The on-ice action is familiar and in need of a major overhaul. While the game features the NBC broadcast presentation, it’s identical to its induction. This includes the commentary. This series has suffered from balance issues for some time. There are too many times that the A.I. feels unstoppable. Frustration ensues when you can’t develop a play and every pass gets deflected or intercepted. You could argue it’s realistic due to the puck physics, but when the opposing A.I. gets checked, stands up and gets the puck, it gets old. Speaking of A.I., your teammates love to stand and look at the puck. This has not improved and is in desperate need of an update. Sure, the dekes have been updated this year, but this is only for the hardcore players. Defensive Skill Stick exists where players can freely poke check just to either whiff or pick up a tripping penalty. The gameplay is in serious need of a direction change and this can be blamed for lack of competition. If only 2K would do something besides basketball.
While the visuals and sound have always been excellent, much like the gameplay, it’s unchanged. NHL Threes looks colorful as do the arenas, but this was introduced in previous years thanks to the lighting. Player models look great and the game runs at a solid frame rate. Running on a PS4 Pro, however, there is no excuse why this game cannot look even better, especially with the Xbox One X on the horizon (https://www.onlinegameshop.com/nhl-18-coins).