NHL 24 Cale Makar

What We Learned From The NHL 24 Gameplay Deep Dive

A closer look at new systems and gameplay features

NHL 24 is making some big changes, and we’ve outlined a few of them over the last several weeks. Whether it’s revamping some audio and visuals to a team-wide focus on making this year’s game “feel like hockey.”

The latest trailer and deep dive features content creator Nasher and the game’s Creative Director Mike Inglehart, showing off some of their time with the game and explaining some of these features as they happen. Below we’ll detail some of the stand-out points and tell you what you need to know.

Exhaust Engine and Pressure Plays

The newest system for NHL 24 is the Exhaust Engine. Long story short, the more pressure you put on your opponent, the more likely you are to score. This is represented by a circular meter that builds in the middle of the offensive or defensive zone. Once that’s filled, you’ll get an “adrenaline boost,” and your skaters will have a better chance of potting the puck. On the flip side, if you’re defending it will become increasingly more challenging to prevent a goal against.

On offence, you’ll have 30 seconds to make the most of your opportunity. Once that’s up, or the defence clears the zone for five seconds, your boost is reset. Remember that the hockey “feel” is represented in several ways here, as icing the puck will not work, and the pressure will remain.

Goalie Action

Goaltenders are also going to get tired from this sustained pressure. For example, their stance will change, and they’ll likely have to make more desperate saves and take chances.

Inglehart points out that the predictability of goalies in past games has been addressed. NHL 24 features dozens of more save animations that NHL 23 and the dev team hope will prevent what felt like a repetitive goal-scoring pattern.

Nasher points out that rebounds are a reliable way to score a goal. The odds of scoring this way increase as stamina also ramps up later in periods and games.

Playing as a goalie has always been difficult. We talked about it a couple of weeks ago on The Creature Cast after a visit to the EA Vancouver studios. The Deep Dive doesn’t show us much, but the team has reassured us that changes are being made after playtests, and the new mechanics they’ve introduced will be made as sharp and fun as they can possibly be.


Bodychecks and Balances

As mentioned in previous coverage, the “hockey feel” also carries over into how bodychecks and the physics engine work in NHL 24. Instead of just hoping for the proper hit and contact on a check, the team has focused on a physics-based checking system that gives you complete control.

Momentum matters, and so does your control with the right analog stick. A simple “flick” of the stick will initiate a lighter bump, while pulling back and pushing forward will wind up your player for a bigger impact.

The gameplay here looks like it’s a solid give-and-take mechanic that may take some getting used to, but risking it all for a big hit will be rewarding if you do connect. How the player on the giving and receiving end also looks to be far more realistic.

Pass The Biscuit

The Vision Passing system is also new, with a mix of both modern and retro controls working. If you use this option, you can press any face buttons on the controller to initiate a pass to that player. There’s no more worry that the puck will head too far to the left or right (or behind) of your target now it’ll be more accurate and at least on its way to your intended target.

Of course, this isn’t foolproof; the defence can easily intercept or pick you off and break the other way for their chance. It remains to be seen in an online environment, with skill levels being higher and sometimes more unbalanced, if this will work well or become more frustrating for a team on the defensive, as they’re also battling the Exhaust System.

NHL 24 is scheduled for release on October 6th on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.