NHL 15 Launches With Substantial Features Missing
Yesterday saw the release of NHL 15, the newest officially licensed hockey game from EA Sports. This year marks the first time the NHL franchise has seen a release on the Xbox One and the PS4, complete with a brand new engine just for the next-gen systems. This seems to have come at a cost, however, with many of the features present in the Xbox 360/PS3 versions missing in the next-gen iterations. Roughly 70% of the features, actually.
A list compiled by Operation Sports show the features that are missing from the next-gen versions:
- No GM Connected
- No Online Team Play (when this is patched into the game later this year, it will use real NHL players and teams)
- No EA Sports Hockey League
- No EA Sports Arena
- No Online Shootouts
- No Live the Life
- No Be A Legend
- No Winter Classic
- No tournaments or Battle for the Cup
- No season mode (you can only play seasons in Be A GM, which is limited to NHL teams)
- No NHL 94 Anniversary mode
- No custom music support
- No create-a-play designer
- Cannot customize each team's AI
- No create-a-team
- No way to edit individual players
- Practice mode is now limited to one skater vs. an AI goalie
- No custom camera option
- No Action Tracker replay highlights
- No Top 3 Stars at the end of games.
Be A GM
- Yearly draft is fully automated by the CPU
- Cannot play the AHL games for your chosen franchise
- Players sent down to the minors do not accumulate any season stats
- No fantasy draft option
- No preseason games
Be A Pro
- No option to sim ahead to the next shift
- You only play in the NHL; you cannot play for minor league teams
- The Memorial Cup tryout period is gone. You now begin by picking an NHL team, or by letting a random CPU team draft you.
- No All-Star game
- Cannot play against your friends
- No tournaments
- No mobile app
There are some old fan favorite modes notably missing, such as the Live The Life and Be A Legend modes, but it's especially strange to see basic modes like Create-A-Team, individual player editing, and a season mode all missing. One of the biggest strengths of the EA Sports simulation titles is the depth and complexity they bring. One look at the Metacritic scores shows just how important those modes were, with many complaining that the impressive new engine doesn't compensate for the loss of the depth those modes brought.
On the bright side, EA is working on free content updates over the next couple of months to add back in some of the missing content. Hopefully now that the new engine is in place, EA Sports can concentrate on giving NHL 16 the depth that EA fans have come to expect.