Review – NHL 24

As a slight change of pace this year, I decided to review two EA Sports games at the same time, and assess if the same amount of work is put into them. There was EA Sports FC 24, being hyped before launch as the “next step” in the company’s foray into digital football. Then there was the plucky underdog, NHL 24, a game aimed at a more niche audience, a sport literally impossible to enjoy where I live, due to the fact our winters are hotter than most countries’ summers. The better game between the two? In all honesty, this one is an easy, albeit really shocking pick: NHL 24 is the one I had the most fun with from the two.

NHL 24 tackle

Excuse moi.

It didn’t take long for me to get a hold of the controls, or even the rules of hockey themselves. It’s not that NHL 24 tried to drown me in tutorials; I legitimately just went straight onto a quick match, got a hold of the controls on the pause menu (granted, I had to ask a Finnish friend of mine what a “deke” was, besides being a really funny word), and undertook my trial by fi… I mean, ice. The rules were really simple to learn, and the controls were so intuitive, that I was already getting a hold of the gameplay loop after a single match. Using the right analog stick to shoot the puck is a genius move.

This is also when I realized how excellent NHL 24‘s arcade-like approach is. Not only is the quick match mode easy to pick up and play, but there are tons of teams to choose from (NHL, European teams, regional feeder clubs, national teams – both men and women), and customizable rulesets. If you want to make this an ultraviolent massacre, so be it. Create a custom ruleset, and let your Canucks go wild.

NHL 24 gameplay

The intuitive controls, the great performance, the customizable ruleset. NHL 24 is arcadey joy.

I took a bite at all modes and had a crack at NHL 24‘s Be a Pro. Granted, a Be a Pro mode isn’t a new thing in any sports simulator, but I really enjoyed being able to start off as a prospect in Europe, playing in the Champions League, before deciding to jump into the NHL draft. That allowed me to get a few additional stat points before getting destroyed by much better players from the Oilers. The mode had a bit of unnecessary padding, especially in terms of additional dialogue sections that did nothing to progress the plot or even my career, but hey, no Jake from State Farm. I already see it as a plus.

Just like in previous FIFA games, there is an Ultimate Mode, where all the microtransaction nonsense goes loose, but just like in those games, you can ignore it and have fun with the plethora of other modes at your disposal. Be a coach, manage a brand new franchise in the NHL, win the World Cup as Kazakhstan, practice some shots, play 3v3 hockey with friends, do whatever you want.

NHL 24 celebrations

A diving dab. I should deduct points for this.

I was even surprised with the overall presentation. Granted, visually-speaking, NHL 24 looks good, but not much better than a high-quality PS4 game. That being said, I was impressed with the quality of the goal scoring animations (they are much better than the ones in FIFA or EA Sports FC 24), and the textural quality of the icy rink. No complaints about the performance at all, though that is to be expected from EA Sports titles; they might be packed with MTs, but they do run pretty well. Even the embarrassing pre-24 FIFA games on the Nintendo Switch managed to run at 60fps, so don’t even dare to worry about NHL 24 on the PS5.

Finally, I was impressed with the soundtrack. So this is where EA is keeping all of the good music hidden! Sum 41, 100 gecs, Bring Me the Horizon… the list goes on and on. You can even catch a glimpse of Darude’s “Sandstorm”, the most memeable of Finnish and EDM songs, whenever you’re at a faceoff featuring the Finnish national team, or any of the country’s local clubs. Sure, The Chainsmokers are also on the setlist, and the in-game commentary can be a bit excessive at times, both in terms of quantity and volume. Still pretty good, can’t deny.

NHL 24 box

Not even the cover of an NHL game box. Nope. A freaking cereal box. And I’m not even getting ten grand for that.

Whether you’re into a customized, ultra-violent arcade experience or a more realistic simulation, NHL 24 has you covered. I really enjoyed its sheer amount of content, intuitive controls, overall presentation, and its Be a Pro mode. Yes, its Ultimate Team mode, just like similar modes in other EA Sports titles, is an insane gambling machine meant to suck your wallet dry, but considering the wealth of other modes included in this package, you can easily ignore it and have a lot of fun with NHL 24.


Graphics: 7.5

The in-game visuals look like slightly improved PS4 graphics, but the goal scoring animations and icy textures are very impressive.

Gameplay: 8.5

Easy to learn, customizable, very responsive. Physics are great. Not a lot to complain in this regard, it gets the job done with massive honors.

Sound: 7.5

The commentary is a bit excessive, but it’s still decent enough. The soundtrack was shockingly good, ranging from Sum 41 to the eternal “Sandstorm” by Darude.

Fun Factor: 8.5

A lot of modes, neat controls, tons of content… even though Ultimate Team is predatory as hell, you can ignore it and not pay a single additional cent. Furthermore, customizing rules in favor of a more violent arcade experience is perfect for local multiplayer mayhem.

Final Verdict: 8.0

NHL 24 is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of NHL 24 was provided by the publisher.