NHL 23 Gameplay showcases desperation plays, AI improvements, and more

NHL 23 recently got a promotion ahead of its October launch. This was quickly followed up with a trailer for the game. A trailer showing off a number of new and modified features that should give hockey fans hope for the near future of the series.

Most sports release games annually, which means there is little time to actually improve the titles from one release to the next. Little more than a slightly better looking game with updated teams and rosters. There have to be big changes every now and then, and it feels like that time for EA’s NHL. Major changes to the game’s AI, strategies, and perhaps most of all, the addition of games of desperation (via push the box).

The Gamer video today

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The trailer below kicks off with those desperation plays, and rightfully so. When an opposing player checks your body, you’ll have a chance to do one last thing with the disc before you lose it as your player stumbles and often hits the ice. Either shoot a ball or try to pass it to one of your teammates instead of giving up possession. It shows footage of actual people simulating those hits and falls, and has been used to create over 500 different NHL 23 animations.

Sticking with the animation, AI goalkeepers will have more than 300 new goals in NHL 23 compared to last year’s game. Previously, animations were only available to human-controlled players. This means that AI goalkeepers often make strange and sometimes bizarre decisions. Hopefully there will be a lot of that in NHL 23 as goalkeepers will be in a better position more than once and have a better understanding when it comes to disc tracking.

The trailer above also takes a deep look into the strategies, something that has been in desperate need of an overhaul for a few years, as well as scrolling assistance, something EA acknowledges has improved significantly following community feedback. Unlike FIFA, EA hockey games will remain officially under the sport’s governing body. Football matches will be called EA Sports FC from 2023.

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