EA Sports EASHL mode sucks a drum full of donkey dicks.
The mode was introduced in NHL 09 and was something new for hockey fans. What EASHL did (EASHL stands for EA Sports Hockey League) was allow friends to get together and team up to play other teams in some online hockey. Back in 2009 it was something new and pretty fucking awesome. Sure the mode had some flaws but we looked past them because this was shiny and new and exciting and we just wanted to hug it and squeeze it until the disc shattered in to a million pieces.
When NHL 10 came out we were promised that EASHL was going to be fixed and the cheese goals from NHL 09 (curve shot, wrap around shot) were not going to be there. Unfortunately EA Sports lied to us (unfortunate but not surprising) and not only were those exploits still in the game (and being used frequently) but there were also some new ones as well. Because of that, I didn’t touch NHL 10 and it was basically a waste of $60. The game rotted on the shelf as other games like NBA 2K10 and NHL 2K10 got played to death.
So when NHL 11 came out I was pretty skeptical. EA was pimping a new physics engine and all new game modes and improvements to EASHL. First of all the new “physics” engine is complete horseshit. Put NHL 10 in and play it. Then put NHL 11 in and play it. Guess what, there’s no difference. The skating physics of the game still sucks and the “big hits” are genuinely terrible.
So lets focus here on EASHL for a minute. I know I’ll get some heat because there are people who absolutely love this fucking mode, but to me, especially after 3 years of playing it, it is shit. Here’s a list of issues with EASHL that EA Sports continues to look over:
1. Icing – How EA Sports can fuck something has simple as icing up bothers me. There are times in EASHL where you can pass the puck from your end, miss everyone and have it slide in to your opponents end and it won’t be icing. There are also times where you can skate past the center ice red line, pass the puck, not hit anyone and get called for icing. WTF? Do I just misunderstand the rule of icing or has something totally changed since I’ve been following the game of hockey? How can you continually make this mistake? It’s fucking HORRIBLE and that fact that it still happens boggles the mind. Seriously, icing. It’s probably the easiest rule to understand.
2. Stupid AI – When you are playing EASHL, there will always be a full team on the ice. Sometimes these teammates will be the computer and 95% of the time the AI for these teammates will be fucking terrible. The CPU defense makes awful passes. When said CPU D goes to get the puck in their zone, they automatically pin themselves to the boards (seriously). The CPU D also makes terrible decisions on when to shoot the puck in the offensive zone and holds the puck so long it usually leads to a giveaway and some sort of 2-on-1 situation.
The goal tending is just as bad. When you get in to a game you are going to get one of two things when it comes to your goalie. The 2010-2011 version of Tim Thomas where they stop EVERYTHING or the 2009-2010 version of Tim Thomas where they can’t even catch a cold correctly. Case in point is this goal I scored:
My teammate is coming up the boards and we have a 2 on 0 with only the goalie to beat. He (teammate) saucer passes the puck to me, I make an easy move around the goalie and score. Now, watch it again and look at the goalie…he doesn’t fucking move. The only time he makes an attempt at the puck is when it is in the net and he lazily kicks his leg out.
This wouldn’t happen in the NHL. No recovery save? Nothing? Not even an attempt to try and make the save? It’s bullshit.
3. Penalties – This might be the biggest issue in the game. Sometimes you can get around having a terrible goal tender if you’re playing a shitty team, but it’s tough to kill off shitty penalties. The referee AI makes a shit load of bad calls, especially when it comes to tripping. They seem so erratic that it makes my head hurt. The other issue is that they are very, very, inconsistent. You can see the same play happen over and over and only 1/4 of the time is a call made. It’s frustrating to know that a penalty, especially a bad one, can change the course of the game. If EA Sports is going to include things like “checking from behind” make it count, don’t do it when it doesn’t call for it.
Those are probably the biggest three issues that I can think of right now. Obviously, combined, they are a game breaker and that’s exactly what NHL 11’s EASHL mode has become…broken.
I know some people will probably come on here and all me a “noob” because I’m stating facts. Sorry, but that argument doesn’t hold up. My team has been Pro playoff champs, finished in the Elite bracket multiple times and I can hold my own. This mode is broken, plain and simple.