‘NHL 21’ capitalizes on improved gameplay and graphics

Gavin Ewen, Sectional Editor

In a year unlike any other and the need to stay indoors, video games are an activity a lot more people are using to pass time. That brings us to “NHL 21,” the latest game in the titular franchise, which is certainly a reason to stay inside.

With updates to many modes like “Be a Pro” and “CHEL,” “NHL 21” has brought a wider range of opportunities in its franchise and season modes. 

Overall, the mechanics and gameplay of “NHL 21” are drastic improvements compared to last year’s game, which makes it smoother and faster. Also, involving the mechanics, new moves and dangles were added into the game. Some examples include the back-board self pass, the flip deke, and the no-move deke. 

As for the gameplay, it’s definitely trending in the right direction. Although the menus might be slow at times, the on-ice play seems extremely fluid compared to last year’s version.

The presentation for “NHL 21” is easily the best it’s ever been. The scoreboard, the commentators and the arenas just feel so real. This game compacts so many elements together it feels like you are in the actual arena playing. The only downfall about the presentation is the menus, due to the fact that they have been quite similar in recent years. This game will look even better on the New PS5 or the XBOX One X. 

As mentioned previously, the game modes in “NHL 21” evolved strongly over the past year. “NHL 21” revamped the “Be a Pro Mode,” where users can create their own player and attempt to make their way to the NHL. New options this year allow users to begin in the CHL, or even start in Europe to begin their player’s career. The mode now includes skill trees focused on certain attributes to each player’s skillset. 

Outside of that, “NHL 21” offers updated versions of “Franchise Mode,” “Hockey Ultimate Team,” World of CHEL,” “NHL Threes,” “Season Mode” and “Playoff Mode.” All these modes give users a range of options, and they show the creativity that the game’s creators put into this year’s version.

However, there is one more new mode that fans will be sure to enjoy in “NHL 21.” “HUT Rush” made its debut this year, and the mode involves Hockey Ultimate Team, in which players gather style points. The points in this mode aren’t based on goals, but by the amount of styles, dekes and maneuvers you use on each goal and possession. Plus, you can even play this mode with NHL mascots. 

Overall, “NHL 21” definitely gets an “A” rating from me for its vast array of improvements. If you want a game that feels real and lets you expand your creativity, “NHL 21” might be the game for you.