The NHL 13 cover, featuring Claude Giroux.
|Genre(s)||Sports (ice hockey)|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, Multiplayer, Online multiplayer|
NHL 13 is an ice hockey video game developed by EA Canada published by EA Sports. It is the 22nd installment of the NHL series and was released on September 11, 2012 in North America, and on September 13, 2012 in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The game was released on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, featuring Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux on the cover. The game was featured at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2012, which took place between June 5–7, 2012. The demo of the game was released on August 21–22, 2012, at the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Store.
There was a vote deciding which player would be on the NHL 13 cover. Anybody could vote on the player(s) they wished to see on the cover of the game. The vote started on March 29, 2012 with 60 NHL players in a single-elimination voting with two players in each match-up, and was closed on June 4, receiving over 25 million votes worldwide. On June 20, Claude Giroux was named the winner, over Pekka Rinne at the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.
An exclusive "Stanley Cup Collector's Edition" was also released, apart from the actual NHL 13 game. The Collector's Edition includes five random Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) player packs from the two 2012 Stanley Cup Finals teams; a Gold Jumbo HUT pack including legend Wayne Gretzky; and a boost pack featuring the CCM RBZ stick.
This year, for the first time, two playable female characters, Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero have been added. In NHL 12, users could create female characters, but there were no real-life players.
Claude Giroux, forward and, at the time, alternate captain of the Philadelphia Flyers, was named the official cover athlete of NHL 13 on June 20, 2012. The cover athlete was announced after a public vote which had been going on for over two months on the Internet.
Giroux became the first Philadelphia Flyer to appear on an EA Sports NHL video game cover since Eric Lindros in NHL 99, as well as the first Philadelphia Flyer to appear on any ice hockey video game cover since Jeremy Roenick on ESPN NHL Hockey in 2003. With this, the Philadelphia Flyers have more cover athletes than any other team.
- EA Sports Hockey IQ (AI): Makes CPU-controlled players and teammates smarter by reacting to everything on the ice, not just what they see in front of them. Skaters will be more easily able to prevent scoring opportunities. For goaltenders, Hockey IQ opens up for a lot of new different types of desperation saves as they are better able to identify "potential" scoring threats. As part of Hockey IQ, there are over five times as many strategy options in NHL 13 compared to previous titles of the current generation of the NHL series to replicate the real-life plays in the National Hockey League (NHL). Also, players can now develop their own plays and implement them for the computer AI in gameplay. According to Dean Richards, general manager of the NHL series, the development team spent more time on the AI development in NHL 13 than in the past three years combined.
- True Performance Skating, a new skating engine based on physics, makes the player skating more dynamic and realistic with over 1,000 new animations created using motion capture. The engine is divided into three parts: explosiveness, top-end speed, and momentum. Explosiveness refers to how quickly a player can accelerate when gliding, being in a stationary state or how far a player can skate quickly. Top-end speed means that the players can skate as quickly as in real-life in their top speeds. Momentum is part of the physics; for example, a player skating at top speed may not turn around as quickly when carrying the puck as compared to when skating at normal speed or just gliding. Also, a player skating at top speed has his shooting and passing accuracies decreased. Momentum also means that players have a harder time recovering from mistakes. The new animations, combined with the Skill Stick features, allow for a lot of new plays and dekes that can be pulled off. True Performance Skating is taglined "Every Stride Matters".
- Improved rating system: In NHL 12, each player's overall rating is based on that player's role in the team (playmaker, enforcer, defensive defenceman etc.). In NHL 13, however, the player's overall rating is based on that player's skill in their position (i.e. forward, defenceman, or goaltender). For example, in NHL 12, George Parros (at that time playing for the Anaheim Ducks) was rated 81 overall (out of 99) based on his role as an enforcer. In NHL 13, Parros' overall rating has been lowered down to 69 as determined by his skill as a forward. EA Sports stated that this was "a fan-requested change". Based on their attribute values, the players are now also given 5-star ratings for these six categories: shooting, puck skills, senses, skating, physical, and defense. Further, the teams' overall ratings for offense, defense and goaltending are now also 5-star based ratings instead of out-of-100 ones.
- Team First Presentation aims to make the in-game experience more authentic than previously. Team-specific presentations for the NHL teams have been added, and it's also possible to manually customize the experience.
- GM Connected: Allows players to play in online Be a GM leagues with human-controlled teams. Players can keep track of what's happening in their league with a mobile app.
- NHL Moments Live: taglined "Can you recreate history?", this mode allows players to re-play and re-live great moments from the 2011–12 NHL season. In addition, new moments will be uploaded as the 2012–13 NHL season progresses.
- Hockey Ultimate Team: The design of HUT has been revamped, the reward system improved and a new playoff format for HUT has been added. New features for player-card collections have been added to make it easier to create a HUT team.
- All new GM Brain: Revamped Trade logic between AI GMs and users.
- EA Sports Hockey League remains in the game and features like club captains and improved matchmaking have been added.
- Be a Pro: Players are now able to demand a trade from their teams. Once the user demands a trade, their GM will evaluate the player's performance and place the user on the trading block. Players can also choose to retire at any given point at their career.
- Refined goalie controls: In previous games of the current NHL generation, the right stick was used to make a manual save. In NHL 13 the right stick is now used to anticipate a save instead of actually attempting to make a save.
Leagues and teams
NHL 13 includes seven professional leagues: the National Hockey League (NHL), American Hockey League (AHL), Czech Extraliga (ELH), SM-liiga, Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL), Elitserien (SEL), and National League A (NLA). The Canadian Hockey League is also included, which comprises the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and Western Hockey League (WHL). The leagues in NHL 13 are the same as in NHL 12.
As part of the NHL, Team Chara and Team Alfredsson from the 2012 All-Star Game are included. New legends have also been added to the "Legends" team, which consists of several former NHL star players as well as current ones. "Team White" and "Team Red" from the 2012 CHL Top Prospects Game are included as well.
No license for the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) means that the international teams' jerseys aren't of official design, nor are there any official IIHF tournaments such as the World Championships.
Rögle BK replaced Djurgårdens IF in the SEL, due to the 2012 Kvalserien. Piráti Chomutov replaced BK Mladá Boleslav in the Czech ELH, due to the "Baráž o Extraligu 2012". The Mississauga St. Michael's Majors of the OHL were renamed the Mississauga Steelheads. The QMJHL welcomed the Sherbrooke Phoenix, one year after disbanding the Lewiston Maineiacs.
Initially the 2012 Winter Classic jerseys only worked in the 2012 Winter Classic mode, but that was fixed and players can now play in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Philadelphia, PA. The Winter Classic jerseys for the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are now available in other game modes.
Players who do not participate in the official leagues in NHL 13, do not participate in the national teams either. The rest of the rosters are created by the game creators.
The NHL 13 soundtrack, featuring a total of sixteen songs, was officially revealed on August 30, 2012.
The NHL 13 demo was released at the Xbox Live Marketplace and the PlayStation Store (PSN) on August 21, 2012. However, in Europe the demo appeared at PSN the following day. The demo features four modes: Play Now, Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT), NHL Moments Live, and Free Skate. The latter two are new additions to the NHL 13 demo, replacing the Be a Pro mode in the NHL 12 demo. Play Now features a five-minute third period between the two 2012 Stanley Cup Finals contenders Los Angeles Kings and the New Jersey Devils, where the first two periods of the game have already been simulated. The HUT mode allows players to create their own fantasy team based on a starter pack of player cards and put the team in a playoff tournament. In NHL Moments Live, players can re-play the overtime period of Game 5 of the 2012 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes (the Kings won the game 4–3 and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals); the goal is to score the series-clinching goal with the Kings. Free Skate allows players to practice their skills on-ice with Anže Kopitar of the Kings.
The demo includes three HUT Item Packs that players can earn and use in the retail version of NHL 13. One can be earned by winning the demo moment in NHL Moments Live; another one can be found in the HUT mode by defeating Team USA and winning the playoff tournament; and a third one can be obtained by inviting a friend to play the NHL 13 demo.
NHL 13 received positive reviews. GameSpot game NHL 13 an 8/10. IGN gave NHL 13 an 8.5/10 categorizing it as "Great". GameInformer magazine was on the same page as GameSpot and gave NHL 13 an 8/10.
NHL 13, like many of the other games in the series, includes a season game mode, playoffs, practice, GM Connected, Be a Pro, Hockey Ultimate Team, NHL Moments Live, and EASports Hockey League. If playing on Xbox 360 Xbox Live may be required to access some of these game modes.
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