A recent article published on the official National Lacrosse League website announced that the new NLL 11 video game would be coming to the Xbox 360 this spring. Last year's iteration was the first professional lacrosse video game to hit consoles since Blast Lacrosse in 2001.
Considering it was only $5, it actually wasn't that bad. I played through two full seasons (one as the Knighthawks and one as the Bandits) and was impressed with the gameplay mechanics. Nevertheless, there are a lot of areas that the game could improve upon. Unlike the established sports franchises like Madden which churn out pretty much the same game with updated rosters each year, the new NLL game looks like it will be a lot different from the previous one.
In addition to revamped graphics and updated rosters, here are some improvements that I am hoping to see in the 2011 edition:
- Better line changes. NLL 2010 had automatic line changes but it wasn't clear what initiated a line change so some players were on the field for nearly the whole game while others only got seconds of floor time.
- Goalie changes. It was impossible to change the goaltender making the backup listed on the roster all but useless. Pulling the goalie for an extra attacker would also be a great addition.
- Better assist tracking. A lot of the goals ended up being "unassisted" despite the shooter having received a pass prior to scoring.
- Season stat tracking. One of the best parts of other major sports games is that you can keep track of all your player stats throughout the season. After you completed a game in NLL 2010, individual player stats were never kept anywhere (though you could see aggregate totals for your profile). It would have been nice to see how many goals John Grant accrued throughout my season.
- Fixed glitches. Surprisingly, there were only a few glitches in the first game. One that was really noticeable, however, was that you could check players through the boards. No, not over the boards into the bench, literally through the boards - glass and all.
Included in the article was a demo clip from the game (embedded below). The entire engine seems to have been redone and looks amazing!