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: NHL 23 (PS5) – The Same as Last Year, with Small Changes

Hey, hey I’ve seen this one, I’ve seen this one, this is a classic!

It’s the same thing every year, isn’t it? Annual sports titles get announced, highlight a few key features, and then hunker down for a few months, hoping any sort of pushback gets swept under the rug. It hits some series’ harder than others, Madden NFL being the most noteworthy franchise to endure a rough go of things. But some other sports titles are able to fare a bit better. EA’s NHL franchise has generally been reliably okay, taking the time to include a new marquee feature or mode or something of substance. But with NHL 23, the wheels appear to have fallen off this trend, as the differences this time around are slight.

NHL 22 was the franchise debut on the PS5, bringing with it an engine change, and a large number of visual improvements, all without cutting content. As such, NHL 23 starts off with a reasonably impressive number of things to do. The key here is that EA Vancouver hasn’t taken the past year to add anything new to that library of modes. That’s not to say there’s nothing new. Some of the in-game displays and infographics have been overhauled, the Stanley Cup celebration has been reworked to allow for a more customisable experience, and players scoring hat tricks at home now feature a downright deluge of headwear. Additionally, arena presentation has received some improvements, with on-ice displays featuring as they do in some real-world NHL arenas, and crowds are much more vocal, too. This crowd presence is one of the best changes in the game, as things feel appropriately loud when a team is in an important situation, such as a playoff game or on the powerplay.

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