NHL 14, the next, soon-to-be-released iteration in EA Sports’ venerable and award-winning hockey franchise has done away with its popular Be a Pro mode, but in name only. Taking its place is the brand new Live the Life option, which still allows armchair superstars to create a fledgling skater and take him through the ranks, but includes extras that we haven’t seen before. Interesting things, like being able to talk to the media after games, as well as the opportunity to engage with teammates in non-competitive surroundings. Choices made, including which lines of dialogue you choose to use while describing your performances, will affect said player’s ratings and popularity, adding some much needed realistic strategy to the experience. Of course, as in real life, poor performances and negative off-ice choices can lead to a trade or demotion, as is proven in the mode’s reveal trailer.
Going further, it’s also been confirmed that endorsement deals come with popularity, rewarding folks for being professional and performing well on the ice. Expectedly, the noted sponsorship opportunities (billboards, magazine covers and video game covers, for example) will boost one’s digital bank account, while providing the league with another marketable asset.
Although sports are games of skill and mental toughness, one must manage more than just his on the field (or on the ice as it pertains to the NHL) presence in order to be successful. In fact, being a role model is just as important, and it’s nice to see that EA Canada put thought into how they could not only advance one of their most popular modes, but also the ways in which they could make gamers think like the role models that their digitized players would need to be in real life. Plus, it all ties in well with the fans’ chosen cover athlete, Marty Brodeur, who’s a class act.
NHL 14 will lace up its skates on September 10.