The fifth season is finally upon us, and it’s time to lace up our skates and hit the ice. The pros are just beginning to warm up for a new year and another chance at Stanley Cup glory.
As always, the beginning of hockey season brings with it the release of EA Sports’ annual entry into its longrunning hockey franchise. NHL 19 is here, with superstar defenseman P.K. Subban gracing this year’s cover.
In addition to the game itself, you can also pick up this convenient PlayStation 4 1TB NHL 19 Bundle right now at Best Buy. It features a slim PlayStation 4 console with a full 1 TB of storage space, along with a copy of the game. Let’s take a close look now at what’s new in NHL 19.
NHL 19 Details
World of CHEL
The largest and most impressive upgrade to NHL 19 is the new World of CHEL mode. It’s an exciting concept where custom character creation and progress is streamlined and integrated across multiple modes of play.
You’ll begin World of CHEL by creating your own custom character. Once you’re ready to hit the ice, you’ll be able to compete with that same character across a number of new and returning game modes. Along the way you can upgrade your character’s skill set and create multiple skill/position loadouts to easily drop into any role on a dime.
Improving your character’s performance isn’t the only reward for playing World of CHEL however. You can also earn aesthetic items to deck out your skater in your own unique style. Everything from licensed NHL jerseys and apparel to unique parkas, hoodies, and toques can help you develop a style all your own.
The great outdoors
World of CHEL begins in a serene landscape with multiple hockey rinks built nestled into snowy mountains. It looks akin to something straight out of a Canadian beer commercial, or perhaps the set of the film Mystery, Alaska. Regardless, it’s an absolutely gorgeous locale for a fresh take on hockey action.
Many of the new modes that branch out from World of CHEL are played in this exciting new setting. NHL Pro-Am for example is a set of increasingly difficult challenges designed to test your skills. Completing progressively difficult tasks will earn you rewards and customizations.
These 3-on-3 matches are played with a mix of amateurs (such as yourself) and NHL pros. It’s a lot of fun to take on a revolving hodge podge of your favourite players in unique challenges—even more so set amid the backdrop of the breathtaking mountain landscape.
One on one—on one?
By far my favourite new mode in NHL 19 is the fast-paced bite-size action of “NHL Ones”. Here one a rink has been cut off at the blue line, leaving one goal and its goalie available. Three skaters then get to engage in a 1v1v1 every-skater-for-himself match to see who can pot the most goals in a set time limit.
These madcap matches are intense fun. With three skaters and no rules, there are a number of different strategies to consider. Do you chase the puck relentlessly? Or do you let the other two players duke it out in the hopes that a juicy puck will bounce free, leaving you with a wide open opportunity?
After goals or the odd occasion where the puck becomes unplayable, it appears at a random spot on the ice. This keeps the pace quick and the action random. Skills definitely play a huge role in NHL Ones, but anybody can also get a random bounce at just the right moment.
NHL Ones also features a daily leaderboard. I think this daily reset is a great idea, as it gives players a fresh chance to climb the ladder each day without longtime players being permanently entrenched on the throne.
Form a club or just drop-in
NHL 19‘s new outdoor modes are fantastic, but of course staples like EA Sports Hockey League are back as well. EASHL is at the core of World of CHEL, and it’s here that you’ll find the highest level of competitive action.
Leveling up your skater through participating in World of CHEL activities gives you the freedom to create loadouts that truly reflect the way you want to play. This can be tantamount as teamwork and chemistry are at the heart of a successful EASHL squad. Teams that work skill progression and class balance to their advantage will certainly find a more productive path to victory.
Of course it can be difficult to always have a core group of friends ready to go. Luckily you can get a taste of EASHL action with drop-in play as well. It’s like a giant shinny tournament that never ends.
Finally, if you’re just in the mood for some over the top arcade-style play, you can also participate in a drop-in match of NHL Threes. This is one of the quickest ways to dive into a match. Threes is great for showing off your style while participating is some loud, over-the-top arcade-style hockey.
The best part about World of CHEL is that it doesn’t matter which mode you play, you are always earning rewards. Not only will you unlock greater skills and more opportunities to create unique loadouts, but you’ll continue to earn great ways to customize your skater with everything from gear to emotes to goal-horn celebrations.
Your old favourites are here too
World of CHEL is NHL 19‘s fancy new outfit to be sure, but classic core modes such as Franchise Mode and Be A Pro are here too, just as you’d expect. You can always participate in the tried and true campaign of leading your favourite team along with current rosters to a Stanley Cup dynasty. Likewise, you can also create a new prospect and lead them on a journey all the way from the minor leagues to the Hall of Fame.
Of course the financially lucrative Hockey Ultimate Team mode is back as well. Another round of superstar legends are just within the grasp of those who are willing to shell out just a bit (or a lot) of extra cash for their NHL 19 experience. In my opinion World of CHEL does so much to innovate the game this year that I just don’t know why you’d want to get your fix from HUT instead, but its microtransaction-based economy is ready and waiting for you and your wallet if that’s your style.
NHL 19 is the best of this generation
After a somewhat lackluster start to the current generation of gaming, NHL 19 has finally broken through as the pinnacle of the series. World of CHEL is a refreshing and exciting way to play, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves over time.
The gorgeous outdoor rinks feel like an entirely new experience, and modes like NHL Ones create a feeling of variety that make it easy to come back to NHL 19 again and again. I love diving back in each day and earning gear and rewards to make my custom skater look and play even better.
+ The exciting new World of CHEL
+ So many fun game modes
+ Detailed loadouts and tons of character customizations
+ Amazing outdoor rinks
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF NHL 19
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.4/5 (88%)