In all the hubub and excitement of NHL Media Week, one of EA Sports’s smaller announcements has flown under the radar. Yes, to match this year’s release of NHL 15 featuring Perfect Patrice Bergeron, they are releasing an experimental title under the CWHL flag.
The gameplay is understandably a little different from NHL 15, and it’s got some unique features, so let’s go through what the game has to offer, shall we?
A note on the cover: naturally, all of the male fans who are unable to appreciate a player’s skills as much as they appreciate their bodies, aka “puckbros”, voted to have a photo of Hilary Knight from her body issue photoshoot. While that would certainly fit the video game industry’s MO when it comes to portraying women, we thought it wouldn’t be representative of the game as a whole.
Commentating by Mike Emrick (only available on Olympic gameplay), Cassie Campbell, and Kenny Albert. Also some special commentating by college broadcasters you’ve never heard of and are just in it “for the experience” because they sure as shit aren’t getting paid.
Reduced hits as compared to NHL 15. There’s a little tracker over the player so you know if the ref is looking. When the indicator is green, feel free to bodycheck that member of the Furies.
Linebrawl toggle allows you to turn off fighting on and off. Any USA-Canada games not played in Olympic Mode will automatically have this turned on.
National Teams will be available, meaning if you want, you can play as the Mexican women’s ice hockey team.
Olympic Mode including the tournament format, where you can pick one national team to play as for the entirety of the simulated Olympics. Between rounds, there will be the traditional discussion of whether women’s ice hockey is worth following when the same two teams win every time. If you don’t play as Canada or the US, you must really like to lose.
And of course, Live the Life Mode, where you can experience the life of a CWHL player. You start as a college player, choose which college you want to have, and must complete homework assignments (minigames) in order to remain on the team. The better you do in college, the higher your draft number will be. Once you are drafted to a CWHL team, you have your choice of part-time job so you can afford training and equipment: barista, hockey coach, pizza delivery (a fun driving minigame!), or selling different sports products.
This is where the budgeting aspect of the game comes in. At the start of each “season” there is a certain amount of money your player will need to buy food, pay for equipment, etc. The more you level up your character in skill, the more money she will be able to make appearing at camps or advertising. Once you reach the top skill level, your character may be invited to practice with or play in an exhibition game for an NHL team. Completing this assignment does not win you any bonuses, any money, or any advancement in the game.
All proceeds of the game go to actually paying the women in the CWHL.