Tag Archives: hockey

‘Past Meets Present’ Campaign Hits NHL 21

NHL 94 Rewind hit EA Sports NHL 21 earlier this year as an awesome pre-order bonus, and now it’s available to everyone as part of the ‘Past Meets Present’ campaign. The game is available in a bundle with NHL 21 for $64.99 USD or solo for $9.99 USD, and is part of EA Play’s lineup of games. Xbox Owners with Game Pass Ultimate can find it as part of their Game Pass lineup as well, thanks to the inclusion of EA Play with that service.

‘Past Meets Present’ also brings the Reverse Retro jerseys to the game and introduces a HUT campaign based on players who influenced modern-day stars, with 80s and 90s Icons like Mario, Gretzky, and even Kirk McLean for your Canucks fans out there.

For more on the ‘Past Meets Present’ campaign, check out EA’s page on it here.

Here’s the press release:


RESPECT THE PAST, EMBRACE THE FUTURE AS EA SPORTS NHL® 21, ADIDAS AND NHL® REVEAL ‘PAST MEETS PRESENT’ CAMPAIGN 

Hockey Has Frozen in Time as NHL 21 Offers a Reintroduction to NHL 94, Reverse Retro Jerseys In-Game and a Specialized 80s-90s Focused HUT Campaign

December 3, 2020  Earlier this year, EA SPORTS NHL® 21 harkened back to the past with NHL 94 Rewind, a throwback to the fan-favorite classic NHL 94, that was made available as a pre-order bonus for NHL 21. Now, the team at EA SPORTS is continuing to bring hockey’s past forward by teaming up with adidas and the National Hockey League for the exclusive Past Meets Present campaign that reintroduces NHL 94 Rewind as part of a holiday bundle, debuts the recently revealed Reverse Retro jerseys in-game and launches a special 80s and 90s focused HUT campaign with Icons who influenced modern-day NHL stars. 

During the Past Meets Present campaign, NHL 21 will feature Reverse Retro jerseys for all 31 NHL teams, putting the specially-crafted adidas jerseys into the game beginning today. Players can don the Kachina Coyotes sweaters, Nordique-inspired Avalanche jerseys and many more, paying homage to past styles while dazzling with the modern-day arsenal of superstar-inspired moves introduced in NHL 21 this year. 

For any players that missed out on NHL 94 Rewind as a pre-order bonus, the beloved classic is now available once again through a holiday bundle, which includes both NHL 21 and NHL 94 Rewind for $64.99 USD. Players who already own NHL 21 will be able to purchase NHL 94 Rewind in-game for $9.99 USD. EA Play members will also have access to one of the greatest hockey video games of all time with NHL 94 Rewind now available on The Play List. NHL 94 Rewind features today’s teams and today’s rosters with controls and graphics from 1994.

The Past Meets Present campaign reaches Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) in the form of HUT Icons – a dozen influential players from the 80s and 90s that helped inspire today’s game. Notable HUT Icons include Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Phil Housley, Grant Fuhr and more. See how today’s superstars stack up against the HUT Icons in one of NHL 21’s most beloved modes beginning tomorrow, December 4. 

A full breakdown of the Past Meets Present campaign can be found here

EA SPORTS NHL® 21 is available worldwide on PlayStation®4 and Xbox One. To learn more about all the new features and modes included in NHL® 21, visit https://www.ea.com/games/nhl/nhl-21.

EA Play is a game membership service that gives you more from your favorite games, with exclusive rewards, member-only content and access to a library of top titles. You can learn more about EA Play here

The adidas Reverse Retro ADIZERO Authentic jerseys for all 31 NHL® teams are available now at adidas.com, adidas.ca, NHLShop.com and NHLShop.ca.

NHL ’94 Rewind Now Available…And A Blast

I’ll be honest, when EA Sports announced pre-ordering NHL 21 – read the review here – would get you NHL ’94 Rewind, a throwback to the NHL ’94 game but with today’s rosters, I thought it was a gimmick. A nice gimmick, but still a gimmick – something silly that you’d play once or twice and then forget.

Man, was I wrong.

The old-school engine has as much trouble with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins full name as NHL goaltenders have with his deceptively quick snapshot.

I mean yeah, it’s silly. The old loose controls shouldn’t be acceptable in today’s game market, and there’s basically zero depth to it…but it’s fun. Man, is it fun. I’ve had a smile on my face pretty much the entire time I’m been playing it, as I crush the pixelated Flames with the equally-pixelated Oilers.

If you played NHL ’94 back in the day, everything you remembered about it is still there. The cross-crease one-timer is king, there’s no dekes outside some side-to-side juking, and you’re going to abuse the hell out of your speed-boost button.

If you never played NHL ’94, you’re in for a treat.

That there’s no online play is really the only downer here, but keep in mind the platform this piggybacks on was built for same-screen, same-room, same-couch play with a family member or friend and 26 years later it still excels at that. It’s perfect for playing with your kids, for example, and a great lesson on how far games have come.

If you didn’t pre-order NHL 21, you’ll have to wait a bit longer to experience this nostalgic bliss. Word is it’ll be available for purchase on its own in December.

Review – EA Sports NHL 21

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins heads up ice against the Calgary Flames.

I’m not sure if EA is finally getting the message or if this is just some kind of trap 2020 is laying for fans of the EA Sports NHL franchise, but NHL 21 finally gets the kind of improvements players have wanted for years.

The skating, revamped last year with RPM Tech 2.0 to allow ‘on the fly’ puck pickups, gets subtler tweaks this year with the addition of chip and slip dekes to avoid contact either in open ice or along the boards. There must be a Crosby fan of the development team, as they’ve added the back-of-the-net bank self-pass that he uses so effectively to create room, as well as the Mohawk turn he’s been known to use to open up for cross-ice passing. In addition, Svechnikov’s lacrosse-style goal is in the game and technically possible to pull off, though I haven’t managed it yet, as is Kucherov’s ‘no move’ shootout deke.

Changes are also found on the defensive side of the puck, with AI that makes much smarter decisions about gap control, do more to challenge and limit zone entries, and there’s more dogged pursuit of the puck by opposing forwards. Goaltenders are also improved, even after the overhaul last year that saw them get over 400 new animations, with better reads on developing plays allowing them to get in position and give up less cheap goals.

There were two key things listed in my NHL 20 review that I wanted to see in NHL 21: distinctive skating strides and an overhaul of the Be A Pro mode to make it more of an RPG.

Let’s see how they did.

Distinctive skating strides? Not only did that make it in, but your created players can have their own custom-made stride thanks to a toolset that includes the ability to change your body angle, your stride style, your arm movement – the whole nine years. Expect to see some truly horrific skating styles come out of that tool.

What about overhauling Be A Pro into a ‘live the life of an NHL player’ mode with RPG-like choices and repercussions? It’s all that and more. Not only does Be A Pro now feature conversational dialogue choices with your ownership, coaches, teammates, and media, but there are also luxury items you can buy using your salary to give yourself permanent or temporary stat boosts.

Connor McDavid versus three Calgary Flames defenders doesn’t seem like a fair fight thanks to improvements to the RPM Tech 2.0 animations that allows for chip and slip dekes this year.

After years of the mode largely being ignored, it feels like Be A Pro finally got the overhaul players wanted for EA Sports NHL 21. From the menus to the content, everything feels new and exciting at long last. I’m loving the off-ice conversations I have with my agent and teammates, and getting called over to the bench by my coach during a game ramps up the tension and pressure. Do I promise to keep the opposing team from scoring, or do I want to call my shot and promise I’ll get a goal instead?

While Be A Pro was clearly the center of attention this time around, Franchise mode also got some great upgrades. The trade deadline is now a race against the clock, simulating the real world’s tension for GM’s who must either find a deal or risk being left out in the cold. Trade AI is improved, and behind the scenes there’s a new system of valuing players and draft picks in trades that feels a lot closer to reality than in past years.

For all the improvements, there are still some things that need to be addressed though. Legacy AI issues, for example, continue to haunt the game – particularly in the offensive zone, where teammates can’t seem to figure out how to run the systems I’ve called. They do a better job of filling open space on the rush than in past years, but if you settle down into a puck cycle it quickly goes all to hell and looks like a bunch of 8-year-old players chasing the puck. I’d love to see that fixed for next year’s release.

Another thing for next year, and the game’s first appearance on next-gen systems, would be revamps to player faces. The body types are generally good, but the faces could use some work. Understandable, given the restrictions COVID-19 placed people under, but it seems like there were no new player faces scanned for this year’s outing. I’m one of the biggest Oilers fans out there, for example, but I couldn’t pick fully half of the team’s NHL 21 player faces out of a lineup and that probably includes Leon Draisaitl…who won the Hart, Ted Lindsay, and Art Ross this year.

EA Sports NHL 21 is one of the best NHL games EA has ever put out. The focus on Be A Pro really stands out, and the upgrade to RPM 2.0 Tech last season continues to pay dividends as well. I can’t wait to see what the team can do next year with all the power of next-gen systems to play with.

EA Sports NHL 21 is available now on PS4 and Xbox One. Xbox One version reviewed using code provided by the publisher.