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 16 is a hockey simulation. It looks, sounds, and plays like the real National Hockey League. For the most part, it's a game appropriate for most players -- but, as in the real sport, some games can include fighting between two players. Parents should be aware that the game features a ton of product placement for well-known brands on both the athlete's uniform and the rink. Also, be aware that those who play online can talk freely with each other, exposing them to potential inappropriate content.
What's it about?
NHL 16 lets you play as or against your favorite NHL team, while adding a number of solo and multiplayer features to provide more breadth and depth. Along with many new modes to sink your skates into, this includes new skating mechanics and controls, a new progression system, improved graphics and animation, and better commentary to get you pumped up while you play. This game also marks the 25th installment of the NHL series.
Is it any good?
Despite a few bugs and missing features at launch (fixed with a downloadable patch), this is a fun and frantic hockey sim that delivers the goods. Along with more fluid and intuitive controls, single-player tweaks include new modes and numerous enhancements to the Be a Pro and Be a GM modes. Multiplayer also has been bolstered considerably with a new six-vs.-six Online Team Play (or Online Couch Co-op) mode. The EA Sports Hockey League (EASHL) has been reimagined as well, with specialized player classes, better balancing, and drop-in support (with friend invitations) and player badges with the Day 1 patch.
Also added with the downloadable update: an online and offline Shootout mode, team practices, new arenas, and rules options. This version even includes a new on-ice trainer that helps you master the game, as well as new visuals (which look fantastic) and better sound than in previous games, which helps with the overall immersion factor. You’ll want to hit the ice with NHL 16 -- especially if you haven’t played an NHL game in a while.
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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.