome hockey game when you have a whole extra year of prep time right? Well, when you’re EA I guess anything is possible when it comes to screwing over your hockey fans. EA already knows that nobody else is making a hockey game right now, so they’re the only option we hockey fans have, and we’ll all end up buying their game because we have hockey cravings. This has been the case for several years now. With no competition in the market EA hasn’t had to compete with anyone and it’s lead to several versions of the game that have been less than impressive in recent years. However, this is the first time I’m seriously considering not purchasing their yearly NHL offering.
Why? Because I sold my old XBOX 360 system in anticipation of getting NHL 15 on my new XBOX One, and on Tuesday EA announced that the EASHL (EA Sports Hockey League) game mode will not be in the next generation versions of the game. Why would one game mode effect my buying decision? Because it’s the only game mode I, and a lot of other people I know, play.
For those unfamiliar with the series, the EASHL game mode allows you and up to five friends to play together on one team at specific positions against another team of players. It’s a great way to play with your friends because you’re all working together to beat someone else and you’re not getting upset with each other when you win or lose. You win and lose as a team which is always better.
As far as I know, I’ve owned every version of the NHL franchise since NHL 94. It’s my favorite video game series of all time. As a kid, it helped me to better understand hockey and get to know all the players names and positions. For years I would play against my brother or friends in versus games. However, as these last 20 years of playing video game hockey have gone by, I’ve found less and less time to play games. When I do though, I still like to play with my friends. The EASHL game mode was first introduced in NHL 09, and since then it’s been about 95% of what I play, when I play. I don’t even know how many hours I’ve spent playing it with friends and former hockey teammates over the last five years. Five years of playing with the same guys. I’ve met people from around the country while playing and ended up meeting a few of them in person as well. At times we have people disappear for awhile, as life happens, but almost everyone ends up coming back over time. We’ve all been there to hangout when someone breaks up with a girl or loses a job and just needs to get their minds off life by playing hockey and joking around. I’m going to be genuinely sad when I’m sitting at home itching for a game this season and won’t be able to shoot the shit with them for a couple hours.
Without EASHL I don’t see why I would buy NHL 15. Playing by myself would just make me sadder and miss playing with my friends. I guess I’ll just have to start playing real hockey more often!