There really isn’t any sense in doing a full review of NHL 11. You can basically read any review of NHL 10 and add broken sticks and a tad improved player physics to the mix and you have NHL 11. At first I wasn’t totally sold on getting NHL 11 – 10 was pretty awesome and I was happy. But I’m a sucker consumerist and spotted it on display at Best Buy and just went for it. Don’t get me wrong NHL 11 is pretty awesome because they kept all that was great with NHL 10 but it’s additions/improvements aren’t game changers…
The improved player physics on hits is definitely noticeable and is a nice improvement. Hits are a bit more random and how players react to each is completely different from a previous hit. Broken / dropped sticks is a small detail that doesn’t really make the game better but does add a sense of realism and they did do a good job of not over doing it. Seems to be right on par with a real NHL game. Online play seems to be the same. I haven’t really gotten into it yet, but they did add another online team mode that uses trading cards and almost has an RPG feel to it.
They’ve added goal reviews which again isn’t a gameplay improvement but adds a sense of realism. Was nice to have a CPU goal called back because their winger blatantly and obviously kicked the puck in. GM mode is still very in depth and my personal favorite mode. But this year they changed how you navigate the menus and its f**king irritating. It’s a small change but its uber annoying and I’m not sure why they did it. It doesn’t improve menu navigation at all and if you’re used to the past 3 years of this title it makes no sense. Gameplay front things are the same as 10 – you can initiate user celebrations after a sweet goal but that does nothing for me. Especially since I’ve only pulled off one and seems really hard for some reason to get them to work. Not sure why. Penalty calls are pretty bad. 3 times out of 5 its not a penalty and I’m not sure if this was another realism addition or just lame calling.
Overall its still a great title but the improvements / additions aren’t enough to stop playing NHL 10 and definitely not reason enough to go out and pick this one up. Actually, the addition of some old school jerseys may be enough now that I think about it, in particular the Hartford Whalers logo.