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NHL 12 Demo Preview

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Well, we are just a handful of hours away from the release of the official NHL 12 demo this year. At least potentially, as one of the few questions that remains about the demo is, when exactly is it coming out? We know August 23, we just don’t know when it will actually drop tomorrow. It could be 12:01 AM EST, or it could be sometime in the middle of the afternoon, no one really has any idea. ( Update - check the bottom of this post for the expected time ) Either way, expect a quick update from me tomorrow once it is officially available for download.

In the meantime, let’s go over what to expect in the demo this year, as we will be getting a lot more than we usually get from the annual NHL-series demo.  Additional Late Update - Two brand new videos from GameSpot.com have been added at the end.

 

I say that, because it is true, as I reported this back when the demo news was announced, as the details were announced then too. This year, we are getting more than just a mere period to replay over and over again… we are getting 3 separate modes to play around with. So let’s go over them real quick.


Play Now

Play Now will be what we NHL-series gamers have become accustomed to as of late. As you’ll be thrown into the 3rd period of Game 7 of last seasons’ Stanley Cup Finals, between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins. Although much like last year (and I believe recent years prior) the score of the game going into the 3rd period will be completely randomly generated each time you play it. Upon completion of this game, expect to see the infamous “Stanley Cup celebration cut-scene”. As EA Sports gave us a little taste of this in one of the earliest NHL 12 videos released, when the game was still very much in its early stages, as you’ll notice by some glitchly looking text on the left shoulder of the player’s sweaters, likely to simply to indicate that this was indeed from a very early version of the game at the time. Anyway, this video can be found below.

 

Video via EASPORTS YouTube channel

A few things to note here, despite bring from an early build.

- Stanley Cup Final patches on each team’s sweaters.
- Updated and accurate version of Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, as seen at center ice.
- New version of Roberto Luongo’s mask.
- Tim Thomas’ face still isn’t close to accurate (really hoping this gets addressed in the final game, but we’ll know soon)

Many people were also quick to point out one of the minor problems this cut-scene has always had, which is that it runs with generic player models with the actual player’s faces simply pasted over them… which is why Zdeno Chara isn’t noticeably taller than anyone else. Hopefully this minor thing has been addressed, but we’ll find out tomorrow. We’ll also have the answer to this question. Will we be using the team’s rosters that existed at the time, or a more “up-to-date” roster, which would see the absence of several players on both sides, again that will be answered in short time.

I’m going to come back to touch a bit more on this mode in the demo later, but for now let’s move on to the next mode to be featured in the demo.


Be a Pro

This mode should feature most of all the new features of the “revamped” Be a Pro mode in NHL 12, including having to earn your ice time by completing new player tasks, which should be specific to your role on the team, as well as your position and player type. As well as the new ability to “quick sim” up to your next shift, while watching the simulated action on EA’s new Action Tracker, which will be in all game modes this year, which allows you to follow every single shot, hit, goal, save, etc. Very similar to how NHL’s GameCenter mobile app works, and how NHL.com’s IceTracker works for games. Except this is much more interactive, at least when it comes to its implementation into NHL 12, as you’ll be able to pull up any previous event and review the replay, as well as save it for use later.

Also new to Be a Pro this year, is the option to start your career in the CHL, and play several full seasons there, before going into the NHL entry draft. However, the amount of time you spend in the CHL is up to you, based on what you choose as your initial entry age. I doubt we’ll get to see anything close to the full extent of this in the demo though.

Most likely, you’ll just have the option to create a player, and select his position and player type, and then get to play a game with last year’s Memorial Cup Champion, St. John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. At least that’s my prediction at the moment, knowing how limited demos usually are. There could be more options that this, but again, we’ll have those questions answered very shortly. For now though, in the spirit of this preview. Let’s take a look at EA Sports’ official video from the new revamped Be a Pro mode, keeping in mind that most of this will likely be very limited in the demo… but hey, it’s better than just playing the same period of the Finals over and over!

 

Video originally released on GameTrailers - YouTube video via user Timbitsx

Again, I think it will be interesting to see what options we might have with the Be a Pro mode in the demo. I still have the feeling it will be very limited, being a demo, but it’s still nice to get something extra than most of us were initially expecting with this demo.


Hockey Ultimate Team

A nice little bonus thrown into the demo as well, as this will allow us to play around with most of HUT’s new features… and might even give a few lucky people the chance to play around with one of the new Legends in NHL 12!

Since this was a brand new game mode last year, it’s kind of tough to predict what kind of “limited version” of it that we might see in tomorrow’s demo. I’m going to presume that you’ll get a random “starter pack” to build a basic team with. However, as it has also been announced, you’ll be able to earn up to two additional card packs for your HUT team in the retail version of NHL 12, by playing HUT in the demo. There is also the possibility of getting an additional third card pack by inviting a friend to play the NHL 12 demo.

This information makes me think that you will get to play multiple games with your HUT team, before having to start all over again with a new random starter pack. Although, honestly, I have no idea. I just know we will get to see many of the new features incorporated into HUT this year, such as player injures, and the new healing cards that go along with that. As well as the new “position switching” cards, which will allow you to do something as specific as “move LW to C” depending on exactly what type of card you might happen to get your hands on.

Being a demo though, I don’t think we’ll see the inclusion of some of the other new features, like HUT’s 24/7 mode, the “stars of the week” cards, or the new multiple lineups, as we likely won’t be able to collect enough cards in the demo to make any kind of use of the multiple lineups… but again… who knows, there is a lot to be speculated about as for what may or may not be included in the HUT demo. As I mentioned earlier, I’m hopeful that they might include the Legends on rare occasion, to give a few lucky people an early preview of them. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the Legends were intentionally left out of the HUT demo… but we shall see.

Again, as with the tradition of this preview, here are some additional video previews of HUT this year, although since EA has yet to release anything official in terms of a HUT video, I’ve had to resort to some quick-clips instead.

 

Quick-Clip via an exclusive with GameStopCanada’s YouTube channel

Quick-Clip via EASPORTS’ YouTube channel


Also, since there are no real videos going over all of HUT’s new features, you can read about them in EA Sports NHL 12 Blog about ‘Online Innovations’ which covers both HUT and the EASHL. That blog can be found HERE. You can also get my additional analysis on that blog in an older NHL 12 update that I did, which covered that blog (among other things), and that post can be found HERE.


Well that just about covers everything… or so it would appear. However, I feel that I should remind people that this demo will feature the majority of 300+ gameplay enhancements, as well as all the other major features EA has been talking about for NHL 12, like the new Full Contact Physics engine, Anticipation AI, Full Balance Control, Net-Front Battles, Signature Traits, Action Tracker, and Dynamic Goalies - who can once again engage in fights, both with opposing players and the opposing goaltender!

There is also the new Winter Classic mode, which won’t be featured in the demo, which actually kind of surprised me, as I had initially figured that the demo this year might just consist of getting to play a period in the Winter Classic instead of the Finals. Oh well, I’ll take three game modes over that anytime!


So, in celebration of tomorrow’s release of the NHL 12 demo, here is EA Sport’s newest NHL 12 trailer, featuring an all new song from Bush off of the game’s official soundtrack. Enjoy.

 

Video via GameStopCanada’s YouTube channel

 


Finally, as I said earlier, in regards to “Play Now” and “I’ll touch more on this mode later”... well here is what I was talking about.

This is mostly a note for the EASHL players out there, as if you want to get some idea of what the game might feel like in the EASHL this year, ‘Play Now’ will be the place to do it… not ‘Be a Pro’. As in Play Now, you’ll be able to set position lock, like always. This should give you a much better feel for what a higher-end player build will now feel like at a certain position, with all of the new gameplay improvements. Where as in the Be a Pro mode in the demo, you will probably be quite limited to a very young and very unskilled player.

Which is why I know the first thing I’ll be doing once my download of the demo is complete… is going straight into Play Now, and selecting Boston, with my position locked on Tim Thomas, as his build as a goalie is pretty similar to how I had my EASHL goaltender setup last year, minus the stats that did nothing online. Although this year, I’ll be putting some more XP into Aggressiveness… as it will affect your ability to push and shove players out of your crease, as well as factor into your fighting skill as a goalie. Timmy should have plenty of this stat in NHL 12… so he will give me a very good idea of what kind of build I might be using in the EASHL this year, even down to the height, because me and him are both 5’ 11”.


Anyway, that wraps up the preview… expect a very quick and brief post from me sometime tomorrow, as I’ll be letting all of you known when the demo is available for download. Then, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me for a few days, unless there is some new NHL 12 news to report, as I’ll be busy collecting information to write up my hands-on impression of the NHL 12 demo, which will go up later in the week.


Update: Just before I was about to go to press with this post… I was doing a little reading, and most people are expecting to demo to be available around 5AM to 8AM - as that is when the Xbox Live Marketplace usually updates. So unless you hear otherwise from me sooner, then expect to look for it around that time tomorrow. Oh, and for the handful of you that might still be playing the NHL-series on PS3 for whatever reason… expect to see it on the PSN Market much later, around 5PM - 8PM, as that is when they usually update.

Update x2: It has pretty much all but been officially confirmed that the release time will be 5AM EST at least for Xbox 360, as it is apparently well known that this is when the Game Marketplace always updates on Tuesdays.

Update x3: Two new NHL 12 videos have been released on GameSpot.com, so I figured I’d throw them in to help build the hype for tomorrow and beyond…

The first of which is an interview along with some live gameplay footage inter-cut - that was first seen back at EA’s Summer Showcase, but the interview is new.

 

Video Via GameSpot.com



The second video features some all new gameplay footage from Be a Pro… actually I have a rather strong feeling that this footage is from the demo… as it is the CHL’s Memorial Cup Final match up from last season, between St. John and Mississauga. Which is the one game I suspect you would get to play as your pro in the demo. They also show off some more of the awesomeness of the new Action Tracker, so do enjoy.

Video Via GameSpot.com


Update x4 Just as I was about to go grab some sleep, as I noticed a few posts around the web that relate to the demo’s release time tomorrow morning. The Xbox 360 Game Marketplace does begin updating at 5AM EST - but it takes time for everything to populate, so most people probably won’t see it until around 5:30 AM. However, I’ve been told this updates a bit faster on the Xbox Live website, so if you’re a little nutty like me, and plan to be up at the time of the morning to download the demo as soon as humanly possibly. Then I highly suggest going to Xbox.com/live sign into your Live account and then go and start refreshing the Game Marketplace Demos Page on there, as I took the time to sort that list by release date in my provided link. Anyway, once you see NHL 12 pop up, click on it, which takes you to another page, from there hit “Download to Xbox 360” in the lower right, and then it should instantly show up in your download que on your Xbox, which if it is already on, will then begin downloading. Just a quick and useful tip!

I’ll update tomorrow morning with a quick new blog - once my demo has started downloading… enjoy the night!

Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, Doug Miller, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ea+sports+nhl+12

Comments

Alan's avatar

Still no love for the PC gamer, eh? I’ll put the money aside and buy Skyrim instead.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 08/22/11 at 03:21 PM ET

Ducksworth's avatar

The Stanley Cup presentation doesnt look much different from last years game. None the less still looking forward to this game and the demo tomorrow.

Posted by Ducksworth from Brownstown, MI on 08/22/11 at 03:29 PM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

The Stanley Cup presentation doesnt look much different from last years game. - Posted by Ducksworth

I know, which is disappointing… but again, that was an early build, so we can only hope they might have changed it up… although if they did, I’m guessing they might keep the old cut-scene in the demo, and leave it as a surprise for us to find later in NHL 12.

Probably still the same, but just some wishful thinking on my part. In Be a GM, I’d really like to have the option as to who to pass the Cup to next. As for Be a Pro, it would also be nice to have the ability to actually control you player after you get the Cup, and to take it for a lap around the ice, with a few simple button options for some simple Cup-related actions.

These things have been long requested by the community (at least the skating the Cup around thing) ... so I would expect they will eventually make it into the game. It just may not be this year, hopefully soon though.

Plus with some of the things EA has been talking about with the new Action Tracker… they should eventually be able to code in something that would include some top highlights from your team’s playoff run, as a part of this cut-scene, which could all be done automatically. Again, I don’t expect it this year though, but perhaps next year.

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/22/11 at 03:50 PM ET

Avatar

I would love to see some playoff beards in the future, as each round progresses each players beard gets thicker. They could even throw in some notable beards, like Kane’s “fleshbeard” which is disgusting… Toews’ Elvis muttonchops, or Weber’s impressive Caveman beard. After the hawks were out of the playoffs I wanted Nashville to get farther just so I could see how big that beast could get…

I’ll even throw this one in for the Wings fans… the Franzen fullface-beard…I swear, his whole face turns into a beard…

Posted by pstumba on 08/22/11 at 04:16 PM ET

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strike the franzen comment, Draper would be more impressive, but now his beard can only come back in legend mode…just his beard, his body would be left behind.

Posted by pstumba on 08/22/11 at 04:21 PM ET

Neznarf's avatar

I’m pretty sure every single person here would rather have the ability to skate around with the cup, and use the pass trigger to pass it on to the next player, and a much more polished and authentic cup presentation than what they offer over goalie fights and broken glass.

Goalie fights happen what 2 or 3 times a year if that?  Broken glass is a rare occurrence as well.  Why not take the time to at least get the players to toss their gloves and sticks into the air rather than goalie fights.

Posted by Neznarf on 08/22/11 at 04:28 PM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

I would love to see some playoff beards in the future, as each round progresses each players beard gets thicker. - Posted by pstumba

Agreed! I talked about this briefly in another comment in an older NHL 12 update, but this is one little potential feature that I’m personally really looking forward to… whenever it gets put in.

It would also be nice to have a real “full beard” option when creating your own player… as they one they have now is kind of thin and very lame in my opinion.

Of course this comes from the fact that I’ve been rocking a full beard for the majority of time since I’ve been able to grow one, which has been a long time now. As it is kind of one of those unwritten rules of filmmaking that comes along with being a director. wink

The result of which, is that by the time the SCFs come to a close, I usually end up looking a bit like Weber… well Zetterberg or Franzen to be more accurate… since it is red. Plus, I keep mine going all throughout the playoffs, even if the Wings get knocked out… as I do it out of my love and respect for hockey in general.

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/22/11 at 04:30 PM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

I’m pretty sure every single person here would rather have the ability to skate around with the cup, and use the pass trigger to pass it on to the next player, and a much more polished and authentic cup presentation than what they offer over goalie fights and broken glass.

Goalie fights happen what 2 or 3 times a year if that?  Broken glass is a rare occurrence as well.  Why not take the time to at least get the players to toss their gloves and sticks into the air rather than goalie fights. - Posted by Neznarf

Personally, I’m really happy that broken glass and goalie fights are finally back in the new generation of the series. Although I’d also love the Cup stuff as well. I might be biased on the goalie fights, being a goalie in the EASHL myself… so it’s something I’ve wanted back in there ever since the new fighting engine was put in place, and from reports I’ve read, has actually be improved this year, even though it’s never gotten a mention from EA, as I suppose they just saw it as a slight tweak. Plus having the ability to fight players who run me is going to be awesome.

Should also be noted that EA has already stated that online, there won’t be goalie fighting in Drop In or OTP, because they already know those modes don’t need more problems. They will be in EASHL Club games though… which is just fine by me, as that is where I play the majority of my EASHL games anyway. I consider OTP as my “warm-up” or “practice” and personally, still don’t even think it should officially count as a ranked game in your EASHL stats because they are such a joke.

EA Canada can’t do everything all in one year, which is why we get bits and pieces of stuff each year… eventually the Cup stuff will make it into the game… so it honestly doesn’t really bother me that much.

Plus, just for the record, EA has already said that goalie fights and broken glass will be rare occurrences, just as they are in real life. Many people got the wrong impression from the E3 demo where the sliders for these were turned all the way up, because they were simply trying to show these new features off to everyone that got a chance to see or play the game then.

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/22/11 at 04:42 PM ET

Avatar

Oh, and for the handful of you that might still be playing the NHL-series on PS3 for whatever reason…

What did the PS3 ever do to you?  Console wars are so 2007.  For the record, I am sitting NHL 12 out since they still don’t have a multiplayer franchise mode.

Posted by Devils In The Details on 08/22/11 at 06:49 PM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

What did the PS3 ever do to you?  Console wars are so 2007.  For the record, I am sitting NHL 12 out since they still don’t have a multiplayer franchise mode. - Posted by Devils In The Details

It mostly just played my Blu-Ray collection and MGS4, which was the main reason I got one, aside from being film buff - I adore the Metal Gear Solid series for it’s amazing writing. Sadly, all of those things have since been sold off over the last year for money to live on. Including my entire film collection, which was nearing 1000 or so titles before I had to start piecing it off to get by.

I actually have nothing against the PS3 though, that comment was mostly in regards to EASHL players anyway, since most of them left PS3 for the 360 because of that PSN hacking incident sometime back.

I’m not even going to share my thoughts about PSN vs Live though, because I’d rather keep these comments on the exciting topic at hand.

I take it by multiplayer franchise mode, you also meant online… because you can select as many user controlled teams as you want in Be a GM… and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember.

You know, NHL 12 technically does have an online multiplayer franchise mode in the form of Hockey Ultimate Team… which actually requires more management that Be a GM does, at least it felt that way at times last year, but position switching and multiple lineups will help all of that immensely though, as would a few simple tweaks that haven’t be announced or confirmed yet.

Although, I know what you meant, an online Be a GM mode, which personally, I would also love to see as well, as I still like it better than HUT. Although that might change this year with the improvements they have made to HUT. Nah… no matter how good HUT gets, nothing beats playing a full season, scouting prospects, drafting players, making trades, and free agency, etc, for 30 years. Many aspects of Be a GM need to be improved before they take it online, in my opinion. Still my second favorite mode next to the EASHL though.

However. a large majority of the NHL-series community agrees with you abut online Be a GM… which makes me think that it’s got to be in the works sometime soon, perhaps next year, or more likely, the year after. Considering next year they have to put the final touches on the 3 year overhaul of the physics engine.

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/22/11 at 08:23 PM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

Just a quick comment to give this post a bump in the recent comments, since I have just updated it with two new videos. The second of which I highly suspect is from the limited Be a Pro mode in the upcoming demo!

Anyway, I’m off to get some more sleep in… as I eagerly away tomorrow’s early morning release of the demo!

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/22/11 at 10:11 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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