PS4 • Xbox One Refine the NHL experience with new dekes for high-end players and the return of the defensive skill stick 8 » Concept The game still lacks way too many player likenesses, which is always jarring when the broadcast zooms in on a player after whistles The new NHL Threes announcer challenges NBA Jam’s Tim Kitzrow in all the right ways, and having more Ray Ferraro commentary during broadcasts is welcome » Graphics » Sound » Playability The defensive skill stick makes positional defensive strategies more viable, and the new high-end dekes are well implemented. The major areas that still need refinement are puck pickups and player movement in small spaces Whether you want to play on the couch with buddies, grind for cards in Hockey Ultimate Team, compete online, or build a new dynasty in Franchise mode, NHL 18 mostly delivers NHL 18 Digging deep to earn its keep Style 1 to 4-Player Sports (12-Player Online) Publisher EA Sports Developer EA Canada Release September 15 Rating E10+ » Entertainment » Replay Value High S peed and skill are a given in the modern NHL, but those traits alone don’t anoint Stanley Cup cham-pions. Beating the best in the world takes more than tape-to-tape passes and wicked slappers. The little things like short shifts, always back checking, and never giving up on a free puck can make the difference when the skill gaps are marginal. EA Sports’ NHL 18 may not have the cutting-edge features and talents of its FIFA and Madden brethren, but this year’s edition starts doing a lot of the little things correctly, which results reviews in a more competitive experience. Competition intensifies on the ice thanks to the new bag of tricks devel-oper EA Canada gives to attackers and defenders. On the rush, puck carries can unleash several new deke moves to gain separation and tickle the twine.