Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
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  1. Sep 18, 2017
    NHL 18 continues to build on the success of last year’s title by making subtle but impactful refinements throughout the game. The new skill stick options give you a wealth of ways to slice through defenders, fake out goalies and light the lamp. And the improved AI make pretty much every on-ice engagement a smoother, more enjoyable ride. The real surprise of this release, though, is the NHL Threes mode. Far from the cheap schtick it appeared to be, Threes actually offers roster management, unlockables and a lengthy tour of opponents spanning multiple regions and leagues requiring a significant investment of time.
  2. Sep 16, 2017
    We will puck you: the new 18th iceage delivers the best NHL game for years.
  3. 85
    While NHL 18 still features that pristine, refined gameplay with plenty of game modes to jump into, it still needs that special something to keep itself relevant with the changing times. Despite that, NHL 18 has enough to keep any hockey fan enthused for months.
  4. Sep 18, 2017
    It feels like deja vu when you’re playing an exhibition game in NHL 18 because it’s very very similar to NHL 17, but that’s not a bad thing. If you’re a fan of the NHL and you buy this release annually, this review isn’t going to tell you anything to prevent you from your purchase. If you listened to my review last year and picked up NHL 17, as a casual fan who doesn’t pick up every release, this year is probably going to be a skip. There’s just not enough of a change year over year. Threes is a fantastic new mode and a way to enjoy some arcade style hockey (and would be perfect on the Switch wink wink), but it’s just not worth a $60 investment for a casual fan. Die hards will have a blast with NHL 18 and Threes is just an added bonus to what is already a tight, feature packed hockey power play.
  5. Oct 1, 2017
    Personally, I am still not completely happy with how the gameplay feels.
  6. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Sep 29, 2017
    A pile of news that does not change the basics but extends the game in a way you can easily find your hockey. It's not worth the cup, but it´s worth the presidential trophy. [Issue#278]
  7. Sep 25, 2017
    If not for the addition of a new - and surprisingly enjoyable - game mode, this iteration of the NHL franchise would've felt exactly like its predecessor.
  8. Sep 24, 2017
    The gameplay feels familiar, yet revamped to address some of the issues fans have with previous iterations.
  9. Sep 18, 2017
    The established ice hockey series overcomes itself with new NHL18. Players get a great deal of news, such as Skill Stick for defense, 3-on-3 game mode, or the ability to build their own team. Thanks to the extensive training blocks, you can simply absorb all these new features with existing ones. The NHL is therefore an ideal opportunity for new players to enter the series. Not to mention the fact that all fans must have it.
  10. 80
    So, in the middle year of EA’s much-ballyhooed three-year redevelopment of the NHL franchise, things are coming along nicely. New players will have to work to get up to speed, as much as the game tries to help them out, but hardcore puck nuts will find themselves going deep into overtime with this one. The almost overwhelming numbers of ways that the game can be played means that it’s one that will definitely keep you going way past the finals.
  11. Sep 14, 2017
    Like most US-centric sports games NHL has a reputation as an acquired taste, but really it shouldn’t be. It’s a thrilling, accessible sim of a thrilling, accessible sport, with the varied online and offline modes you’d expect from an EA Sports game, plus a real slap shot to the back of the net in the form of Threes. Bring on the Frostbite engine and an equivalent to FIFA’s Journey mode, and EA might have a classic sports game on its hands. As it is, it’s still absorbing and a lot of fun.
  12. Sep 12, 2017
    NHL 18 may not win every scrum in the corner or go top shelf with every shot it takes, but it still shows enough grit and hustle to earn your respect. The new offensive and defensive tools are welcome additions on the ice, and the entertaining Threes mode could become a party staple for hockey fans.
  13. Oct 13, 2017
    I hope that EA prepares something big for next years’ ice hockey. Because otherwise I cannot really understand why the improvements and charges are just very marginal.
  14. Games Master UK
    Nov 2, 2017
    New dekes, revamped defence, and a breezy Threes mode - lots to enjoy, but the clock's ticking for a revamp. [Nov 2017, p.70]
  15. Oct 13, 2017
    NHL 18 is a good game, but I’m biased; even I know that there is little in it that’s new, and NHL Threes isn’t enough make it worth buying. There are great details that I love. The gameplay is fast and tough and takes work to master. But hockey is in danger. It’s in danger of falling behind baseball, football, and basketball in the gaming world, just like it’s lagging behind in real life.
  16. Sep 24, 2017
    EA Sports delivers a great hockey game that evolves to be more and more realistic every year. NHL 18 is entertaining, fun and a must-buy for all the hockey fans.
  17. Sep 18, 2017
    Not all of NHL 18's additions are equally successful, with the expanded depth of Franchise Mode overshadowing the flashy but unrewarding NHL Threes. The series continues to offer a good hockey simulation, and while the hardcore and those who play online will be satisfied, there's probably not enough here to make it worth the upgrade for casual fans of last year's edition.
  18. Sep 18, 2017
    It's still a great hockey game, and NHL Threes is a great addition, but beyond that it's very much the same game as last year's.
  19. Sep 20, 2017
    There's still a lot to love about NHL 18, even if the core on-ice experience has only seen minor tweaks.
  20. Sep 19, 2017
    NHL 18 introduces two major modes to its solid array of dated options. The near-revolutionary Expansion Draft takes center stage and needs to be incorporated by other sports games. Hopefully, this won’t be a one-and-done for the series. NHL Threes is a solid change of pace, but ultimately lacks the feel of an excellent arcade experience. Otherwise, balance flaws and lack of innovative gameplay mechanics don’t differentiate between prior years of the game. While it’s still a solid game of hockey, you’ve skated this rink before.
  21. Sep 18, 2017
    I’ll be much less forgiving if the same flaws that NHL 18 suffers from remain a problem in NHL 19 a year from now, but EA Canada has done mostly right by both casual and veteran players. Big wins outscore annoying misses, and overall NHL 18 is a step in the right direction.
  22. Sep 15, 2017
    I have a feeling that NHL 18 suffers from its lack of competition. While, as always, its gameplay is strong, its presentation is pretty much perfect from in-game to the menus, and there is plenty of enjoyable modes for all standards of players to sink their teeth into, the lack of substantial new features and innovation mean that it is a step behind even some of EA’s other marquee sports titles.
  23. Sep 15, 2017
    For some, grabbing the latest hockey game annually is as habitual as picking up their daily Tim Hortons. NHL 18 does bring a great Threes gameplay mode, advanced stick maneuverability and expanded franchise functionality while doing little to address play-by-play commentary, single-player campaign and microtransaction concerns. Great to pick up for the first time in years, but not as big a step forward for year-to-year fans.
  24. 60
    NHL 18 isn’t destined to go down as one of the greatest sports games you’ve ever played, but make no mistake about this: It is solid fun.
  25. 60
    NHL 18 does enough to keep the lights on at the rink, but its lack of a full-blown story mode leaves the series on thin ice.
  26. Sep 19, 2017
    NHL 18 has plenty of content for the hockey fan, whether you play offline or online. The new skill focused gameplay is a welcome addition, as well as the party mode "Threes". But just like the previous games NHL 18 feels a little too unpolished on the ice. This series is still in need of a renovation.
  27. Sep 14, 2017
    NHL 18 bites off more than it can chew in terms of new gameplay moves, although the defensive skill stick is a welcome feature. The arcade game mode NHL Threes delivers fast and lasting fun, but the simulation modes — the series’ most important components — lacks personality in an age when most sports games ooze personality.
User Score

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 105 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 105
  2. Negative: 58 out of 105
  1. Nov 1, 2017
    First of all, any Critic or User review above a 3 is a complete lie. It is. There are lots of fan boys who are in on the scam that i am sureFirst of all, any Critic or User review above a 3 is a complete lie. It is. There are lots of fan boys who are in on the scam that i am sure have vested interested in keeping EA sports above water but it is a sinking ship.

    Do you like paying $80 plus for a broken game, full of bug and glitches? Then look no further.

    This game DEDUCTS goals. Its removes them, legit goals just disappear from the score will lose games because of it, and if you like winning games because of it you are probably part of the problem.

    It will add time to the clock. As if it was not frustrating enough to hold a lead working against the games momentum programming and trying to prevent a last minute free EA pity goal, well its gonna give your opponent more time as in OH LOOK AN EXTRA MINUTE ADDED TO THE CLOCK.

    Do you like when the game loops? As in takes you back to the same face off draw every 10 seconds until the game crashes? Then you will love this game.

    How about when your AI scores on your own net? Do you like when that happens? Buy this game then cause it happens more than you think it would.

    Do you like playing HUT? well guess what? The IP booters and cheaters aarrreee baaaaaaack and they have zero consequences facing them. Those top competitive season prizes go to them every time.

    It is impossible to call this game a competitive experience. It is no more competitive than those rigged carnival games. If you play EASHL you are going to see goals deducted every second game LOL they just POOF vanish LOL so fun!

    This game is either broken or intentionally designed to cheat. Take your pick its gonna screw you. EA is scamming people. You will have to fight tooth and tail to get your money back and if you buy it through the PSN store YOU WILL NOT GET A REFUND. I have a BBB case open against EA and Sony right now and with some luck and if enough people file against them it will at least damage their reputation.

    So, a broken game that cheats and zero customer support. You will be referred to the EA forum where if you criticize the game in any capacity, you get banned... actually banned for expressing concern or criticizing a severely flawed and broken game. There are numerous fake accounts or plants on the forums claiming that the game works fine blah blah and its all in our heads blah blah but I have evidence and I have a lot of it so if you want to see some hilarious sh*t please watch the links below.

    Six of my accounts have been banned from the EA NHL forum for posting these videos and asking questions to the @NHLDev's regarding their broken game. They do not address these issues. These issues happen multiple times a day and I pretty much play this game to capture this footage. DO NOT BUY THIS GAME IT IS BROKEN LOL

    It does not matter how good the graphics are or how many mascots you can create, if the game deducts goals; loops until it crashes; adds time to the clock; allows cheaters to claim top prizes i.e incentive to play; and works against you, there is zero point in putting any time or effort in to a product that has zero effort put into it by the developers. This is the last time I give EA my money. If you want to play this game then i suggest buying it cheap and used.

    I do not have anything positive to say about this game because like I said, graphics are irrelevant when the game does not work. It is broken, buy it and you will find out. At the release of the game it felt like a new game however the above issues were still present, they then patched it multiple times with zero fixes to the problems they just made it more scrubs friendly. Hockey plays and sense are not rewarded, what is rewarded is skate in across the blue line and take any old shot or circle around down load and try for short side free EA pity goals.

    Try it and see ;)
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 18, 2017
    My feelings are a bit of a mixed bag on NHL '18. I so badly want to love this game, but I feel as though the developers are focusing too muchMy feelings are a bit of a mixed bag on NHL '18. I so badly want to love this game, but I feel as though the developers are focusing too much on the fluff and fillers than on the actual game itself. For example: there are little nuances in the game of hockey that make it, well you know... hockey. Such as: If you are overly aggressive in the face-off circle, in real life, the official would toss you out, but not here. Pucks do not go into the stands nearly enough in this game. You can jab away at a goalie freezing a puck, with little to no response from his teammates. This physics engine needs to go. The puck physics are pretty solid, but the physics that govern how the players interact with each other is really starting to get stale. We still have no real excitement surrounding the on ice players when you score a goal. Meaning, still NO 5 MAN GOAL CELEBRATIONS!!! I cannot figure out how the FIFA developers can pull off goal celebrations like they do, but it seems to be of no importance to the NHL developers. Seems crazy, considering that this is supposed to be a true hockey simulation, but we still are left with the awkward 2 man canned animations after a goal is scored, while the other on ice teammates skate away like the puck just got shot out of play. So weird that this continues to be ignored by the dev team. Like most sports games, the atmosphere is the key to creating that illusion of realism. But since there hasn't been much emphasis placed on the subtleties of the sport, that realism factor really suffers. Sure, the new 3's mode is fun, but I really feel like that is something that could have been added down the road or even as a DLC option, so that more time could have been spent on improving the overall simulation package. Don't get me wrong. NHL '18 does have better gameplay than NHL '17. However, so far, 18 feels more like NHL 17.2. I am starting to feel as though the NHL dev team might benefit more from doing what the NBA LIVE team just did, and take a season off. The annual installments are beginning to feel more like $60 patches than completely new versions. Unfortunately, without a competitor title being produced, this will most likely never change. Although, as consumers, we deserve more for our hard earned money. In closing, here are a few bullet points to help improve the series:
    -we need a real time physics engine, no more canned animation BS.
    -post whistle scrums in the crease
    -kick players out of the faceoff circles if they are overly aggressive.
    -more loose pucks please
    -more pucks getting deflected out of play
    -too many men on the ice penalties
    -player suspensions for illegal hits and game misconducts.
    -players losing an edge when trying to make quick turns
    -goalie mask customizations, along with putting the actual goalie masks for all the star goalies in the game.

    Overall, I scored NHL '18 a 7 out of 10. Is this game better than NHL '17? Yes, but just slightly, Graphics: looks the same as previous years '16 & '17.
    Gameplay: slightly improved (still missing basic nuances of the game)
    Sound: about the same
    Replayability: Moderately High.
    Buy/Rent/Wait for Sale or Take a pass?: I almost took a pass this year after I played the BETA, however, I sold my copy of NHL '17 and needed a Hockey game to play, so I reluctantly picked it up.
    I would rent this if you can, or hold off for the Black Friday doorbusters, as the EA titles usually are close to half price during that time. I hope this review helped.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 16, 2017
    I understand the fanbois wanting to love the game, but overall its not even a lateral move here, they removed otp , instead of dealing withI understand the fanbois wanting to love the game, but overall its not even a lateral move here, they removed otp , instead of dealing with the issues. Im an NHL fan and though 17 was going in the right direction, but this game is mediocre at best.

    The game play is very glitchy at times, the 3's is fun if your new to the style, but reminds me too much of hit the ice. They attempted to create a better sim, but came up short. The defensive stick is a major plus, but now the poke check is just way too powerful and easy. Games turn into a poke marathon 1-0 games. The same glitch goals still work, and with the lack of decent ai goalies, the same deke works every time. NHL 17 had these but not as bad as this one. Wrist shots right under the crossbar go in 90% of the time... and the goalies don't adapt. It's almost like they don't understand hockey, and aimed to try and cash in heavily on eashl and hut micro transactions. I agree that maybe sticking with NHL 17 or waiting for this to hit the EA vault is he best bet.

    Online team play is one of the features missed the most. Now it's very difficult to get people together to play a game, only your friends can join an "otp" style game, don't know about you but getting 12 friends online at one time is a hell of a task. They seemed to have played this down for the kids and microtransactions crowd... I feel like I wasted $80 on this one. Hope this helps some one save some cash.
    Full Review »