NHL13 on XBOX360, PlayStation3

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Without an NHL season, many fans are turned away from hockey. The lockout has proven to be a drastic turn of events, and if there is no hockey, what shall fans everywhere do? With the new release of NHL13 by EA Sports, hockey fans and even some players have somewhere to go to experience intense hockey. It's not quite the real thing, but this might be the only hockey we get this season, so we have to make the best of it.

With the storied EA franchise being tested, NHL13 did come battle-ready. With the audience being of PlayStation3 and Xbox360 gamers, there were a few changes straight off the stick. Going right in, you may notice that the home screen is different. The new feature lets you choose your favorite team, and it follows the team's players and competitions throughout the actual season. The layout is fairly simple, although it may stutter occasionally. Overall, from the beginning the game is easy to navigate and fun to learn.

Going into the actual 5-on-5, EA has always had a knack for some playing obscurities, but after some time it will get easier. Graphics in NHL video games have always been clean- cut and sharp, but some flaws have happened in the past. This year's focus was on how each specific star plays, and how that player skates, checks, passes, and shoots. A huge improvement I noticed was the "True performance skating system." This system emphasizes the realism of how a player skates, such as how they turn or receive a pass. Each player is unique, and the only way to get used to it is to try different teams out.

The huge variety of teams, all from many different leagues, is also fun to play around with. With a fan base like no other sport in the world, NHL13 also has hockey teams in Russia or Canada which you can play. The large variety of jerseys offered in the game are also interesting, for those fans who hate the Away jersey of your favorite team, but adore the Alternative uniform. These details make the game more enjoyable and give you more options to choose from.

The EASHL mode in NHL13 is one of my favorite features. This mode lets you create your own team and play with other people all over the world with your customized teams. A few days after I got the game, while I was playing EASHL, I got into a match with someone who shared the same last name` as me, but lives in California! This truly made me appreciate this gaming mode, and recognize how this videogame can bring people with similar interests together. Another new mode in this game is the NHL Moments Live. This mode lets you go back in time and if you're good enough you might be able to change history. Imagine, with the flick of a well timed wrist-shot, the Vancouver Canucks (who lost in 2011) can be Stanley Cup Champions.

The new GM Mode with online capabilities is also a plus to this great game. Go online and immerse yourself in all the hockey. Now you are in control, and the team's destiny is in your remote. With the most realistic decisions for a General Manager, and the most realistic results, this feature is for diehard fans. Some people aren't right for this mode, and the team you control can't handle it. With many options over Xbox Live or PlayStation Network, there is only one way to find out who is the best of your friends. Playing online GM mode stressed me out as if I was an actual GM in the NHL. This mode is one of the things in this game that you must play to really have the full experience of the online capabilities.

Overall, NHL13 was a great pickup for me and many of my friends. I enjoy playing all the different modes, and I still believe I have a few more things to discover about the game. Although there might not be too much hockey this year on TV, I always have this game to give me the thrill of this amazing sport.





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