Generally favorable reviews - based on 56 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 56
  2. Negative: 0 out of 56
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  1. Sep 28, 2011
    Fans of the NHL series are unlikely to skip an entry, for any number of reasons, including the roster and uniform updates, the online play or the simple lack of competition, and there's no reason to start now, as this version's tweaks offer a genuine improvement over last year's well-regarded title, once you adjust to the more realistic controls (either through practice or tuner adjustments.)
  2. Sep 28, 2011
    NHL 12 somehow was able to take what NHL 11 did so well, improve upon, then completely run away with it. The best hockey title of this console generation.
  3. Sep 15, 2011
    The best representation of the sport ever created. I don't think I can praise it any more than that.
  4. Oct 2, 2011
    Overall, the amount of different play modes both online and offline are staggering. There is something for just about everyone and when you get tired of one mode there is something different to explore.
  5. Oct 7, 2011
    This game is so diverse, and so large in its overall experience that there's almost too much to keep you interested for another full year.
  6. Sep 13, 2011
    EA has seemingly done the impossible by revamping the game in a way that not only increases the realism, but also improves the gameplay.
  7. Sep 28, 2011
    NHL 12 is, in my opinion, the best hockey game to date. It looks vivid and sharp, but the true-to-form NHL gameplay is what pushes it over the top. With a fast-paced game like hockey, it's not easy to recreate the experience in a video game, but with this title, EA has managed to do so quite successfully, making this one easy to recommend without thinking twice.
  8. Sep 6, 2011
    To be honest, I'm usually in the camp that skips every second NHL title because it's hard to justify what seems like a few enhancements and a roster update for the price of a AAA game, but this time they've done a fantastic job with improvements that are very hard to resist. Damn fine way to celebrate your 20th title.
  9. Sep 6, 2011
    It appears that the development team refuses to say amazing is good enough. The new Be a Legend option is disappointing while the also-new 24/7 mode shines. The graphics stay the course, but the staggering depth that pervades the entire experience puts yet another championship season on ice.
  10. Sep 15, 2011
    The best version of NHL in the past three years -- it's like the previous versions were simply leading up to this release. Everything looks and feels and plays as it should; a fine balance of entertainment and realism. It's a fantastic entry for any fan of the game.
  11. Sep 13, 2011
    To be fair there are a lot of changes and tweaks made to the NHL 11 design, but many of them are so small to be nearly unnoticeable. As great as NHL 12 is, and it is a great game, it's not a giant leap from NHL 11. Is that enough to warrant another $60? Only you can answer that one.
  12. Sep 13, 2011
    Player interaction has to be the best feature of actual gameplay.
  13. Oct 15, 2011
    Definitely the best hockey simulation around, thanks to a great AI and an excellent technical production. Highly suggested for every NHL fan.
  14. Sep 29, 2011
    The steps forward for NHL 12 might not be as monumental as NHL 11 was, but at the same time they didn't have to be. NHL 12 is a must purchase for hockey fans or even those who have passing interest in the sport.
  15. Sep 28, 2011
    All in all, NHL 12 is the best iteration of the series, which isn't too surprising considering every new version has improved on the last.
  16. Sep 21, 2011
    The more time I spent with it, the more the new changes to the formula grew on me. The AI routines are less predictable and scripted, meaning every game feels like anything can happen.
  17. Sep 20, 2011
    NHL 12 is further proof that, for as complete as NHL 11 was considered, there seems to always be new, significant, quality additions that can be made from one year to the next.
  18. Sep 18, 2011
    Casual fans may not need to pick this up over NHL 11, but hockey fans will want to get this, just for the engine improvements alone.
  19. Sep 18, 2011
    EA Sports once again make head roads into the hockey arena by creating the best hockey game to date... it seems that EA does this every year with their NHL series. Gameplay is refined, more powerful and caters for both newcomers and veterans alike.
  20. Sep 13, 2011
    NHL 12 is the new benchmark that sports games will aspire to challenge, it's also the best and most complete title that EA Sports has released in years.
  21. Sep 13, 2011
    NHL 12 is another step towards excellence. If you're a fan of this sport, you can't miss it.
  22. Sep 13, 2011
    NHL 12 offers a ton of options and improves on key areas like control, artificial intelligence and the number of game modes.
  23. Sep 28, 2011
    The new AI and physics engine with the tons of options and game mode give to NHL 12 a new dimension of excellence. Every fan of this sport can't miss this masterpiece.
  24. Sep 22, 2011
    If you're into ice hockey and love to play the sport on your console, this one's the game for you. It offers ice hockey at its best, but only if you're willing to tackle a steep learning curve.
  25. Sep 7, 2011
    NHL 12 just adds in the Icing on the Cake with the fine tuning put into this year's game. Whether it's the new Presentation or additions to Be a Pro, NHL 12 is a phenomenal sports game.
  26. Sep 7, 2011
    EA Sports has done another excellent job with its latest hockey title, NHL 12. They have done some noticeable tweaking to an already solid game and I think most sports fans will appreciate the new additions while fans of the franchise, like myself, will love the familiar gameplay. There is once again enough new stuff here to keep hockey lovers gaming on the virtual ice for another year.
  27. Sep 7, 2011
    NHL 12 is confirmed as a rigorous, high-level simulation. Few but interesting new features make it feel realistic and closer to TV action.
  28. Sep 6, 2011
    Though the Be A GM mode needs a major overhaul and the new Legends feature falls flat, NHL 12 is still strongest where it counts – on the ice. Just like a well-rounded power forward who can dominate in all three zones, you can't deny the benefit this brings to the club.
  29. Games Master UK
    Sep 25, 2011
    A great game has just got one heck of a lot better. [Nov 2011, p.93]
  30. Xbox World 360 Magazine UK
    Dec 2, 2011
    Matches now have a more combative feel. [Dec 2011, p.102]
  31. Oct 27, 2011
    Year by year, EA's NHL series keeps getting marginally better. The 2011-12 edition has more options, improved AI and greater depth. But the formula is starting to feel a bit old and makes us feel that the time has come for a complete reconstruction.
  32. Oct 26, 2011
    NHL 12 is one of the best sports simulations available that is accessible by both hardcore simulation buffs and casual fans. While the improvements are subtle, they are definitely worth the price of admission, especially if you haven't picked up a copy for a few years.
  33. Oct 9, 2011
    NHL 12 excels in many aspects and is filled with a lot of content. Great for hockey fans, despite the few disappointing updates to the series.
  34. Sep 28, 2011
    NHL 12 is an improvement over last years, but instead of a full out overhaul, subtle modifications have been done to enrich the little bits.
  35. Sep 28, 2011
    The additions that change the gameplay do make enough difference to those schooled in the ways of hockey, and the goal tenders being made more real is a big boost to how 'authentic' the whole thing feels. But is it worth it for those who like it but who don't know their Jarome Iginlas from their Sergei Samsonov? You've got to say no, even if it is, yes, still a great game.
  36. Sep 26, 2011
    It is always hard to review these incremental sports releases because they mostly spend their time tweaking things the fans are going to appreciate. NHL 12 continues that trend, and remains the best hockey game on the market, by far.
  37. Sep 13, 2011
    A huge game completely jam-packed with modes and gameplay features...NHL 12 has its problems, to be certain, but most of what it does it does so well that the series persists as a fan-favorite nearly 20 years after its introduction.
  38. Sep 12, 2011
    NHL 12 is a very good hockey simulation offering a full year of up-to-date sports gaming. Certainly, there's nothing here to put anyone off the series. Lamentably, there's not anything to convert pro hockey simulation abstainers to the fold, either.
  39. Nov 15, 2011
    NHL 12 is yet another great ice hockey title that will appeal to new fans of the sport as much as it will to the old guard. The only quibbles tend to be minor ones, but the main issue is that this game is yet another in a growing line of updates rather than sweeping revolutions.
  40. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Nov 14, 2011
    Some control and physics tweaks are needed, but to remedy distractions rather than critical errors. [Issue#77, p.90]
  41. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Oct 31, 2011
    Forget last year season – it is time to try new ice! This year NHL is (again) worth playing not only for the updated rosters or the "Winter Classic" matches. [Oct 2011]
  42. games(TM)
    Oct 18, 2011
    Changes are few. [Nov 2011, p.117]
  43. Oct 11, 2011
    It's an incremental jump over NHL11, then, and NHL12's newest periphery additions perhaps don't fire as they should. However, it's an incremental jump over a game that was ruddy marvellous in its own right.
  44. Sep 30, 2011
    Lots of small improvements and greatly enhanced AI. Still a lot of bugs though that takes the edge off the otherwise nice experience.
  45. CD-Action
    Sep 29, 2011
    It seems NHL 12 and FIFA 12 teams were sharing ideas, as the hockey game also boasts of tweaked defending and a new physics engine that works good usually but not always. In general there are a lot of enhancements but the game plays more or less the same as the last year's edition. [October, p.74]
  46. Sep 23, 2011
    NHL 12 isn't a giant leap forward for EA's vaunted hockey series, but it maintains the franchise's lofty pedigree despite a few missteps. It offers improvements that are subtle as opposed to eye-catching, but they're significant nonetheless.
  47. Sep 21, 2011
    This is no big leap forward for the franchise, mind you--comparatively, it's almost less of a leap over NHL 10 than NHL 11 was--but for those who just want to tool around with their favorite franchise, build up a pro of their own design, and hop online against the masses of like-minded players, NHL 12 shan't disappoint.
  48. Sep 21, 2011
    Little things mean a lot in NHL 12, which subtly refines the best arcade hockey game ever made.
  49. Sep 16, 2011
    Huge amounts of content can't hide the fact that this is pretty much the same old NHL with a few tweaks here and there. Thankfully the biggest changes have been made to the action on the ice and the result is more physical, smarter and all round more fun gameplay than ever before.
  50. Sep 13, 2011
    Our only complaint is that EA should have let the Legends simmer for a season or two until a compelling, "holy crap this is awesome" way to integrate the greatest players in history could have been dreamed up. To be frank, the Legends detract from the game more than anything else.
  51. Sep 13, 2011
    As much as it looks like a souped-up NHL 09​, the improvements to the engine, the A.I., Be a Pro mode, and the overall presentation really add up, and that's aside from the fact that it was already a pretty darn good sports sim to begin with.
  52. Sep 12, 2011
    If it doesn't have any competitors, it's because they wouldn't be a match: NHL 12 keeps honoring the tradition of quality of the franchise and ends up, this year again, being one of the best sports simulations ever. With a sharp gameplay, nice visuals, optimized collision engine, NHL 12 will fill up the needs of frictions-on-ice lovers.
  53. Sep 9, 2011
    Pessimists constantly gripe about the lack of changes in NHL 12, but they are all wrong. There are some good changes here, and these changes altogether have a great impact on its gameplay; that is to say, bigger changes wouldn't bring up the desired effect of its kind of game-continuity. We may say we are once again closer to the actual hockey experience without losing its first-rate gameplay.
  54. 80
    As ususal, a nice upgrade for a great series of games.
  55. 80
    NHL 12 is an improvement over last year's game, but hardly a revolutionary title. It's the best hockey game on Xbox 360 - though, of course, it's also the only hockey game on 360.
  56. Official Xbox Magazine UK
    Oct 20, 2011
    Better is good, but it isn't great. [Nov 2011, p.110]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 76
  2. Negative: 13 out of 76
  1. Sep 14, 2011
    This is an incredible hockey game. As with all the critic reviews, the Be A Legend mode is a silly addition that isn't all that special. TheThis is an incredible hockey game. As with all the critic reviews, the Be A Legend mode is a silly addition that isn't all that special. The AI in the game seems to have improved a ton with this release, which makes the Be A Pro mode a lot more fun. The only thing that can be frustrating is with the new goalie interaction, AI goalies are much more likely to run away from the crease without contact just to get a new penalty. This is a very minor complaint to a near-perfect hockey game. Full Review »
  2. Oct 16, 2011
    A very disappointing release. The game continues to be riddled with bugs and terrible design and interface decisions. It seems like EA SportsA very disappointing release. The game continues to be riddled with bugs and terrible design and interface decisions. It seems like EA Sports has whittled the NHL developer down to about 4 people who's only job is to program in a couple new features. This game has all of the exact same animations, celebrations, and commentary as NHL 10. Career mode is still completely random and arbitrary. The servers were a mess at launch (an EA staple). EA, maybe next year have your 4-man team work all year fixing this game before spending any more time on meaningless bullet-points for the back of the package. Full Review »
  3. Sep 15, 2011
    The long standing undisputed KING of online hockey, there isn't any sports game out there that can touch the EA NHL series. NHL 12 is bothThe long standing undisputed KING of online hockey, there isn't any sports game out there that can touch the EA NHL series. NHL 12 is both incredibly rewarding and incredibly addicting, pretty much the same as NHL 11 with just a few tweaks, but that's a really good thing. Playing the best online sports experience, leveling up your online pro, customizing your attributes and unlocked gear, competing against some great players, it's all here and it's all good. Full Review »