Fighting has been a part of hockey since the sport was invented, so it always seemed dumb that the fighting in hockey video games was so crappy. At best, it felt like a sideshow — a mini-game that had nothing to do with what was happening on the ice.
In NHL 14, EA has totally revamped its fighting engine in an effort to deliver more realistic confrontations between the league’s tough guys. And it looks like it’s worked. Let me be the first to say: it’s about damn time.
Check out this promo video, which shows off the new “Enforcer Engine”:
It looks like a big leap forward. Gone are the first-person, button-mashing fights that can be triggered with a single button press and that have essentially no impact on the game.
Now, fights will be viewed and controlled from a third-person perspective. Players will start fights in a way that’s more true to how it happens in real life. If a thug takes out one of your team’s top stars with a big hit, one of your players will step up and make him pay for what he did. Instead of just standing around and doing nothing, other players on the ice will pair off and get into scraps, too (though the video kind of just makes it look like everyone finds a hug buddy).
The actual fights will offer gamers way more control than before, EA says. Technology from EA’s Fight Night series of boxing video games has reportedly been incorporated. Instead of just trying to get in punches faster than your opponent, fighting will now take some skill and it will be possible to win in more ways than just depleting your opponent’s life bar with rapid rights. Smaller players will be at a disadvantage, but they can use “push and pull techniques” to try to get their larger opponent off balance.
NHL 14 drops on September 10.