Yup, you can drop anywhere from $1 to $5 on "virtual" cards.
In Hockey Ultimate Team you’ll earn pucks for completing games, these pucks (or real money) can then be used to buy packs of cards which contain players, upgrades, and items like jerseys. You’ll constantly need to manage and tweak your team, adding to your players contracts, improving their skills, and swapping out for better players. It’s a strangely addictive mode - one that can be played in single player or against other ultimate teams online. It’s also incredibly difficult at the default difficulty. I only managed to get my first win by playing co-op.
Speaking of co-op the game offers plenty of robust co-op options. All of the local modes can be played in co-op including your franchise, Ultimate Team, and quick play games. Online co-op is a new addition this year, and like Madden, it’s called Online Team Play. These quick unranked games can be played with up to 6 players where you’ll lock into a position with a gameplay style similar to the online hockey league. Basically you get an isometric camera that is locked to your player and given clues as to where you position should be.
I only managed to get a few games in, in this mode, but a lot of them seemed to be quite laggy when we had 4 or 5 players. With two players it was silky smooth.
For me, hockey games are made for co-op play. I’ve grown up since the days of the Sega Genesis playing my NHL games in co-op and NHL 11 helps me continue this tradition online. I had an absolute blast playing this in couch co-op as well, and it helped me get over the frustration of losing 10 straight games to the computer - it made victory that much sweeter. If I had a gripe, I’d like to see an online season option where co-op is available - but that’s just a request, not a detractor.
Once again EA has crafted a near perfect hockey experience. I’m happy to say that changes weren’t made in the game just for the sake of making changes, there are some real improvements all around. It’ll be interesting to see where EA takes the series next year, but for now, enjoy the ice time.
The Co-Op Experience: All of the game's modes can be played in co-op locally with the exception of the shootout.Online co-op is only a quick, unranked match called online team play. Players can lock into a position.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.