EA Sports has posted an in-depth gameplay video for NHL 21 that covers a number of the key features and improvements coming to this year’s professional ice hockey game.
Starting with offensive gameplay, EA says the game is inspired by some of the NHL’s flashiest players including cover star Alex Ovechkin, Nikita Kucherov, and Connor McDavid. To that end, a number of new skill moves have been added, including “The Michigan,” the “no move” deke, the behind-the-net bank, and a between-the-legs one-timer. There are also new slip and chip dekes that players can use to get around defenders.
In particular, The Michigan move was performed for NHL 21 by stick-handling specialist Pavel Barber, as you can see in his own post on social media.
In the neutral zone, NHL 21 has introduced improved AI so your team moves like a unit instead of multiple players operating independently. AI overall should be smarter, and this applies to the neutral zone which is key for breakouts and transitions.
In the defensive zone, AI players will also be smarter and at times more aggressive with things like forechecking and positioning to stop oncoming players from getting to the net. Additionally, goalies are now smarter and will make last-ditch saves in some scenarios.
NHL 21 is coming to PS4 and Xbox One on October 16, which is later than usual due to complications related to COVID-19. There won’t be a dedicated version of the game for PS5 and Xbox Series X, but the game will play on those consoles through backwards compatibility.