NHL 15

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
NHL 15 Game Poster Image
More features would improve solid but mildly violent game.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

This game aims to replicate the National Hockey League (NHL) experience so players can hit the ice as their favorite team. It showcases team sports, and pro hockey fans can play as their idols, but hockey is definitely a contact sport that allows fistfights during games.

Positive Role Models & Representations

You don't play as a particular character unless you want to create an NHL star from scratch, so there isn't one protagonist to serve as a role model. That said, the characters look like their real-life counterparts. If they're positive role models in real life, it can be argued the same goes for the game -- but the opposite is true, too.

Ease of Play

Playing NHL 15 is quite easy thanks to intuitive console controls. One analog stick controls the hockey player's body, while the other lets you shoot and pass in a given direction. You also can use the controller face buttons to pass and shoot.

Violence

Hockey is a fast and physical sport. Although the players wear protective gear, gamers can slam into opposing characters, sandwich them against the boards, and even engage in a fistfight. When this happens, the camera focuses on the two players, and it becomes a brawling mini-game of sorts.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

The game has ads, just like real hockey arenas. They can be found on the edges of the rink, on the ice, in the stands, on the Jumbotron, or worn on the players. Brands include Honda, Tim Hortons, LG, Bauer, CCM, Reebok, EA Sports, NBC Sports, and many others. The game also will offer downloadable content, including a free update that adds missing features to the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that NHL 15 is a professional hockey simulation that can be mildly violent at times, such as when you bodycheck someone, crush other players against the boards, or get in a fistfight on the ice. But if you're OK with your kids watching NHL games on television or in person, then you'll likely be fine with them playing this. Just as in real-life games, be ready for lots of ads! Players also can engage in online play, which could subject them to inappropriate comments.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bygetb July 31, 2015

Horrid game

This is a horrid game where you have to pay to play against cheaters ea sports does nothing to fix the problem peoe should boycott nhl16
Kid, 11 years old January 3, 2015

Pretty Good

This game is really fun!
Kid, 9 years old August 19, 2015

really good!:)

I think it's pretty appropriate I so what there's some fighting and flattening people into the boards that part hockey if you're buying this game... Continue reading

What's it about?

Now available for next-generation consoles, EA Sports' NHL 15 is the most realistic hockey game to date. This is thanks to higher-resolution player models, emotional reactions, smooth animation, collision physics, "dynamic cloth" physics on players' jerseys, authentic crowds and stadiums, and a puck that behaves realistically. A partnership between EA Sports and NBC Sports also gives the game a more realistic, broadcast-like look. The sounds have been updated and include an all-new three-man commentary team, sound effects, and music. Two other features make this game stand out compared to earlier editions: a new right analog stick control scheme called Superstar Skill Stick, which gives even more control to the player, and Vision AI, an elevated level of player intelligence that has hockey players anticipating and reacting to plays. Note: Not all the features in the older consoles, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, are found in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One games, but EA Sports says they'll be added in a free download this fall.

Is it any good?

On one hand, the game looks exceptional -- especially the PlayStation 4 version -- from the player models and movement to the realistic crowds (supporting up to 9,000 individual spectator models) and broadcast-style replays. It also feels pretty good with the new control scheme, smarter AI players, and puck physics. But, although the next-generation versions benefit from added realism and presentation, the PS4 and Xbox One versions lack many of the modes found in the PS3 and Xbox 360 games, features that have been standard in previous versions.

In a blog post just before the game's release, EA Sports said that, in addition to the roster and ratings updates, free content will be added, including a Playoff Mode (allowing players to create a custom offline tournament bracket with up to 16 teams), Be A Pro - Coach Feedback (get the coach’s feedback while you're on the bench), 3 Stars of the Game (applied to every game mode), Online Team Play, GM Draft mode, and more. Hopefully bugs will be fixed, too, such as commentators saying the wrong thing and AI glitches. But, even with these shortcomings, NHL 15 surely will satiate hockey fans -- especially after the free updates are available this fall (UPDATE: EA Sports has since released two updates to address issues and add new features; details can be found here and here). It's just too bad EA Sports didn't have them ready when the game skated onto store shelves.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether it's worth it to buy an annual sports game. If the developers release a free downloadable update to account for changing team rosters, do you really need to buy one every year? Can you skip a year or two, or do the new features and better graphics justify the purchase?

  • Talk about how commercialized sports games are becoming. Is the pursuit of realistic gameplay worth the in-game commercials, ad placement, and messages that are constantly bombarding players, or is that just part of sports today?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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