NHL 11: The Offensive Approach (CPU vs Human Opponents)
Strategies and game plans are essential to having success in any game. It’s important to know what to do, and in many cases, what not to do in many different situations. Whether your play NHL 11 online or against the computer, there should be some key differences in your approach.
Facing CPU Opponent
When you’re facing a computer opponent, there are specific aspects of the game you should take advantage of. The AI in 2011 is better than any NHL game in the past, and the computer will pick up tendencies you have. However, it will take a bit of time for them to adjust, meaning there are several things you should try while the computer will still let you.
Offensively, it’s never a bad idea to go with a safe dump and chase approach against the CPU. If you are fortunate enough to be playing with a speedy team, cross the red line and toss a soft dump into the far corner. That winger may not beat the defenseman to the puck, but will be there soon after to pin him to the boards.
If you develop a solid forecheck, you can then turn that into a solid cycle. By working a cycle down low, it almost always leaves one of the defenseman open – once it does, get the puck back to them immediately. They won’t be open long, but try to get the defenseman as close to the middle of the ice as possible, find a shooting lane and release. It doesn’t need to be a big slap shot, though it’s never a bad idea. The more traffic in front of the net the better – even if you just take a soft wrist shot, one of the forwards in front can get a deflection. Goalies have a tough time stopping these tips, and have a difficult time controlling point shot rebounds. Hopefully this will create havoc in front of the net, leading to a goal or a power play.
If you find this isn’t working, perhaps you would rather gain the zone with puck control. If you drive the puck wide and then come to a stop along the boards, you can wait for a late winger or a defenseman to join the rush. If you do this, the computer tends to focus on the player with the puck, leaving one or two players open in good scoring areas. The computer will quickly catch on to this, so instead of driving wide to the boards cut across the middle, opening up space for your other players.
Facing Human Opponent
Now this stuff can also work when you’re playing against real people, but there are a few changes you should make if you want to have success. First of all, you need to feel out your opponent. What are their tendencies? Are they a bit more offensive and risky, or do they tend to make the safe play?
The cycle and point shot will still work against most human players, but a nice addition to that might be a fake shot. Fake shots don’t tend to work on computers, but can wreak havoc on your buddies and rivals online. When they see you wind up, their first reaction will usually be to lay out and try to block the shot. By passing the puck or skating around the attempted block, you’ve opened up a whole lot of ice. This is especially useful on the power play.
Keep in mind that human players will defend you differently than a computer in one-on-one situations. It is generally easier to toe-drag and deke out a human defenseman, while the CPU (especially on the higher difficulties) don’t tend to fall for these moves as often.
On your odd man rushes ( 3 on 2s, 2 on 1s), human defenseman will usually look to take away the pass first, as that’s the easiest way to score. Expect the player you are facing to know this, so consider thinking shot first on a 2-on-1. Unless the defenseman commits to blocking the shot early, you will be hard pressed to get that pass though.
This is where your sniping abilities come into play. If you have a high end offensive player, don’t be a afraid to pick a corner. In some of the older NHL games, it was near impossible to score on just a basic shot, but 11 is much different. It is not uncommon to see a simple shot on an odd man rush to find the back of the net. It’s also never a bad idea to take a low shot hoping for a rebound.
Hopefully these tips help you in your quest for NHL 11 greatness, whether you are going up against your buddies or the CPU. Of course, there are plenty of other differences, and we encourage gamers to drop their thoughts in the comments and share some knowledge.
Good luck and happy gaming!