I don’t know a great deal about ice hockey, but I do know one thing: it makes for a good videogame.
I’ve never been to an ice hockey match in my life, but I’ve owned more than few iterations of EA’s NHL game series. The latest, however, has a mode that brings me more joy than ever before – a stripped-down, more arcadey gameplay variant known as Threes.
In Threes mode each team has only three players (plus a goalie), allowing for a dramatically increased pace. Furthermore, many rules such as offside and icing are sidelined, which means you can be as aggressive as you like without being reprimanded. It’s fast and furious and extremely entertaining, making it a great way to fill 20 minutes or so of your free time.
And then there’s more. The MoneyPuck system makes each Threes match even more unpredictable and entertaining. Fire pucks award you with more goals when your score, propelling you or your opponent ever closer to victory. Ice pucks, on the other hand, take goals off of your opponent when you score, allowing either team to grab victory from the jaws of defeat.
NHL 18′s Threes mode isn’t just some small throwaway extra either. You can play local multiplayer Threes matches or take the action online, playing both competitively and cooperatively. There’s even a career mode that allows you to make your way through four circuits, with or without your friends in tow. It’s a whole new way to play, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Anyway, if you’re an Xbox One owner with a current EA Access subscription you don’t need to take my word for it, you can download a free trial of NHL 18 from the store right now and try Threes for yourself. Everyone else will have to wait until the 15th September when the game is released I’m afraid.