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BurghFan's Blog
My Frustrations with the NHL Series 
Posted on April 18, 2016 at 10:19 PM.
Why does it seem like I am the only person who finds that the gameplay in EA Sports NHL is absolutely horrendous. This game is so infuriating and frustrating right from the first drop of the puck to the final whistle. It's as if my players are completely devoid of any semblance of intelligence and play like a bunch of zombies.. The controls often seem unresponsive and/or there seems to be a roughly 2 second delay between the time I hit a button or toggle the analog stick to the time when my player actually responds. Then there are the times when my players do things without me even hitting a button or moving the analog stick. I know it's not a controller issue because I've used numerous DualShock 3 controllers and have had the same issues in NHL 14, NHL 15, and NHL Legacy.

I play on All-Star difficulty and use the Hybrid control scheme. I'd give you my sliders, but I've come to believe that they are little more than a placebo and that the only thing that really affects the gameplay difficulty is the gameplay difficulty option itself (Rookie/Pro/All-Star/Superstar). I also often get the feeling that results are often predetermined to an extent. Once after getting frustrated while struggling in the playoffs despite dominating in the regular season, I switched to rookie for a few game and got a couple dominating wins. I then switched to Superstar for a game fully expecting to get destroyed, but I won 6-1 or something like that. The only mode I play is Be a GM, though I'm only interested in playing the games and keeping track of stats and never bother with any of the GM-related stuff. The only I play that mode as opposed to single season is I like to have player progression and retirement and I want to be able to play with both Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. As for the myriad gameplay issues I have, like I said, they start at the drop of the puck

Faceoffs: These have been nearly impossible for me on both NHL 15 and NHL Legacy. Even turning the CPU faceoff difficulty slider to zero has no effect on the difficulty with the only thing actually affecting faceoff difficulty being the gameplay difficulty setting. In a single BAGM seasons in both NHL 15 and NHL Legacy playing most games on All-Star difficulty, I won about 7.6% of my faceoffs. In a single BAGM season in NHL 15 playing most games on Pro difficulty I won about 10.7% of my faceoffs. In the few games of NHL 15 I played on rookie difficulty, I won about 100% of my faceoffs. However, there are plenty of times when the announcers say the opposing team won the faceoff yet I am the one with the puck.

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Puck Control: My players cannot maintain possession of the puck and will lose the puck at the slightest bit of contact from an opposing player or even if I try to make a sharp turn. Again, turning the CPU poke check and stick lift effectiveness sliders down to 0 has no effect on this. Turning the human poke check an stick lift effectiveness sliders up to compensate also doesn't seem to have much of an effect if any. I can smash into the CPU players while poke checking and they won't lose control of the puck. Complicating matters is the fact that loose pucks seem to miraculously go straight to CPU players more than 90% of the time. At the end of every season, the top 4 of 5 players with the most giveaways are always my players. Furthermore, when fighting for a loose puck, the CPU player will almost invariably come up with it. Often times when I check a CPU player and make him lose the puck, my player won't pick up the loose puck and just leaves it there for the CPU to regain control when he gets back up.

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Passing: Passes rarely go to the player I'm trying to past to sometimes going in the complete opposite direction of where I'm trying to pass. This makes goalie passing a near suicidal option as the goalie will often pass right to an opposing player rather than to his teammate who I am trying to pass to.

Anomalous Passing/Shooting: My players will often pass/shoot the puck without me hitting a button to tell them to do so. This is especially problematic when in my defensive zone when my players gain control of the puck then just randomly pass/shoot it either right to an opposing player or up the ice resulting in an icing call. This also tends to happen on the rare occasion that I win a faceoff in my own zone. Even goalies aren't immune to this as they will occasionally pass it without me telling them to. There was one time in NHL 15 where my goalie got the puck and I was waiting for him to cover, but instead he starts spazzing and flips the puck out of play drawing a delay-of-game penalty without me even touching anything on my controller.

Player Speed/Agility: The computer players always seem to be faster than my players, though this seems to be a hallmark of EA Sports games. Furthermore, while computer players can seemingly start, stop, and change direction on a dime, my players seem very lethargic and slow when doing so.

Lack of Controller Responsiveness: There seems to be a roughly 2 second delay between when I hit a button to pass/shoot and when my players actually execute the pass/shot. Often my players won't actually react until the 4th or 5th time I hit the button by which time either the player I want to pass to is no longer in position or they shot I'm trying to take is no longer open. There have been times I've had a wide open shot but my player utterly refuses to shoot it until after the goalie has recovered and can easily block the shot. This also makes getting the puck against the boards, particularly in the corners, tricky as my player often will not react to my moving the analog stick to change direction fast enough allowing a closing CPU player to hit him and either check him or initiate board play. Or if I try to tell them to dive and block an impending shot, they won't actually do it until long after the CPU player has taken the shot.

Goalie Control: I never control the goalie nor do I ever want to, yet sometimes the game will inexplicably switch me to controlling my goalie when he doesn't have the puck and won't let me switch back to a skater. This often leads to an easy goal for the CPU as I have no idea what I'm doing when controlling the goalie.

Lack of CPU Teammate Intelligence: My CPU controlled teammate often seem to play like a bunch of zombies reacting lethargically to what is going on and showing virtually no awareness. They don't go after loose pucks often either just standing there and staring at them or even skating away from them. Overall, my players are slow to react to what the computer is doing and lets the CPU players skate circles around them, especially when in the defensive zone.

Overall, these issues lead to a very frustrating gameplay experience.
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