NHL 18 EA Sports’ hockey series aims for better stick skills PS4 • Xbox One 1 to 4-Player Sports (12-Player Online) » Platform » Style » Publisher EA Sports » Developer September 15 EA Canada » Release B lessed by an infusion of genera-tional talents like Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, and Patrik Laine in recent years, the skill level has never been higher in the NHL. These young phenoms dominate the nightly highlight reels, but many of these one-handed dekes, between-the-legs assists, and back-handed toe drags were not pos-sible in EA Canada’s NHL series. “A lot of the stuff we’re seeing on a nightly basis right now, if we would have tried to put that stuff in our game two-to-three years ago our core fans would have said, ‘This is so arcadey,’” says producer Sean Ramjagsingh. “Now we’re seeing that stuff every single night.” To match those performances, NHL 18 introduces a new suite of creative dekes, as well as refined controls that let you string together various stickhandling moves much more quickly than last year. Giving attackers these new capabilities necessitates the creation of defensive counters, which come with the reintro-duction of the defensive skill stick. Now defenders can hold out and sweep their sticks to take away passing lanes and cut down on the free ice in front of rush-ing puck handlers. previews The new offensive tools take center stage in the new Threes mode, an arcade experience that takes place on a rink 75-percent the size of a regula-tion NHL rink. This fast-paced arcade experience offers a circuit based cam-paign mode, as well as online versus competitions. Outside of this new mode, EA Canada also leverages the work it’s done to bring 3v3 hockey to life by adopting 3v3 overtime rules in franchise mode, as well as giving EASHL teams the option of playing 3v3 games when they have a hard time filling out a team for the 6v6 games.