For someone that has bought and played every iteration of the EA Sports NHL series over the last twenty years, it is very rare to find a new game mode that works and makes sense right out of the gate. Last year saw the addition of the ‘GM Connected’ mode which never really worked that well and NHL Moments Live which was cool but missed the mark a little with a lack of detail on the classic teams.
In this years iteration, which marks the twentieth anniversary for the franchise, NHL 14 is adding a new mode that builds off of the ‘Be a Pro’ mode called ‘Live the Life’ mode. As with the Be a Pro mode, you will take your created player and raise him up from the minors and the Memorial Cup all the way to the NHL where you will one day hoist the Stanley Cup as one of the greatest players in the game. The wrinkle added this year is that you will be able to control what your player says and does off the ice, whether through how he acts towards teammates, what he says to the media or how he performs on-ice. All of these factors will reflect in your players likability with fans, teammates, family and management which will affect your players rating as well as endorsement offers and media exposure.
Judging by the trailer, the mode looks fairly bare-boned, with most of what is happening occurring in a dialogue heavy menu, but it is a neat idea that should continue to evolve over the next generation of NHL games so that one day you too can be like Patrick Kane. While the new mode offers incentives to play the game properly, it should be noted that everyone should do at least one run-through of the game pretending to be Sean Avery or Tim Thomas.
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