NHL 19 is a great improvement over the last entry and the continued build of content that the series has received this generation. I felt that last year's release really did capture the missing modes from the last generation and built upon that with Threes. This time around everything is present once again including Threes, but with an even more exciting mode titled "World of Chel". This area is all about creating your own custom character, unlocking gear through hockey bags and then battling it out in a series of modes located within this hub type area.
There's one where you play with or against the stars. Another which is just wild; it's Ones, where you play 1v1v1. I personally think it's a bit silly as we never once did that in the outdoor rink, but it can be fast paced action so I get the appeal. Threes is included here too and there's also EASHL. Other versions of the various modes do exist within the menu, just here everything is focused on gaining rewards to build your own skater or goalie. All of the classic options return whether you want to enjoy quickplay, compete online or just have a season. You can Be a Pro, they've added scouting options and really it was just a refinement over existing mode options.
NHL 19 is Xbox One X enhanced and it looks great with impressive visuals, I do however hope we get to see HDR implemented eventually. It looks very clean, bright and the ice getting cut up dynamically over time is excellent. I did notice some of the side areas outside the rink could have been sharper in detail. They really do capture the fans having a vast crowd with mascots cheering to the side. They still haven't fixed the animations for cutscenes which look super awkward.
The jerseys still look like capes in cutscenes, that's been a huge problem visually since the generation started. The AI is much better acting more naturally, I still see them having some mix-up issues with the changing of offense to defense. The commentary is improved, more dynamic and definitely a natural overlay to the action. I still yearn for Canadian representation over NBC however, wouldn't be too hard to at least give us Coach's Corner.
NHL 19 is the best hockey game this generation providing all the desired modes and greatly adding to them with the World of Chel. It is an expansive package and a great representation of the sport. That being said, there still are some issues that persist and eventually they'll need to switch over to Frostbite as the other EA Sports titles have. For now, the skating feels right and the game itself plays perfectly fine. There's a plethora of modes whether you want to play offline or online.
The World of Chel is a great addition offering so much content. The hockey bags aren't micotransactions which is great and they offer a fun, rewarding way to get weird customization options. You can actually tweak too much here which is awesome, you get to really hit the old outdoor rink. I felt they could have taken it further with snow banks instead of boards, but that's just an authenticity type comment. This plays well, the hits feel tough and it's just enjoyable if you're a fan of the sport. I'm very tough on this series as I've played the sport my whole life and recall being a young kid getting the NHL game ever year so this release does matter.
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NHL 19 Review on Xbox One X
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