It’s that time of the year again where hockey fans get to hear all about the latest entry in EA Sports’ popular franchise, and we’ve got all the information about what fans can expect from NHL 24. From gameplay improvements and new features to additions to HUT and World of Chel, we’ve broken down everything you need to know. It feels like EA has put a lot of work into the game, especially making it more immersive and authentic in the moment-to-moment action. So, without further ado, here’s everything you can expect from EA Sports NHL 24.
EA Sports NHL 24 Cover Star
Cale Makar, defenceman for Colorado Avalanche, will be the cover star for EA Sports NHL 24. Cale has been impressive ever since his debut back in 2019, and it makes perfect sense for the player to be on the cover. In his bio from the NHL official site, his impact in his debut was nothing short of iconic.
One day after signing an entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche and three days after winning the Hobey Baker Award as the top men’s player in NCAA ice hockey, the defenseman stepped into the Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 15, 2019, and delivered. Makar took the puck into the offensive zone and beat goalie Mike Smith at 16:02 of the first period to give the Avalanche a three-goal lead against the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round. It was the game-winner in a 6-2 victory that helped the Avalanche take the series in five games against the team with the best record in the Western Conference. It was their first playoff series victory in 11 years. He became the seventh player and first defenseman to score a playoff goal in his NHL debut.
EA Sports NHL 24 will be coming out October 4 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One. At release, there will be two editions. The Standard Edition includes the main game, whilst the X-Factor Edition (digital only) features a ton of content including:
- Exclusive Cale Makar Player Item
- HUT Power Up Icon Choice Pack
- 4600 NHL Points
- Dual Entitlement
- 3-day Early Access
- WOC Battle Pass XP Modifier (x5)
Pre-orders are now open, and if you decide to bite the bullet and do so, you’ll receive a HUT Team Building Player Choice Pack (2 of 32) along with all pre-order content.
What seems impressive about this new mechanic is how it adds pressure to those intense moments where you scramble to score in tense encounters on the ice, and how pressure on the offense can lead to some incredible goals fit for the highlight reel. The Sustained Pressure System aims to reward the offense when keeping the pressure on defence by building up a meter for successful hits, passes, and shots in the offensive zone, improving passing speed and accuracy for up to 30 seconds. On the flipside, the defence can counter this ‘adrenaline effect’ by clearing the puck for five continuous seconds.
There’s also an emphasis on the goalie this year, and one such improvement comes as part of the Goalie Fatigue System. While failed defensive plays impacts how successful the goalie is, it also adds more desperation saves to the mix, with 50 new ones being added. The goalie can become tired through shots by the offence, time in the zone, and passes across the crease, with fatigue being reflected in stance and body position, as well as a stamina bar showing how fatigued you are. Fatigue can be improved by clearing the puck, face-offs, time outs, and play stoppage.
Human Goalie Control and Instinct System
As mentioned, there’s more of an emphasis on the goalie in EA Sports NHL 24, and another few ways this is going to be prevalent is in the Human Goalie Control, where players who enjoy taking control of the goalie have more freedom in how they move and defend the goal. The Instinct System rewards you by pre-empting a shot by getting into the right position via a green vision cone that appears when successfully in position. It’s going to be exciting to see how these factor into the Goalie Fatigue System when playing in high pressure games, and from what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to lead to some exciting moments.
EA Sports NHL 24 has also tweaked certain moves by making them both easier to access and physics-based. Shoves to the opposition now happen with a simple flick of the stick, while body checks are performed by pulling back on the stick and pushing forward. There’s also a dedicated hip check button, and body checks have been overhauled to make them more impactful. In the gameplay we saw, body checks are looking incredible, especially as now players can be knocked through the glass and over the boards to provide tactical moments to separate player from puck.
The Vision Passing System will add more direct passing to make it easier to get the puck up the ice and into your teammate’s path, also improved by one-touch passing, and the speed and accuracy will vary depending on the player’s stats. Skill moves are more accessible and intuitive, giving you more opportunities to create exciting highlights.
EA Sports NHL 24: Presentation
Scoring a goal is always satisfying, and now EA Sports 24 is making the most of indulging in the euphoria of lighting up the lamp. There are 75 new goal animations, with new camera angles, lighting effects, and presentation, and you can also choose exactly how you flex after smashing the puck into the goal. You can also assign and personalise player banners in digital rink boards to add another layer of individual customisation to the excitement of scoring.
Enriched Crowd System
Last year in NHL 23, the crowd came alive in high pressure moments, becoming another extension of your team’s success on the ice. EA Sports NHL 24 has managed to improve further on how the crowd reacts to your performance, with new reactions and events occurring during matches. They’ll react to when you’re running down the ice and making a comeback in new ways, and perhaps the coolest new addition comes from when you’re in possession of the puck and the crowd comes alive and begs you to shoot. It’s easy to miss some of these crowd reactions when playing, but these additions adds further immersion into the overall presentation of the game.
EA Sports continue to improve inclusion of women’s players and personalities within its sporting titles, and this year, NHL 24 adds successful women’s ice hockey player Cheryl Pounder as colour commentator. For those not in the know, here’s a brief outline of Cheryl’s accomplishments as a player from her official website:
In the sports world where accomplishments are measured by medals and titles, there aren’t many who can claim a list of achievements as glowing as Cheryl’s. Her run of success began early in the 1990s when her ice hockey team won the Under-18 Canadian National championship. In 1994, she won Gold for the first time at the 1994 IIHF World Women’s Hockey Championship, and during her illustrious career with the National Women’s team, Cheryl won two Olympic Gold medals (2002 and 2006) and was crowned IIHF World Champion six times.
World of Chel and EASHL
Mixed Clubs & Crossplay
EA Sports NHL 24 continues to improve matchmaking quality and decrease matchmaking times in a number of ways. Players can play with friends across generational consoles i.e. PS4 and Xbox One players can play against each other, and PS5 and Xbox Series X|S players can do the same. Discovering who’s available whether offline or online is clearer, as well as when a friend arrives or leaves, and you can now communicate with others both in game and while waiting in lobbies. New players can also be added to lists, and you can add players by their NHL handle. EA Sports 24 will also feature a single leaderboard to make social play engaging and competitive.
WOC Battle Pass and Marketplace
World of Chel is getting a Battle Pass with both free and premium levels in EA Sports NHL 24. Seasons will be introduced for players to gain a ton of exclusive items, where playing online will be rewarded, with horizontal progression occurring through player builds. One of the coolest announcements regarding the Battle Pass is that all vanity items will carry over to the next NHL game. The marketplace will feature updates all the time, giving players the opportunity to unlock thousands of pieces of legacy gear with grind currency. There’ll also be premium content available to buy, with exclusive content featuring custom characters, player banners, and unique WOC player classes not capable of being built within the mode.
The Creation Zone in World of Chel features an upgraded user experience, aiming to streamline the process of navigating, finding and equipping your items, along with improving the response timings when equipping. You’ll be able to save unique looks for greater expression, and the ability to quick change your style of play will help to get back onto the ice faster. Much like how Battle Pass items will be transferable into future NHL games, to too will items in your player closet in NHL 24.
EASHL is evolving in NHL 24 with the inclusion of Playoffs. These playoffs introduce a do or die format to proceedings, featuring a 16 game path to them. Game progress through EASHL Playoffs will earn you points, with losses resulting in elimination from the mode, and a Global Champion being crowned post playoffs. Player Benefits are also improving in the mode thanks to an increased player pool in OTP, even when coming in as a single player. It’ll feature unique commentary, and will leverage existing playoff presentation.
HUT Moments and Objectives 2.0
EA Sports NHL 24 will include HUT Moments that allow players to dive into historic moments from ice hockey, featuring icons of the sport like Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux. These moments give you objectives to complete to earn rewards, with various difficulty settings. We got to see one of the HUT moments in action featuring cover star and defenceman Cale Makar on his debut, where a couple of the objectives included scoring with Makar and hitting eight slap shots.
EA Sports are making sharing your achievements and team easier than ever with Social Sharing. It encourages players to share their rosters and show off accomplishments across social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. You’ll be able to share your current line-up, season record, and highest achievements in each mode. From the screens we saw, presentation of sharing your content looks fantastic, adding an extra element of pride in your accomplishments.
EA Sports 24 releases on October 4 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.