NHL 19 Review

NHL 19 Review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

I think it might be my favorite hockey game after spending time with NHL 19, exploring its different modes and customization options. NHL 19 is my favorite sports game, period. The game uses the same engine as Madden and FIFA, has a great presentation and atmosphere, and the players look exactly like they should.

NHL 19 is appealing due to its accessibility. It isn’t necessary to keep up with every episode to enjoy the series right away. Choosing a playstyle based on your own skill level is the first thing you are asked to do. What is your skill level? You can play NHL 19 with an NHL 94 control set and a simplified ruleset. Feel like showing off your puck-handling skills? You can use the skill stick option to do so. This is how hybrid control works. Everyone can play NHL 19 no matter their skill level, which is awesome.

Likewise, the commentary has improved over last year, so it does not repeat as often. In addition, it is responsive to the on-ice action as well. The menu system lets you pin your favorite games, and a decent soundtrack, along with the ability to pin your favorite modes, adds up to a wonderful experience.

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NHL 19 Review

There is an amazing amount of choice, from a generous number of game modes (both online and offline) to a dizzying array of creative options. Although you can only choose from premade faces, I am impressed with how thoroughly you can customize your custom players, including authentic hockey-player mullets.

However, it gets much more granular than that, right down to the color of your skate laces and the tape on your stick, which can be adjusted independently for the shaft and the blade. There are many customization options locked behind tasks and challenges, but they aren’t prohibitively hard, so unlocking them is a pleasure rather than a chore.

There are so many options, you can pretty much guarantee no two players will be alike. There is more than one mode that requires a custom-made hockey player, but annoyingly, you can’t use the same one for both.

In terms of online modes, EA Sports Ones is my least favorite.


I still prefer EA Sports Ones over Drop-in Threes and EASHL league mode among the excellent online modes. In a free-for-all, players battle a CPU-controlled goalie on a frozen pond. This is a fast-paced, arcade-style online mode in which you can be as dirty as you want.

During the match, I waited for my opponents to tie up so I could skate at them at top speed to throw a body check that would have thrown me off the ice otherwise. I was smiling throughout every match-up, and it was some of the most fun I’ve had in a hockey game. There seems to be a lot of potential for One’s mode to be a great local game matchup, so it’s unfortunate that it’s only available for online play.

While NHL Threes features an arcade-style, it can be played in single-player or local co-op as well as online. Threes retains the same ridiculousness as last year, including arcade-style gameplay and unlockable mascots. It still maintains the fast, fun, and solid gameplay of NHL 19, even when it looks delightfully absurd.

Cool Runnings


This year’s NHL 19 features a comprehensive training mode that teaches you every move, from basic passing and shooting to advanced, ridiculous through-the-legs tricks. During gameplay, an adaptive hint system lets you know how and when to execute certain moves, covering possibilities not covered in the training mode. To end my one-game losing streak, I need to put in some serious training time.

Once again, Hockey Ultimate Team is here, and it’s nothing new. Microtransactions and the pricing scheme do not appeal to me. Similar to NBA Live 19, the prices of new packs are way out of line with the value of the points. I would rather spend my own money purchasing packs than redeeming points.

Having said that, I’m glad the damage they do is restricted to this mode. I must commend EA for letting you earn card packs in Ultimate Team, especially if you’ve played an EA NHL game before-you get a good collection of packs right out of the gate as a reward for your loyalty. The Tim Horton’s was even included in one of my free packs, which is a nice touch.

My favorite part of Franchise mode was creating a rebirth of the Hartford Whalers as an NHL expansion team. As a result, I was afraid to go any further without creating a spreadsheet to keep track of everything. Stadium parking, seats, salary caps, and a whole lot more are all part of the experience of setting up the NHL expansion franchise. Although I won’t be spending most of my NHL 19 playing it, I appreciate the fantastic and intimidating depth here.

My favorite way to play straight hockey is in the Be a Pro career mode. NHL 19 gave me the choice to start out in the Canadian Hockey League and work my way up, or skip it entirely and head straight to the NHL Draft. The shortcuts like that and the option of simulating games based on team and player attributes if you don’t want to play lopsided games keep things moving along nicely, and I still felt like I earned my spot in the rookie class by playing the contentious games.


NHL 19 shows you can have your cake and eat it too. The game has a complex, sim-heavy franchise mode, a fun, fast, silly arcade mode, and everything in between. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, you’ll find a style here suitable for you. When I played NHL 19, I was able to find a game mode to match any mood I was in at the time. The action on the ice feels excellent, and there’s just so much to do in NHL 19.

It is no longer necessary to ask “where did all the arcade-style sports games go?” since NHL 19 collects them into one entertaining package. Despite their differences in tone, the modes maintain excellence throughout.