Lace 'em up and hit the ice with the best looking - and best playing – hockey game on your console. Totally redesigned player models with authentic gear and improved AI will let you recognize the player you just cross-checked into the boards as his teammates swoop across the ice to steal the puck as you. Deke out the defender while passing to one of your wingers or try to get a shot on goal against the improved, instinctive AI of the goalie who'll come out and challenge or make butterfly saves.
Rather than button mashing, execute these maneuvers with finesse. The default Pro Stick control mechanic has you moving and hitting like a pro with one analog stick for movement and the other for precision stickwork. Maneuver your player and your stick to keep the puck away from the opposing team and set up for a pass or a full slap shot.
The new face-off system lets you control exactly where your stick will be before the puck is dropped – but watch out for tie-ups. The deep franchise mode has you managing the back-office aspects of the team including negotiating with free agents and growing rookie players into elite, veterans. Up to four local players can play competitively or cooperatively – in regular matches, pond hockey and party games or, you can take your team online to challenge others and keep your edge as sharp as your skates.