EA Sports’ ‘NHL 14’ has already captured the anticipation of puckheads due to its anniversary resurrection of ‘NHL 94’ in all its glory.
But there was another feature that went beyond blissful nostalgia and into bold reinvention of the series’ “Be A Pro” mode: “Life The Life,” which combined gameplay and off-ice interaction with fans, teammates and media to create an immersive experience usually found in RPGs and not sports titles. The trailer for this feature, released on Wednesday:
As you can tell, this mode is either going to take over your life in a “kiss your wife/kids/friends goodbye and become a basement-dwelling Xbox Gollum” way; or it’s going to be a stupefying, tin-eared mess.
I’m hoping it’s “Vegas Stakes.”
There are certain titles from my time as a gamer that stick with me, but exist just outside the mainstream. “Baseball Stars” for NES was one of them, a build-a-team game that also happened to feature women players and a team named after movie monsters. “Vegas Stakes” for the SNES was another, not only because it allowed an underage young gentleman the opportunity to hone his skills at casino table games from the comfort of his parents' living room, but because it was an ongoing choose-your-own-adventure too.
As you played in a casino, patrons would come up to you. Some would ask for a handout, others for an investment opportunity, some just wanted to hang out. You choose whether or not to buy into what they’re selling, and your decision meant a financial gain or loss. (You can also choose to ignore them, but what’s the fun in that?) It was a gamble on top of a gamble.
So it’s cool that ‘NHL 14’ will have some semblance of that, while adding to the layers of hyper-realism that already make the series a must-buy every year. We’re sure there’s no KHL recruitment mode yet ("Someone let you a brown paper bag filled with $100,000 ... do you ...") but that’s the sort of fun we’re hoping for.
But … well, you watched the video. This could also be sublimely ridiculous:
First, kudos to EA Sports for capturing the banality of what we can only assume was a local television reporter’s postgame query.
But if you’re going to capture the equally banal response from a pre-programmed rookie, you must have an option in which he passes all the credit to his teammates.
C’mon, that’s Cliché 101!
The “likeability summary” is a cool feature, if only because it reminds me of playing ‘D&D’ and wondering how many charisma points my dwarf wizard really needed.
It would be interesting to see how real they’re keeping this: As a player becomes a start, is there backlash with the fans or the guys worried about his next contract?
Oh, and since there's a “family” rating, we can only assume this is the first EA Sports title to have a “getting caught with road strange” mode.
See, more of this and we have ourselves a “Live the Life” mode worthy of ‘NHL 14’.
We all know Option A is the cleaned up version of “do I come to your job and knock the [expletive] out of your mouth?”, so kudos there. Alas, it seems like it’s three negatives and one positive, which feels like push-polling.
Which brings us to …
Brilliant. If only you had entertained that manic interloper’s delusions, you’d still have a wicked wrister.
Blowing the whistle on this one. NHL players don’t blog, they tweet. And if they did “blog”, it would have been over the phone to someone transcribing their thoughts. (“The Player” excepted.)
That said, where's the "I refuse to report and feel betrayed by all involved!" option?
Finally, we just wanted to point out that Marty Brodeur looks like Jame Gumb in ‘NHL 14’. IT PUTS THE LOTION IN THE STANLEY CUP … IT DOES THIS WHENEVER IT’S TOLD…
So, overall, we’re really excited about “Live The Life” mode, and really hope it goes all the way with its off-ice possibilities. And by that we mean (a) players getting too overconfident with their early success and (b) players partying too hard and getting traded and (c) players being forced to delete their Twitter accounts for being “hacked” and maybe we’re just asking for a Tyler Seguin mode.