When you think of RPM you automatically get drawn to images of super-cars blazing down quarter mile tracks, big brooding bald men at the wheel with gruff voices talking about pink slips and how much NOS they can inject into your engine.
What you aren’t likely to be immediately thinking is that it the new technology that EA have brought to the NHL franchise that will, according to them, revolutionize the way we all play the game.
‘Real Player Motion‘ technology was first introduced in the latest FIFA title, as a way of breathing life into the stagnant graphics engine that the series has endured for the past few years.
Past few years?
NHL hasn’t really changed since 2003 and a lot of us have come to know the glitches and places to score from like the back of our hands, for EA to finally be updating graphics is like the heavens have just opened and we have been presented with the Holy Grail.
Which, coincidentally, is the Stanley Cup.
This year EA have brought in the league leader in points, Connor McDavid. Arguably the best handler of the puck since players like Datsyuk and Bure took to the ice in their prime.
With McDavid, the team at EA have managed to give players the option to turn on a dime and change direction with blinding speed thanks to ‘Explosive-Edge‘ skating. Enjoy movement that gives total command and react smoothly on the ice with superior control. Generate speed using edgework and crossover maneuvers to skate with power in all zones of the rink, dominating the game the way McDavid does.
Player sizes and attribute ratings correlate with the kind of skating style you’ll see them move with, giving you a number of ways to take advantage of a skater’s abilities. Utilize speed advantages possessed by smaller players and blow right by the defenders, or work down low in the corners as you use powerful turns to keep the puck with larger players.
Player sizes have been something that the NHL community has been infuriated about for as long as I can remember. A few years back, all players were given a 99 John Scott card and despite his outrageous speed he never actually felt any quicker than any other player. Countless YouTube videos have been created on the subject and most recently it has been blown out of the water and we have been left with this huge overhaul to the system.
Thanks to Real Player Movement, you will finally have fluid command over where your player skates with seamless animations that let you decide exactly how you’ll get from point A to B. This level of responsiveness opens a world of possibilities for every single skater based on their skill ratings, physical size, and movement style. Player endurance also plays an important role in NHL 19, as hustling will burn more energy than gliding and maintaining momentum through pivots and wider turns.
One thing that has always triggered me with the series is that the word “Seamless” is used an awful lot, it is almost always backed up with “Puck Pick-up”. If you have played an NHL game in the past few years you will know exactly what I am talking about, players don’t react to the puck, the puck goes through the players and countless other bugs that are infuriating.
All of these things have now been fixed.
While statistical ratings and size will continue to have the biggest impact on a player’s ability to get around the ice in NHL 19, RPM incorporates skating styles that affect the visual presentation and overall feeling of motion. The difference in attributes combined with unique animations makes player differentiation better than ever before. Players like the legendary Paddy Kane will be seen using quick elusive steps to evade trouble in the corners, while players like big Byfuglien will be able to use more powerful strides and their strength to get past players.
And splash them into a paste on the boards.
Skating when you don’t have the puck is just as important as driving the play when you do, which is why you’ll notice four different stick positions that build upon the authentic skating experience at all ends of the ice. Each stick variation is impacted by multiple motions such as tight carve turns, stops, cycles, crossovers, exits, and starts, applicable in all directions. In combination with skating styles, there are limitless possibilities to unlock each player’s potential in NHL 19, all thanks to the power of RPM.
All this sounds absolutely wonderful, it really does, but I have to admit to being a little bit skeptical this far away from the games launch. We have only seen a few instances of the game running and I can only presume that what we have seen so far has been heavily vetted by the big-wigs at EA towers.
So far everything is looking phenomenal and the game looks set to being a massive hit for hockey fans when it finally launches around the world September 14th 2018.