Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Doug Miller on 08/31/11 at 01:00 PM ET
Well here we are, just under two weeks away from the North American release of the next installment in EA Sports NHL Franchise, the highly-anticipated NHL 12. I had figured that my blog would slow down a bit around this time. Although I had expected that this would be due to the fact that I would be very busy playing my review copy of NHL 12 around the clock in an effort to get my comprehensive and in-depth review done and posted up the morning of September 13, the game’s release date.
However, as it stands at the time, I have yet to receive said review copy from EA. So, I sent their PR people an email yesterday regarding the current status of my review copy, and now I’ve got some solid answers about the situation at hand.
UPDATE - Pre time-stamp release of 12PM: Added new Gretzky “milestone” video this morning, about an hour before this was set to go up, it can be found at the bottom of this post, as per usual with last second updates of recently breaking news.
I had sent my initial email out to their PR people requesting a review copy several weeks back, and was told I likely wouldn’t get one until closer to release, which was a little contrary to my understanding of how the video game industry worked. As I know that major video game websites and other major media outlets do get very early copies for review, as to have their reviews done in time for release. Although I wasn’t surprised by EA’s response, since KK isn’t exactly a major video games news outlet, and we only really started in-depth coverage of the NHL-series when I was brought on board. As it is just one of the many areas of hockey that this blog covers.
The good news from my initial email, was that I did get a reply, and was indeed added to the list of media in line to get a review copy of the game, even if it was closer to release, it was better than nothing. Although I had figured that “closer to release” would be sometime this week, as that release is drawing pretty close now. So to help clarify the current situation, I sent another email out yesterday, to further inquire into my review copy in question.
The reply I got this time, wasn’t exactly good news. As it turns out that generally review copies for people/places that aren’t on the small and select list of those that get the early copies, don’t get shipped out until either the day before release, if not the day of. Which means that my “back-up plan” of subscribing to EA’s Season Ticket program will pay off after all, as that is looking like the earliest that I’ll have access to the game. Although, I have already started campaigning to try and get myself onto the small and select list of early copies for next year. That way I can continue to try and be as professional as possible, and have a review ready for reading in time with the game’s release, as should always be the case, at least in my mind.
However, this year, I just won’t have that option though. As it simply isn’t possible to properly review a game as comprehensive as NHL 12 in a mere 3 days, especially considering that much like Madden’s early release this year, it will likely be missing the addition of Hockey Ultimate Team in that early release.
So instead, my plans consist of a what will be a very hectic weekend for me, next week.
As the early access download for NHL 12 won’t be available until next Friday, September 9, at approximately 6PM EST. Although there is a bit of a catch to that, for myself at least. As I have been given the privilege this year to cover my hometown Detroit Red Wings’ annual massive fan-festival, known as HockeyFest. Which just so happens to be the following day, Saturday, September 10, from 11AM - 6PM. I knew about the possibility of the current scenario that I happen to find myself in at the moment when I was first asked to cover HockeyFest. However, despite the possible risk that things might end up how they currently stand, it simply wasn’t something I could turn down, no matter what the case might happen to be.
So my current plans are as follows. Adjust my sleep schedule so that I’m sleeping most of the day, until around 4:30-5:00PM. So that I can wake up around that time next Friday and begin the long download for the early access release of NHL 12. Then I’ll very likely stay up all night and play NHL 12, until around 9-10AM, when I’ll head down to Joe Louis Arena to cover HockeyFest for the day. Thankfully, I know a friend of mine who will also be going to HockeyFest this year as well, and we will likely carpool down there, and although he won’t have the media credentials that I’ll have, he will still allow me to be in two places at once for the most part, if the need should arise, which will make covering all of the events at HockeyFest much less of a massive task than it already is. He will mostly be useful when it comes to helping me gather media though, such as various photos and short video footage.
Although, I’ll still have updates on my blog throughout the day during HockeyFest, but once I return home, I’ll likely be quite exhausted, both physically and mentally, so chances are that I’ll crash out for a few hours. Then I’ll wake up early in the morning to write up my full recap of HockeyFest, and get it posted up for some Sunday morning reading for you guys to enjoy, as that recap will also feature a wealth of media to look over as well. After which I’ll be going on a bit of a hiatus as I’ll be busy trying to get all of NHL 12 covered for the grand finale of coverage of the game, my in-depth and comprehensive review.
Early on in this process, late Monday night, September 12, I’ll be taking a trip out to my local Walmart to pick up a retail copy of NHL 12 at midnight, as my review copy won’t even ship until around then, so who knows how many days it might take to arrive. Which means my friend that will be lending a helping hand at HockeyFest will be getting himself a nice little gift of a free copy of NHL 12 as my personal thanks, as I’ll end up with two copies at some point soon after release.
I don’t know exactly how long my review will take to write, but I’m going to try and get it done as quickly as possible considering the circumstances. Although I am not going to sacrifice quality for the sake of time, as I said, that review kind of represents my finale of coverage for NHL 12, so I know I have my own high-expectations for it, as well as I’m sure many of you readers do as well. Of course I’ll still be covering the EASHL after that though, as well resuming normal activity on CHL and NCAA coverage, as those areas of coverage should be heating up around the time my review is done.
Don’t expect complete silence from me between now and next Friday though, as I’m going to have the occasional HockeyFest news to cover, including a full preview of the event, likely to be posted up next Thursday.
Plus I do have kind of a “big announcement” of my own planned between now and then as well. Much like EA’s big announcement for NHL 12 this year, I’m sure it won’t live up to the hype for most people. However, I’m pretty excited about it, personally. For now I’ll only give you the cryptic tidbits that it does involve NHL 12, the EASHL, and Kukla’s Korner. Which should be enough for some of you to figure it out pretty easily between now and whenever I decide to make the announcement.
I’ll do my best to generate as many posts as I can between now and next Friday though, aside from what I already have planned. Although I do very much have myself wrapped up in an NHL 12 headspace at the moment, and don’t really want to leave that place mentally until the grand finale of coverage that is my review, is finished and posted. So expect at least one follow-up post of my hands-on impressions of the NHL 12 demo, as I’ve had considerably more time with the game now than since my initial first impressions were posted up.
For example, a few friends of mine talked me into playing NHL 11 the other night, which I only agreed to so that I could really see the differences that have been made from last year to this year. Having had so much of my time wrapped up in playing every mode the NHL 12 demo, including a good chunk of that time position locked on goaltender. So how many games was I able to get into NHL 11 before I called it “unplayable garbage compared to NHL 12”?
A whopping two games.
The difference between the two games is quite dramatic, and those who have played the NHL 12 demo and don’t see the major differences between it and NHL 11 (especially human goaltending)... well, you might need to seek professional medical help to have your head examined. Honestly, this is the biggest overall difference I’ve ever seen between two games in the series within a year on the same generation of systems. It’s remarkable the job that EA Canada has done this year… and that is still only going based on the little snack size bite I’ve been given with a limited demo to play.
Anyway, in some other NHL 12 related news, earlier yesterday, via an exclusive with GameSpot.com, EA released a new “Legends Sizzle Trailer” as they are calling it. There isn’t much new footage here, but there is some, including a very quick and subtle tidbit of new information… see if you can catch it.
Video via crashthenetcommunity’s YouTube channel
Did you see it? It is rather fast and hidden away in the corner, as I didn’t even notice it myself until a second viewing.
When they are talking about Legend cards in HUT, and the “Collect Every Legend Card” part - they show Gretzky’s card, then they flip it over, sort of. This flip just reveals the exact same card, except for the team represented on the card, which switches from Edmonton to Los Angeles. They then flip it once more to reveal the New York Rangers represented as well. Which means that in HUT, it looks like some Legends will have multiple team cards, if they were known for playing for more than just one team during their career. For example, I’m sure Patrick Roy will have both a Montreal Card, as well as a Colorado card. Although that is a bad example, as this was obviously done for team chemistry reasons, which doesn’t apply to goaltenders.
So the better example, and perhaps the most intriguing, would be in the case of Chris Chelios. As he will likely have a Montreal, Chicago, and Detroit card, as he spent significant time will all three of those franchises. Although one begins to wonder if Legends will have a team card for every single team that they might have played for over their careers. Which raises a few interesting questions, such as, will Chelios have Winnipeg Jets card? He technically did and didn’t play for the team, as he played for the Atlanta Thrashers at the end of his career. Albeit for only 7 games in the ‘09-‘10 season, and that former Atlanta team is now technically Winnipeg. This seems unlikely though, as it was only 7 games for a team that technically no longer exists. Although we could apply the same question to Gordie Howe and the Hartford Whalers / Carolina Hurricanes. Keeping in mind that Howe played an entire season for Hartford, in the NHL too.
I know I am going pretty far outside the box here… but honestly, you never know what kind of curveballs EA might throw at us. Personally, I’m glad to see they are taking this multiple team thing into consideration, as it will allow for players to have some more freedom to be creative when it comes to team chemistry combinations in HUT, at least when it comes to these ultra-rare Legend cards.
That is all for now folks. I’ll be back when there is something else to report. In the meantime it’s back to grinding things out in the NHL 12 demo. At which I’m starting to get used to all the changes now, at least as a forward or using the entire team, and I am getting pretty close to upping my game to All-Star difficulty level, to see a bit more of what the new and vastly improved A.I. has in store for us this year.
Except for when it comes to playing goalie, as I’m finding myself having to relearn my best position, because of the global changes made across the game, it’s made it the hardest position to re-adapt to. Expect to hear more about this in the coming week and a half or so, before I dig myself into a deep hole to review the full version of the game.
Just found this as I woke up, right before this post was about to go up, so I figured I might as well throw it in real quick.
Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog has landed an exclusive deal with EA to release a handful of Wayne Gretzky’s “legendary milestone” videos from NHL 12 this week, the first of which went up at around 9AM today. If all goes well you should see the video embedded below. If not then HERE is the link to the blog entry with the video in question.
Courtesy of Puck Daddy blog on Yahoo - video hosted by Vimeo
Looks like that should be fine, as much like YouTube, Vimeo uses very simple embed coding that makes things easy for those of us like myself that know basic HTML, but not the in-depth and super complex stuff that sometimes gets thrown in with some embed coding.
So I think this now just leaves myself and NBC’s Pro Hockey Talk blog as about the only two major places left that have yet to land some kind of exclusive something with EA Sports involving NHL 12. Which is a wink and a nod to my favorite NBC PHT writer, James O’Brien, that we need to try harder next year, haha.
Aside from that, note that I labeled this as a “milestone” video from the game, where as if you read PD’s post, he talks about it as an achievement video. Not saying he’s wrong, I’m just trying to help keep things clear and non-confusing for readers, as there are several achievements in the game that are tied in with some of these 26 “legendary milestones” that will be in the game, but not every single one of them. Upon accomplishing one of these “legendary milestones” you’ll unlock one of these Gretzky videos with him talking about said milestone, either being one he accomplished himself during his career, or another feat that one of the other Legends in the game accomplished during their careers. On occasion, you’ll also unlock an in-game achievement as well, should it be tied in with that milestone. Or in-game “Trophy” for you PS3 users, as I’m assuming the lists are the exact same, although I have not yet seen the PS3 list of Trophies for NHL 12.
Anyway, as it isn’t really clear what this particular video might be related to, as really all Wayne is talking about here is what separates a Legend from a great player, and that is consistency. So I could only assume that maybe this video is just a “freebie” that is thrown in, perhaps when you first unlock any of the Legends, since he isn’t talking about any sort of specific accomplishment here.
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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 firstname.lastname@example.org