The official announcement for NHL 21 came much later than normal due to the complications caused by COVID-19, but on the surface, it appears EA has cooked up a suitable addition to their underrated hockey series.
NHL 21 will be released on October 16 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Fans who pre-order the game will receive a variety of in-game bonuses.
The NHL 21 Great Eight Edition offers fans up to 10 HUT Diamond Player Choice Packs, HUT Synergy Veteran Choice Pack, HUT Cover Athlete Choice Pack, three Days Early Access, Be A Pro XP Boost and Bonus Trait and Specialization Points and five Unlocked World of Chel Hockey Bags.
The cover athlete for this year’s game will be Washinton Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin. This is the second time Ovechkin has been the EA NHL cover athlete. He held the post in 2006 for NHL 07 as well.
“It’s a huge honor to be on the cover of NHL 21 for the second time in my career,” said Alex Ovechkin, per the press release. “More importantly, I’m glad I’m looking just as good on the cover this year as I did in 2007!!!”
EA has “revamped” the Be a Pro mode, addressed gameplay, updated Hockey Ultimate Team with a new mode called RUSH, expanded the creation options in the World of CHEL.
“NHL 21 delivers a fresh feel to the franchise with an overhauled Be A Pro mode. The brand new Be A Pro experience enhances the game’s narrative and quality of life, giving players the chance to live the life of an NHL star, both on and off the ice. Impress the front office, go early on draft day, and chase greatness as players earn a spot on the first line, compete for the Stanley Cup, and become the league’s next best. Players can work their way from a chippy bottom six forward to a must-see superstar.”
We’ve seen more in the past few years, the key to these modes is attaching them to the online component (in the case the World of CHEL), and creating enough immersion in the career mode itself. Can EA accomplish that in NHL 21? We’ll find out soon.
Every new sports game has to address its gameplay. EA claims NHL 21 has gotten “smarter, faster and a whole lot flashier.”
In addition to what sounds like a more wide-open style on offense, the press release also talks about improved goalie positioning and control. The NHL gameplay has been one of my personal favorites in the series, so we’ll see how much balancing takes place.
HUT gets a significant addition in RUSH. EA describes the new mode as “a streamlined version of HUT that lets players jump into HUT games quickly, rack up achievements, and unlock rewards by scoring with style. With a scoring system that rewards skill and creativity, HUT RUSH will provide plenty of cannot miss moments.”
EA is leaning this direction with all of its sports titles. RUSH sounds like the hockey equivalent of EA UFC 4’s Blitz Battles. It’s a solid concept in EA UFC 4, and could be an even bigger hit in NHL.
The World of CHEL brings in new Ranked Seasons that combines competition in ONES, THREES, Drop-In or Clubs to earn a spot in the EASHL club Finals. You can win gear and other vanity items in this competition.
Lastly, the NHL franchise mode aims to add some immersion to the Trade Deadline experience. According to EA, “players will feel the pressure of the approaching deadline with real-time updates that lead to important decisions on which players to target and trade for. Just like the real trade deadline, the market value of players will fluctuate as the day goes on, and live trade alerts will move rapidly via the trade deadline ticker.”
As we get closer to the release, I’ll break down some of the more specific information about the upcoming version of the EA NHL series.
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I cover sports video games like NBA 2K, Madden, MLB The Show, FIFA, NHL, EA UFC, Fight Night, Super Mega Baseball, DIRT, F1, NASCAR, Forza, and everything in between. You can also find me previewing and recapping WWE PPV events.
World news – CA – NHL 21 Release Date, Cover Athlete, Pre-Order Details, Trailer And Feature List