Back in September, I purchased NHL 13 for my PS3. Since the inception of the franchise on my Sega Genesis and PC, I've been a die hard NHL series fan. I'd consider the pinnacle of my EA NHL experience the glory days of NHL 99- NHL 2003 or 04. Somewhere in there... I played online with my PC, downloaded all of the roster packs, face packs, photo packs, goal equipment, arena packs, and even the NHLView, NHL Info and Blomman's Editors.
Then NHL 2009 happened. It'd been a few years since I played an NHL series game, and with my first console purchase since the Sega Genesis, Playstation 3 was supposed to be my reintroduction to the NHL franchise I'd come to love, but nearly forgot about when they essentially gave up on PC gaming. Unimpressed with EA's rosters, I took to the internet for something a little more authentic. I found some rosters (MattyG's Ultimate Rosters) to my liking and after 1 season in Franchise mode, the game kept freezing. I couldn't get past the offseason. This was a glitch that had something to do with Playstation's trophy system, I'd been told.
So I gave up on the NHL series, and stuck to Madden (which is usually far superior) and the Fight Night games. This year, I purchased NHL to get over my Lockout Blues, and hopefully get a chance to see Jagr in a Stars uni- at least virtually. I've downloaded several of EA's roster updates, and I have to say: they're terrible.
I've mostly been playing the Be A Pro mode, simply because I couldn't stomach the thought of a season with Dvorak on the Stars, and a Texas roster full of guys like Godard and Raycroft, no longer with the team, and a lack of rookies (no Oleksiak, Reilly, Austin, Campbell, Chiasson, etc in Texas).
Even the Be A Pro mode leaves a lot to be desired. After lighting it up in the WHL for the Medicine Hat Tigers, I was taken #1 overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs. I dominated in the pre-season, and was sent back to the CHL for another year of seasoning. After another brilliant year, another camp and more promises from the GM that I was "all but a lock to make the team", the Leafs signed a few European players and away I went back down to the CHL. When I sim games, not only does it take an ungodly amount of time to do so (I remember the days where you could sim months or even a season in a matter of minutes), but the Coach lets you know that you're "phoning it in" and they even demoted me to 2nd and 3rd line duties. Craziness, and very unrealistic, considering the point production.
Even NHL Eastside Hockey Manager, my favorite hockey game ever (RIP), had shorter sim times than that of NHL 13.
And then there's the commentators, the soundtrack... urghhh... Terrible! Just because I'm playing hockey, don't think that I'm predisposed to liking pop-punk and Nickelback/Theory of a Deadman-esque grool. The same stereotyping goes with the Madden series, where they're treated to "urban" music.
This is fixable though, with the option to upload my own music, which I fully intend on doing. There are downloads online for music between plays and intermissions, and I can add in my menu music, or just shut it off all together.
The commentators aren't as bad as they were a few years ago, but I'm really hoping that they switch it up soon. Razor and Strangis would be a dream, though even Hughson (again) and maybe McGuire or Mackenzie would be ok. Even Kelly Hrudey I'd be ok with.
The deking is great and the skating is much improved. It's harder to check than it used to be, where I could limit any computer offense with my defensive prowess (my teams were always built from the backend, out).
If any of you has NHL 13 for PS3, let me know about your rosters and if you've found something better than I have. I'd love to start a Franchise, but would like to once I have some better CAP's and prospects (Sinitsyn, Guptill, etc not in the ones I've found).
@cmeb90210 on Twitter