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These Are The Best New Features Of NHL 23

The latest entry in EA's long running hockey series just released with the launch of "NHL 23." The game has received generally positive reviews so far with praise for its gameplay improvements and tutorial messages that make it easy for newcomers to dive into the action. The consensus appears to be that "NHL 23" will be familiar and fun for those who already love the series with the one big criticism being that not much has changed and the game, while still great, just doesn't depart much from its predecessor.

That doesn't mean that there's nothing new to enjoy in the game. It will mostly be familiar to veterans of the series but there are some new features that help keep the game fresh and move the series forward. While not revolutionary, the new stuff may be just enough to shake things up while satisfying those who already liked the core gameplay.

For those who are wondering if "NHL 23" is for them or if it's best to just stick with last year's model, the new features could be the deciding factor. For those fans, it could be helpful to carefully review the best of the updates that EA introduced to the franchise.

The big changes

"NHL 23" does bring a few major changes to the franchise that should excite longtime fans. First and foremost, cross-platform play is possible for the first time in the history of the franchise. While limited to consoles of the same generation (PS5 gamers can only play against Xbox Series X/S players for example), it's still a big step for the franchise and should make online competition much more open and inclusive.

Another big change, as listed on the game's features page, is the inclusion of women players in Hockey Ultimate Team. For the first time, players can craft the perfect coed team by bringing in players from the International Ice Hockey Federation.

With a major online competitive mode getting a whole bunch of new players and online play being expanded in general with cross-platform play, fans of the multiplayer aspects of the "NHL" series should have plenty to be excited about. This promises to be the biggest iteration of the experience to date.

The smaller stuff

Some new features aren't exactly game-changing but they should still be welcome as great updates and quality-of-life improvements. First, "NHL 23" should offer more exciting visuals, with the introduction of on-ice projections to game openings that should deliver a more authentic start to the action. The authenticity should be further enhanced with changes to crowd reactions. EA has overhauled the crowd simulation algorithm to make fans in the stands feel more real as they react to what's happening on the ice. Finally, players can make their teams stand out by customizing celebrations, making each team look unique in victory.

In addition to the visual improvements, there are also enhancements to gameplay. "Last chance puck movement" is being added to the game, giving players the opportunity to make a last-ditch effort to score a goal in difficult circumstances.

On the subject of fancy stickwork, EA has also added "the Zegras" to the game for the first time (via ESPN). In addition to making him one of the cover athletes for the game, EA has also brought Trevor Zegras' signature move into the series. This fancy assist is based on a lacrosse move and involves flipping the puck over the back of the goal for another player to shoot it in. Fans have been trying to recreate this move since "NHL 22" and now it's officially possible.

In addition to the big changes, these minor features should make the game worth picking up even for those already quite familiar with the series.