STAFF REVIEW of NHL 24 (Xbox One)

Friday, October 6, 2023.
by Chad Goodmurphy

NHL 24 Box art The sun will soon rise on another season of National Hockey League play, and with it will come the dreams of many fans. It’s that time of year where the ice is fresh, the standings are wiped clean and things begin anew.

To complement the above, and to please us fans, EA Sports has developed and released another complementary hockey simulation game, with this one having been aptly titled NHL 24. It’s coming out a bit later than they used to, but is still in time for the start of the new regular season. In fact, it’s slightly early on that front.

With Colorado Avalanche star defenceman, Cale Makar, handling cover athlete duties this time around, NHL 24 promises the best form of interactive hockey yet. Does it achieve this goal? Yes and no. The result is a good, but flawed game that takes a step back from last year’s title in at least one way.

Recently, this series made a big jump by moving from one engine to another, with the latter being EA’s Frostbite Engine. The result was a more realistic feeling experience, but one that still felt like those that came before it in all of the right ways. This time, the game is running on what they call the Exhaust Engine, which is said to allow for even better physics and core gameplay elements. Unfortunately this change hasn’t been for the best, despite the improvements made last time around.

With the Exhaust Engine’s “complete revamp of the CHEL experience” comes gameplay that rewards you for spending extended time in the opposing zone. It also ushers forth a revamped, physics-based contact system, which is what I had some issues with. Why is that? Well, hitting seems to have been nerfed. It’s now a lot harder to actually hit another player, and the collisions just aren’t what they used to be. While I maybe abused big hits in the past, I’ve found it difficult to pull many off in this year’s iteration. I’d get decreasing their severity, or slightly decreasing the likelihood of a big hit, but making it so that most hits end up just being bumps is taking things too far.

During my time with this game thus far, I’ve seen a couple of big hits but one was done against me. It was replayed multiple times, which means it was a big part of that game. Meanwhile, I can’t get much going at all. I’ve also been missing players I’ve targeted for hits, leading to odd man rushes against. This is detrimental, especially to the way I’ve always played these games. You can say that hitting isn’t what it used to be, in terms of the real life game, and I’d agree wholeheartedly. It’s still a notable part of the National Hockey League product, though, and is a way to turn the tide and build momentum. We didn’t need so many big hits leading to fights, but there could’ve been a happier medium here.

Still, despite this issue, NHL 24 remains a good hockey game. It’s just been difficult to get used to.

Also new this year is a one-touch passing and special move mechanic, which is introduced as a brand new control set-up. Don’t worry, though, as it doesn’t replace the incredible skill stick or anything we’re used to. Instead, it adds the four face buttons (A, B, X and Y) as options when you go to pass or want to pull off a special move. Just pressing their corresponding button will cause your player to pass it to his target, though there’s no promises said pass will actually connect. This is hockey, after all, and passes are often blocked or picked off.

Moving on, I believe it was last year that EA Canada touted how their goalies were more reactionary and more lifelike, which allowed them to make some pretty impressive last-ditch effort saves. I feel like this has taken a step forward this time around, as I’ve noticed some pretty incredible goaltending efforts so far. In fact, it’s seemingly harder to actually score. My patented move of coming from the side and taking a snap shot into the top corner has been more difficult to score on, as have cross-crease one-timers. This might be a good thing though, especially if it limits the amount glitch goal one-timers that occur online. Then again, people will likely just find another glitch goal, as there always seems to be one. Then again, maybe not.

Of course, NHL 24 also comes packed with all of the expected modes. There’s the online/offline hook of Hockey Ultimate Team, which has you building a team out of collected or purchased cards. Then, there’s Be a Pro, which allows you to create a player and play as him throughout his entire career, from his rookie year on to retirement. Complementing those are the ability to run your own team and make the big decisions, exhibition play, a shootout mode, playoffs, and the online suite. The latter includes the ability to play one-on-one, EASHL with its teams of multiple players, and both Ones and Threes, which make things more ‘arcadey.’ There’s no lack of modes or gameplay options herein.

The online play is mostly the same as before, and runs really well. Now that I have good internet, I’m not getting the lag that I used to. I guess it was my internet after all.

One thing that must be talked about, though, is the inclusion of crossplay. Through it, fans will be able to play with friends on other consoles for the first time in series history. This doesn’t mean that an Xbox Series X can play with an Xbox One, though, because each version of the game is separate. This option is simply limited to Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, as well as Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It’s crossplay, but it’s not cross-generational.

Lastly, there’s one other change in store for those who purchase NHL 24. You may already know what we’re talking about but, if not you should know that Ray Ferraro has departed the franchise, outside of some pre-recorded lines that play during Be a Pro radio segments and whatnot. In his place is a new colour commentator, with that being Hockey Canada alumnus, Cheryl Pounder. It’s her first time at the microphone – in video game form, at least – and she does a good job. I give her credit for stepping in and doing such a solid job, but must admit that I miss Ray because he’s been my favourite commentator for years. It is what it is, though, and I welcome to the Cheryl Pounder era. She works well with James Cybulski, who returns for play-by-play duties.

In other presentation news, goal scorers are now highlighted by an ISO camera that turns goal celebrations into a cutscene. They’re flanked by their teammates, but not until after they pull of a celebration. This makes it so that it’s harder (or potentially impossible) to pick your own goal celebration, but that’s not a big loss. That mechanic started to feel old, stale and dated years ago, and was kind of cheesy. Same goes for celebrating after a fight by pressing one of the face buttons.

The rest of the game is pretty similar to what came before, though it has a different feel thanks to the updated engine, not to mention digital boards as well. Taking a page from the real-life NHL, the folks at EA Canada have implemented changing boards that display goal scorers, show ads and feature other in-game prompts as the play goes on. As a fan of the actual, real-life, digital boards, I like this. It adds to the game. I know I’m in the minority in liking them, but so be it.

The only other thing to really talk about is the soundtrack, which is fine once again. It’s full of a lot of artists and songs I’d never heard of before, but everything that played during my sessions was alright. I miss last year’s soundtrack, though, because I believe it had both Ghost and koRn – two bands I like. Then again, I’m more of a metalhead than an alternative rock or rap fan.

With all of that said and done, it’s important to note that – despite taking a step back in one area – NHL 24 has taken steps forward in others, and is a good hockey game. It will take a while to get used to the new hitting and physics mechanics, but perhaps they’ll patch those or update them next year. I can’t imagine they wanted to nerf hitting this much, or truly meant to, but who knows.

If you’re in the market for a good hockey game, NHL 24 is worth checking out. I’d recommend playing the EA Play trial first, but wouldn’t say boo about purchasing the game outright. That said, if you have NHL 23, or can get your hands on it, you may want to just stick with that. I unfortunately cannot say that this is a better game, even if it is still a good one.

**NHL 24 was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 8.3 / 10
Gameplay: 8.3 / 10
Visuals: 8.7 / 10
Sound: 8.5 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 78,033
Forum Posts: 725,964
Xbox One Titles: 5,773
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 2,511
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 16,524
Screenshots: 38,456
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

Nacon Unveils RIG 900 MAX HX

Nacon Unveils RIG 900 MAX HXLicensed for Xbox, the 900 MAX marks the pinnacle in wireless game audio, merging capabilities such as a personalized Dolby Atmos headphone experience, dual wireless connectivity with Bluetooth audio, and a seamless charging base station.

Nacon Announces New RIG 600 PRO Headset Line

Nacon Announces New RIG 600 PRO Headset LineThe RIG 600 PRO HX is officially licensed for Xbox and includes Dolby Atmos for Headphones. Gamers can experience three-dimensional precision audio by simply connecting the USB-C wireless adaptor to the Xbox console or PC.

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

KeyWe Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 20183 Views

2021: XBA is still here
Post by shrew king
37 Replies, 173969 Views

Watch Dogs: Legion
Post by Nato King
0 Replies, 110454 Views

Xbox Series X or S
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 129615 Views

Spellbreak Grand Magus Pack (3) and Starter Pack (7) Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 121235 Views

I pay $ 1000! I search the Element 54 Canadian launch Team signaturen Faceplate
Post by Smill
0 Replies, 139629 Views

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 132496 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
3 Replies, 190496 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 148328 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
7 Replies, 238556 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
3 Replies, 136618 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 235514 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 167348 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 289487 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 158068 Views

© 2000-2023 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics