Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Doug Miller on 08/22/11 at 03:10 PM ET
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 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!
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