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The hustle button.....and the death of fun.

We can sit here and critique this game till the end of time. Given their budget constraints and the fact that the development staff is probably held hostage but their superiors and shareholders, I can understand that it is not as good as it could be. I would also stand by my assumption that every single developer for EA NHL pours their heart into this game and tries to take pride in their work. Give credit where credit is due. Any developer who has ever commented on any of these posts puts their heart into their work. I am sure they are sick of getting lambasted for everything they do. Pleasing everyone is impossible especially when the majority of gamers are whiners.

However, one thing that has really been bugging me is this magical "hustle button".

It is really difficult to create space in this game. 6v6 or 3v3. You can pass and cycle until you are blue in the face and the key to defense in NHL 19 is to, literally, stand in a spot in between the puck and the net. You don't have to poke check and you don't have to stick lift. Stand in a spot and if the puck carrier gets close you will steal the puck. Add in you can intercept a pass by not even facing the puck.

Alright, I can handle that I guess because at least standing in between the puck and the net is good positioning. Although, if you just stand in a spot in the defensive zone and not move you will get beat like a child who stole something in real life every single time.

Then, by the grace of the gods, you get a breakaway. It is a miracle. You are at the blueline and the defender is behind you at the red line. Your dreams have came true. Space.

Bam. The death of fun happens. Because some chump got burned in the neutral zone, he can click the button and "hustle". All of a sudden that 20 feet of space becomes nothing. The breakaway ends. The fun dies with it. That is ridiculous. The hustle button is a handicap for getting smoked.

This game is...fun. I say it like that because I haven't had the WOW moment since '14, maybe? I can bet that a lot of the true fans of hockey probably feel similar. But, it is hockey and it is kinda fun.

It seems like the more realism they aim for, the less fun and rewarding it is for anyone who has ever played the game in real life. Couple in AI not having true hockey sense, you get this luke-warm hockey experience. The balance between realism and arcade style hockey is way off, imo. It is like the realism they shoot for is offset by the complete lack of care for the AI and hockey sense. You can't shoot for realism if the CPU players have the brains of mite level hockey players.

When you watch/play hockey you see a singular focus: on offense to find the space, on defense to limit time and space. People who complain that defense is too hard in this game are ridiculous. Unless you chase the puck everywhere, you can stand in one spot and be completely shut down on D. It is really easy.

You cant give and go because when someone gets beat they can "hustle" and catch you immediately. You can't work the half wall because your AI players have no clue where to go to find the soft spot. You cant run a 3 on 1 because there is no center drive and there is no trailer. You can't get separation because "it is not fair" that somebody got beat. You can't run real plays.

You can score, every time, by cutting across the middle, holding your stick to the forehand and shooting far side. You can run a "pass off the pads" offense incessantly and be extremely competitive. You can skate in circles (show me a game of hockey where a guy has the puck for 30 seconds skating in circles 10 ten times a game and doesn't get rocked) and never lose the puck but the moment you begin to try and set up a real offense you are stifled.

My frustration is real. I dunno.


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