NHL22 IIHF Women’s Worlds Update Review

As the Olympics grow near, the Women’s Worlds IIHF roster release is finally here! It’s an update that’s been teased for over a month that will bring some of the best women’s hockey players in the world to the virtual stage. It’s the first time in NHL video game history full rosters were added. Hockey Hall of Famers Hayley Wickenheiser and Angela Ruggiero were apart of NHL 13, but no other women have been featured in the game since. It’s a huge update that is hopefully the foot in the door they need to make this a full-time addition in future releases.

No helmets

Nothing kills the video game experience more than being taken out of the immersive state you’re supposed to be in. So imagine my surprise when I fired up a tournament and realized the goalies aren’t wearing helmets.

I thought maybe it’s just a one-time glitch so i switched teams and started a new game but, alas, it happened again.

The update came out Thursday afternoon and I played late Friday night, a long enough time for the developers to patch something like this out. Definitely ruined the vibe of the game right off the bat.

Working around body checking

There’s no body checking in women’s hockey, so naturally one of the biggest questions I had about this update is how are they going to get around the player wrecking the competition left and right line in a normal game? Their answer was simple- just remove hitting all together. You can still line up an opponent for a check with the right analog stick, but nothing happens. You just kinda bounce off. It still registers as a hit on the game stats but nobody is getting knocked around. If you’re a long-time NHL player, it feeling like the game isn’t responding to your commands, so it takes a second to get used to, but it is a smart solution to work around the body checking issue.

Rosters are good

The rosters are actually legitimate. When they first introduced the World Juniors update, only about half the players were real humans. It’s happened in past International rosters over the years as well. Given there wasn’t much detail dropped about the update going in, and only the stars like Marie-Philip Poulin and Hilary Knight were featured in the promotion, I was afraid the rosters would only feature a handful of star players per roster and the rest would be randomly generated, but I was wrong. The full rosters were on par with real life IIHF team rosters. Definitely awesome to see everyone represented in the game.

Growing the game

At the end of the day, it’s still NHL 22. The gameplay is the exact same, just with women’s rosters. Don’t know what I was expecting going in, but I am slightly disappointed with the finished product. I was hoping there would be some kind of noticeable difference in the look or feel and there really wasn’t. Though at the end of the day this is still a huge step forward for the NHL series and women’s hockey alike.

Hopefully these rosters are a permanent addition to the game and future installments will feature leagues like the Premier Hockey Federation and the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association. It would be an awesome addition that’d really help grow the women’s game, but this is a great start and hopefully it gets people exposed to the top female hockey players in the world.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

photo credit: bleedingcool.com

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