EA Sports NHL 24 (PS5) Review

Time To Get Back On The Ice

NHL 24 (PS5) Review
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EA Sports NHL 24

For a long time, the NHL series of games was my go-to game when I needed something to play either by myself or with friends. This was back in the early 2000s, all the way up to NHL 10, and career mode was where I spent most of my time. NHL 10 was also the year that I stopped playing because it had become too repetitive. This was before live service games became really popular, so whatever the game came with on the disc was what you got for the year. Since then, all the way up to EA Sports NHL 24, live service content has become a way of keeping the player base engaged and playing all year long.  

As I mentioned in my preview for EA Sports NHL 24, the tagline for this year’s game is “Gameplay is King.” The team at EA Vancouver spent a lot of time refining the gameplay experience to be fun and easy to learn. This is especially true when it comes to the controls themselves, with the introduction of Total Control controls.

Nhl 24 (Ps5) Review

The Total Control controls remapped several of your most popular dekes to the face buttons on the controller, giving you, appropriately named, total control over what moves you’re making on the ice. Moves like a toe drag, between-the-legs shots, and others are now easier to pull off than ever. But if the Total Control scheme isn’t for you, then the Skill Stick control scheme is also available, should you want to use it instead. But after using the Total Control map, I don’t think Skill Stick will be the one that I use at all this year.  

While we’re on the topic of gameplay enhancements, Vision Passing is spectacular and easily my favourite core gameplay update. Essentially, Vision Passing is where you hold the pass button (R2, in my case), and the face buttons on the controller show up over each of your player’s heads, allowing you to press the corresponding button to feed a pass to that player. Unlike when I play FC 24, I don’t have to guess where my pass is going, and I can plan my attacks on the fly much easier and escape the defensive zone without randomly throwing passes out.  

“Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) in EA Sports NHL 24 is getting a bit of a facelift, first and foremost, with HUT Moments taking the place of HUT Challenges.”

The Vision Passing system, combined with the Goalie Fatigue and Sustained Pressure systems, is an absolute game-changer for maintaining possession of the puck in the offensive zone. Powerplays become significantly more controlled and spread the defence thin, allowing you to score easier goals and have a clearer path to the net. Being able to know exactly where the puck is going makes my life so much easier, and I’ve been scoring a respectable amount of goals despite my limited skill so far.  

Nhl 24 (Ps5) Review

Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) in NHL 24 is getting a bit of a facelift, first and foremost, with HUT Moments taking the place of HUT Challenges. These Moments will see the player taking on a variety of different scenarios, recreating some infamous moments in hockey history, and the rewards are as varied as moments themselves. Taking place across all difficulty levels, there is something for everyone here, and definitely something to grind out as the year goes on.  

Staying with HUT for a moment, a couple of big quality-of-life features are in play in EA Sports NHL 24: real-time objective tracking and a combined auction house. Let’s talk about the former for a moment. One of my absolute pet peeves about the FIFA and now FC 24 games is that there is no way of tracking the objectives you’re trying to complete without returning to that menu after the game you’re in.

All that is changed in NHL 24 with real-time objective tracking in your menu during the game. I never knew exactly how much this feature was needed until I went back to FC 24 one afternoon to grind out some objectives and had no idea what I had completed in that particular match.  

“My biggest gripe with sports games has always been replayability, and that hasn’t changed with NHL 24.”

The combined Auction House for HUT in EA Sports NHL 24 is exactly what it sounds like. The PlayStation and Xbox markets are combined for their respective generation of consoles. So, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will share a market, and PS5 and Xbox Series X|S will share a market. This means a (potential) greater supply of players to buy, (hopefully) cheaper prices, which will make team-building much less expensive, especially as more and more special player cards are released throughout the year.  

Nhl 24 (Ps5) Review

Going back to gameplay updates, the Exhaust Engine is making its debut in EA Sports NHL 24 alongside physics-based contact. The Exhaust Engine is made up of two separate systems: Sustained Pressure and Goalie Fatigue. Sustained Pressure is where a length of continuous time spent in the offensive zone will give your skaters a stat boost, ideally making it easier to score.

In my experience, the Sustained Pressure boost is not as impactful as I thought it would be when I first heard it described by the development team at EA Vancouver. That’s not to say that it’s ineffective, however. I still experienced a significant boost in skating speed from my players, but I sometimes found it harder to control the players when they suddenly had a boost in speed.  

The Goalie Fatigue system is essentially where the goalie becomes slower when it comes to tracking the puck in the defensive zone. They become slower moving from post to post. This can happen as a result of facing a lot of shots on goal, and as a result, things like tip-ins, rebounds, and more can increase in number. The Goalie Fatigue system is countered by clearing the puck from the defensive zone, and energy starts recovering immediately after a clearance.  

“The combined Auction House for HUT in NHL 24 is exactly what it sounds like. The PlayStation and Xbox markets are combined for their respective generation of consoles.”

The World of Chel got a new game mode with Quickplay. This is a one-period casual-style game mode which has no effect on your competitive ranking. Ideal for grinding currency or testing out new class build, Quickplay is perfect for those instances where you don’t have time for a full game and just want to get some ice time in before the rest of the squad shows up. 

Also new in World of Chel is the Battle Pass. This multi-level system allows players to unlock free and paid content to customize their players as they see fit. The best thing about the Battle Pass is that you know exactly what you’re going to get. In addition, any item unlocked from the Battle Pass is carried over to NHL 25. EA also says that this is not a pay-to-win experience, so the casual player isn’t left behind in an ever-growing power curve. Coming in at roughly $10 bi-monthly, the cost isn’t all that different from ones offered in a game like Fortnite or Call of Duty.

Nhl 24 (Ps5) Review

My biggest gripe with sports games has always been replayability, and that hasn’t changed with EA Sports NHL 24. I am actively playing MLB The Show and FC 24 during this time, and it is absolutely essential to have engaging content as the year goes on. At the time of writing, there are a ton of things to do in NHL 24, and I am looking forward to seeing what comes next in terms of content. Thankfully, the upgrades to the actual gameplay seem to do a good job of making things engaging and remaining fresh.  

I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with EA Sports NHL 24 so far, and I keep coming back, which is more than I could say for the last NHL game I bought, so right there is a positive in itself. My issue is the learning curve for new players can be a little steep. It took me a long time to move from Rookie difficulty to Semi-Pro, and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get to Pro. I am looking forward to putting in a lot more hours and getting the best out of the game. 

Final Thoughts


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