NHL 18

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
NHL 18 Game Poster Image
New hockey installment bangs boards with new modes.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 5+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Encourages competition, showcases team sports, but sport is violent, allows fistfights, body checks, and bone-rattling hits.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There is no single protagonist who serves as a role model. Players look like their real-life counterparts, so if they're a positive role model in real life, it can be argued the same applies in the game; the opposite is true, too.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn.


While players wear protective gear, gamers can slam into opposing characters, sandwich them against boards, engage in fistfights. When this happens, camera focuses on two players, action becomes a brawling mini-game of sorts.


Lots of ads scattered around just like in real hockey arenas. Brands include Bauer, CCM, Reebok, EA Sports, GameStop, Honda, Tim Hortons, Gatorade, more. NBC returns as a broadcast sponsor, with broadcast graphics, sounds. Supports optional pay elements, like card collecting in Ultimate Team mode.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that NHL 18 is a sports game that's a hockey simulation. It can be mildly violent at times, such as body checking someone into the boards or engaging in a fistfight on the ice. If you're OK with your kids watching NHL games on television or in person, then you'll likely be OK with them playing this sports game, though the difference is that they're the ones doing the hitting in this game. Online gameplay is unmoderated, so players can be exposed to inappropriate content. There's also a large amount of product branding found prominently across the entire game, and players can use real money to pay for additional downloadable content.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 13 years old Written bySk33t5 December 9, 2020

Truly an Amazing Game

This one of My most Favorite Games of All time. Game play is great and easy to understand and control. Great for young people to understand hockey, managing a... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bykalen2233 May 10, 2018

Best Game Ever Created!!!

This is a perfect game for almost everyone! The only reason why i recommend it 5 years and up is because the fighting. The fighting could dcare kids under 5. Ov... Continue reading

What's it about?

NHL 18 lets you play as or against your favorite National Hockey League team -- and now it includes the Vegas Golden Knights expansion team, new arenas (including T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas), and locations in Scandinavia, Russia, and western Europe. You can choose whether you want to play against the game's artificial intelligence, against someone beside you, or online. EA Sports has also brought back its EA SPORTS Hockey League (EASHL), but instead of five-on-five players, you can choose to play three-on-three, opening up more ice for you and your teammates to get creative. On a related note, EA Sports added NHL Threes, a faster-paced and more arcade-like experience that lets you choose to play online or offline, co-op or competitive, and with a full single-player campaign mode where you compete in a circuit-style tourney against other teams (and unlock objective-based rewards along the way, like new teammates, jerseys, logos, and more). Franchise mode is also back, but with a new feature called Expansion Draft, where you can create and draft a 32nd NHL team, allowing you to select the best players from the league, build a roster, and shake up the league. Run an authentic expansion draft where you select the best players from across the league, build a unique roster, and create an arena, a jersey, a logo, and a mascot. EA Sports has added new moves this time around, such as offensive and defensive maneuvers like "deke" moves, heel drags, poke checks, and even the ability to string some deke combos together.

Is it any good?

This hockey game is great fun, but even with all the new features, it doesn't feel radically different from last year's game. When it comes to all sports games, some years are better than others, and yes, NHL 18 is as good as it gets, with a main new mode, some extra moves, and extra on-ice training for newbies. But if you laid down $60 last year, you might want to try NHL 18 at a friend's house or at a store first to see if the new content justifies the purchase.

While there are new tweaks to the EASHL, Draft Champions and Be-A-Pro mode, and it has a deeper franchise experience, NHL 18's most newsworthy feature is NHL Threes, the arcade-like three-versus-three game mode that allows for faster action, bigger hits, dramatic shots on goal, and fun additions like special "money pucks" that let you gain an edge on the rival team. Along with co-op and competitive options, there are unlockable arenas, new announcers, mascots, and other goodies here. Visually, the game is better than last year's offering, but not by much. In fact, there may be fewer between-period visual extras, such as replays, unique crowd shots, and so on. In short, there are some improvements to NHL 18, but don't expect to be body-checked by them. But you shouldn't be disappointed, either. It's a heck of a hockey game with a ton of modes and options to keep you entertained all year round.

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? Is that just part of sports today?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

Themes & Topics

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