A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that NHL 12 is a hockey simulation game that has some violence (more violence than previous versions), including the option to engage in a fist fight with another NHL player. From a first-person view, you can punch the other player in the face. Those who play online can talk with others (strangers). The game also has a lot of branding. For the first time, you can design and play with female players.
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What's it about?
Rabid hockey fans who simply can't wait until the 2011-12 season to start the second week of October can get a taste of their favorite sport now in the new NHL 12 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. As with past years, gamers can play as or against their favorite team and lead them to the coveted Stanley Cup. Alternatively, you can create a player from scratch and master everything from skating, passing, and shooting to deking, hitting, and fighting. The game is meant to recreate the speed, skill, and drama of professional hockey, plus this year EA Sports has ramped up the overall presentation and intensity of the action. Along with multiplayer options for head-to-head games in front of the same television or online, this year's game adds some of the NHL's greatest living legends -- including Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux -- as well as the introduction of the NHL Winter Classic, the league's outdoor hockey spectacular held on New Year's Day in Pittsburgh.
Is it any good?
While EA Sports' claim of more than 300 gameplay improvements sounds a little high –- not to mention there's some awkward animation in the cut-scene sequences and somewhat confusing menus -- NHL 12 is one of the better offerings in recent memory. Why? The game is both fast and fierce, includes many different modes to sink your skates into, and the new control nuances, smarter player artificial intelligence (A.I.),and a better physics engine (for more believable hits) all make for a feature-packed hockey experience. The new "Be a Legend" mode is a highlight as you can take NHL greats from history and put them in the game today -- including nine former NHL legends, such as The Great One, Wayne Gretzky. The "Be a Pro" mode is just as deep as last year's game as you work your way up from the minors to the big league. Or you can play a single match, playoff game, or entire season, or challenge friends beside you or online via the matchmaking system. Hockey fans who love video games won't be disappointed in NHL 12.
Note: Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version of the game are the same.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether other platforms should get this game, such as the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Sony PSP and PC. These platforms have been supported in the past, but aren't any longer; the computer version was dropped after NHL 09, while the Nintendo Wii now has the more arcade-like NHL Slapshot.
How do you feel about punching another player in the face? What is the impact of media violence on you?
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