Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Doug Miller on 07/28/11 at 04:05 PM ET
Alright, now that my involuntary exile from the internet is finally over, and my modem again blinks green with delight, I bring you the latest NHL 12 update. Yesterday, EA released a new video showing off some of the new features of the “Full Balance Control” system, new for the upcoming NHL 12.
As a major part of EA’s plan for a “three year physics overhaul”, with NHL 12 representing the second year of the process, this new FBC system was designed to bring a much more realistic feel to checks, as well as any kind of contact a player might have with another player (or the boards). Gone now are the “awkward” checks that would send players flying off their skates for seemingly no reason, at least no reason to those of us with a rudimentary understanding of basic physics.
EA sites these three major points on their “Features Whiteboard” for NHL 12’s FBC system:
• Drive the Net: In NHL 12, powerful skaters will be able to drive to the net and shrug off ill-timed hits by defensemen along the way.
• Size and Strength Matter: In NHL 12, use big, powerful players to your advantage, as they will be able to dominate smaller players and absorb hits from less physical players with minimal impact.
• Recover from hits: New to NHL 12, is the ability of players to catch their balance after being hit. Just because you’ve received a hit, doesn’t mean you’re going to fall to the ice. Now you can stumble to your knees, or use your hands to stay on your skates and in the play!
If you didn’t know any better, you would probably assume that EA has now tipped the scales in favor of the bigger, more physical players. Although it hasn’t been touched on much in other developer blogs or interviews, EA has stated that this won’t be the case, and that the smaller skaters with good “balance control” will be no easy task to knock off the puck.
Anyway, let’s get to the goods…
For those of you that have been closely following the developing news and announcements regarding NHL 12, the majority of this video should look familiar, as we’ve already seen this “Crosby-balance” clip comparison before. Although I’d like to point out, for those of you who might not have noticed it before, in the NHL 12 version of the clip, Crosby is doing one additional thing that he isn’t doing in NHL 11. Right before he is about to get clipped with the hip-check, he throws out the “puck protect” move. Which leads me to the thinking that the “Puck Control” stat will now also likely be a factor when you’re the puck carrier taking a check.
So really, the only “new” thing we are seeing here is a couple more of what I’m guessing will be a wide variety of animations for players to quickly recover from checks, assuming they have the necessary attributes to do so. While there is no solid information of what exactly all the stat categories will be that factor into your skater’s balance control, we can take the logical approach and assume the following for the time being:
- Balance will be king, which is kind of a no-brainer, obviously the balance stat will be the biggest modifier here.
- Strength will now also likely factor into your overall “balance control”. The higher the strength rating, the harder the checks a skater will be able to absorb and recover from.
- Agility should also be a factor. How quickly a skater is able to get his feet, knees, and/or hands under him, will likely result in how quickly they can get back on balance and back in the play.
- Puck Control is the biggest speculation I’m making, but I think that it’s likely going to be included in this system. As we’ve seen with the video, you’ll likely be rewarded for having good hockey sense and using the “puck protect” button at the right time, and gone should be the old days of “baby checks” (low momentum checks) that knock you off the puck and cause you to lose possession.
Of course all of this just remains as speculation on my part, and I likely won’t have any definitive answers until I get my hands on a copy of the game, then have the time to start messing around with different types of players builds, and then analyze a number of collisions, all in an effort to see what stats will or won’t have an effect with this new FBC system.
EA is expected to release a new developer blog tomorrow, that will go into more detail about the new “Anticipation AI” which could single handedly be the biggest factor in improving the EASHL for casual players. Expect a write up from me breaking down any new info there to be posted early Saturday afternoon though, as I’ve been without internet for a few days, and have to get myself back into the loop of hockey news, which is what I’ll be rounding up for you in tomorrow’s blog entry.
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