The beta for NHL 18
is in progress right now and it's the first and only opportunity for players to try out the game before its release next month. If you do decide to download the beta (you can do so from here
), you'll get to try out three modes from the game.
The first mode is the all-new NHL Threes. A more intense 3-on-3 hockey experience inspired by pick-up-and-play arcade games, the rules are slightly different. There are no offsides, no icing and penalties head straight to the centre-ice for the penalty shot. Only NHL Threes versus is available in the beta, both online and offline, co-op and competitive; however, in the full game there will also be a Threes Campaign. You can take a better look at the mode in the trailer below.
The next mode is EA Sports Hockey League. You can play a more traditional 3-on-3 full match experience here, or even go for larger 6-on-6 battles. The larger play space allows for more creativity with the smaller teams, allowing for big plays and new skill moves. It's the ideal place to try out the new Creative Attack controls and Defensive Skill Stick. Players can earn experience here that can be converted into items for their skater or club that will allow them to customise their players, teams and home rinks.
Finally there's a chance to try online versus, although the exact modes that are available weren't detailed. You have until August 8th to try out these modes for free. After that, you'll need to wait until September 15th when the game becomes available at retailers worldwide.