NHL 18 won't be getting a story mode this year, but it will be getting a new arcade mode that bears some resemblance to Rocket League.
NHL 18's release date, cover athlete, and major gameplay details were revealed at tonight's NHL Awards in Las Vegas. Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid, who is coming off a sensational sophomore season, will be on the cover.
As was detailed in a survey a couple months back, NHL 18's biggest addition is a new mode called "NHL Threes," which features super high speed three-on-three gameplay in a small rink that is perfect for breakaways.
In addition to regular couch multiplayer, NHL Threes will include online support as well as an EASHL variant in which you can team up with your friends. There will also be a single-player mode in which you unlock players, arenas, and mascots as you progress.
Some other additions to NHL 18 include:
- New dekes and a brand new defensive skill stick that lets you more freely sweep away pucks. The advanced dekes require fighting game-like inputs, but they will allow top players to do things like reliably slide the puck between the legs of a goalie.
- An expansion mode that will allow you to step into career mode with a customized team of your choice. The available options will be similar to last year's team relocation.
- A handful of AI improvements that let them do things like bank the puck off the boards.
- Hockey Ultimate Team, Online Versus, and NHL Threes will all support online or couch co-op in virtually any combination.
- Hockey Ultimate Team will also include new solo challenges that are likely to be similar to those found in Madden NFL, which have proven popular with fans.
NHL 18 will seek to rebound in the midst of a tough generation for the series. When I reviewed last year's version, I lamented that it was stuck in a bit of a creative rut. While Madden 18 is making the transition to Frostbite this year, NHL is sticking with its current engine.
NHL 18's beta goes live on July 25, so I'll have more impressions then. In the meantime, you can check out my thoughts on NHL Threes here.
NHL 18 will be releasing on September 15 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.