EA Sports officially announced NHL 24 this week, along with Colorado Avalanche star defenseman Cale Makar as the cover athlete. We also got to see early indications of gameplay changes, and — yes, we know you’ve heard this before — NHL 24’s gameplay changes look like they could actually have a lot of impact in this year’s game. EA Sports also announced the NHL 24 release date as October 6, 2023.

Fans have complained that EA Sports games haven’t provided enough innovation in recent years, and they have had a point at times. 2023 might signal the turning of a new leaf, however. Madden 24, while not perfect, has addressed many gaps in it’s franchise mode. And now, it appears that NHL 24 might be finally making significant changes that will eliminate the one-dimensional gameplay that has plagued the series for years.

NHL 24 Gameplay Improvements

NHL 24 Bobrovsky save against the Golden Knights

If you’ve played NHL 23 or NHL 22, you know the meta. Try to work odd-man rushes and get opportunities to attempt cross-crease passes and set up a one-timer past the goalie. It’s a tried and true method — really tried and really true. Trying to score in any fashion other than the identified glitch goals for that year resulted in a maddening experience against suddenly superhuman goaltenders.

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When there’s only one or two ways to score, the game loses its fun factor in a big hurry. So, EA Canada went back to the drawing board (or maybe a cave like in Iron Man) and emerged with the brand-new Exhaust System.

The Exhaust System in NHL 24 aims to do something that was previously unthinkable — make the NHL video game play like actual hockey. The concept is simple: when your team has sustained offensive zone pressure, the opposing team’s goaltender will lose stamina and become less effective. If EA Canada is able to pull this innovation off effectively, the way games are played in NHL 24 could be completely different.

New Passing and Physics

I’m not too proud to admit that some of my bigger meltdowns when gaming happen when a pass I make in NHL 23 goes somewhere completely different than where I intended. A new passing feature in NHL 24 could change that. Teammates will now have designated button icons over their heads. You won’t have to try to aim the thumbstick and hope for the best anymore. Instead, just hit the button corresponding to the player you want to pass to. A nice bonus to this should be some cool one-touch passing combo opportunities.

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A new physics system is also being introduced into NHL 24. This will mostly impact collisions and hitting, each of which has needed attention for some time. In EA’s press release, they promised rag-doll and animations based collisions in this year’s game, which should add to the authenticity of the game.

If you pre-order NHL 24 before September 25, you’ll get a Team Building Player Choice Pack for Hockey Ultimate Team, access to the NHL 24 beta, and more.

NHL 24 is available October 6 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

Tyler
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