NHL 21 ‘Be a Pro’ game review

EA’s revamps popular game mode


Electronic Arts

NHL 21 released on Oct 16, 2020, featuring Washington Capitals star, Alexander Ovechkin

Ryan Flavin, Staff Writer

Over the past years, the NHL Be-A-Pro game mode has been seriously lacking. Especially because of how popular the other game modes such as Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT). Other games like NBA 2K, Madden, and MLB The Show have much more to offer with their ‘Be-A-Pro’ game mode. These games have conversations throughout your career. Fans were getting disappointed in the bleakness of the Be-A-Pro year after year. Therefore, these changes are long overdue.

The developers wanted to give this year’s Be-A-Pro a much more deep and realistic feel, and they did that. They added cut scenes with players, coaches, and your agent. Some of these can happen mid-game, where your coach asks you to create a spark for the team. The way you answer the questions have an effect on your teammate, brand, and management likeability. If you have a low teammate likeability then your team will not pass you the puck. If your brand likeability is low then you will not receive any endorsements. Finally, if your management likeability is low you have a high chance of being traded to another team, and a high chance of not resigning with the same team. Although these new cut scenes with dialogue are a good adjustment for the mode, they tend to get repetitive throughout the season.

Another big thing they added to the game is the ability to use your money that your player gets from his contract to buy things like cars, houses, personal assistants, clothes, investments, and the list goes on. Certain things you buy will have an effect on your player rating. For example, you can buy a high-end car that will give you +2 speed, but also -1 awareness. These new changes are nice and refreshing. It gives you more of an incentive to play the mode.

Another thing that changed is the main menu screen. They have made it much easier to access all the things you need. Along with this, they added a radio show that plays when you are in the main menu. They talk about your career and mention how you played in the previous game. If you scored a goal in the previous game then they will play a clip of you scoring that goal

The gameplay feels a lot better in this game than previous, which is to be accepted. The biggest part of that comes with the A.I. In past games, it seemed at some points that the A.I. was just skating around with their heads cut off. In this game, they make plays that you would actually see if you were watching a real hockey game. However, there is a bug in the game where if a player has the puck against to board it will automatically pin that play against the board. This slows the gameplay down and just gets annoying.

The new changes to the ‘Be a Pro’ mode involves many forms of your player’s likeability. (GameSpot)

This year’s Be-A-Pro was definitely a step in the right direction, however, there is a lot that still needs to be worked on. The offseason has always been a nightmare for Be-A-Pro, and it still is this year. It does not matter how good your player is, he will only receive two contracts from teams at the end of his contract. One team being the team you are already on, and the next being a team that the computer randomly chose. This is very frustrating considering the fact that other games do so much better in this department.

Another thing that concerns me is the game mode’s longevity. It doesn’t seem like the average player is going to play this game mode for more than two seasons. The cut scenes get repetitive and it seems like a lot of the dialogue was centered on you being a rookie. The game makes it feel like winning the Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year) is more important than winning the Stanley Cup.

Overall, the game mode has improved. Even if it was long overdue, it’s nice to have a fresh new Be-A-Pro to play. Hopefully, they can use the momentum behind the revamp of this mode to improve on it more for next year’s game.