Developed (appropriately enough) by E’s Vancouver-based EA Canada, the new version of the game features an all new On-the-Fly AI which actively learns a player’s moves and forces them to adapt their game. A Create-a-Play feature enables players to whiteboard and record their own strategies, then bring them into real games to outwit their opponents. Online features let players set up Custom Leagues, and online Team Play enables up to six players to slap each other silly on the ice. A new deking system enables players to move the puck off their sticks to get around defenders, and a new Goalie Mode lets players squat in front of the net and take high-velocity pucks, sticks, elbows, knees, and the occasional fist for the team.
NHL 08 also sports a license from the AHL league, so for the first time all 29 teams from AHL affiliates are available in the game. Players can manage their teams from the ground up and try to stay within their salary caps while developing a devastating team. And, of course, the game details—from the gear to the uniforms to the faces to the names to the tinted visors and even the socks—are all fully represented.
NHL 08 will be available for the PC ($39.95), Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ($59.99) and PlayStation 2 ($29.95). EA will launch the game in Europe on the Xbox 360 and PC on September 21, with the PS3 version landing on September 28 and the PS2 version hitting shelves October 10.