The impressive vistas EA have crafted for outdoor match play in NHL 19 all add to the atmosphere. The result is akin to one of those annual 'Holidays Are Coming' Coca Cola adverts, and it's one of the game's hidden thrills to play before snow-covered foliage and dimly-lit buildings rather than uniform (if equally as daunting) packed arenas.
When sitting down with EA's latest slice of hockey action, it's important to remember that this, just like so many of its peers, is a yearly updated franchise. That often means developers leave sweeping changes at the door in favour of brash marketing campaigns that big up slight tweaks (FIFA) and money-grabbing tactics (NBA 2K).
Neither of those apply to NHL 19, and that's all the more surprising considering EA are involved. They've went to great lengths to ensure that the game plays well on the ice, looks great off it and there's an emphasis on fun. That arcade feel is one of 19's best assets, as is the dedication to fixing sketchy AI and thinking outside the box.