EA SPORTS NHL series became one of the best sports game series ever. The controls of the series really set the NHL games apart from the competition, and nearly all other sports games. The development team has taken great care in creating a game that plays like real hockey. The lastest NHL 13 features continue that trend and the new AI and skating features should make NHL 13 the best sports game to date. While the NHL series gets better each year, the scores do not reflect the improvements.
The amazing advancements made early in the series gave the series a huge bump in ratings, but even though the following games have gotten better, the lack of a groundbreaking feature (skill stick, EASHL) have made teh game feel like an incremental update and not a huge improvement. If you step back and play NHL 08 and the NHL 12, the differences in the games is noticeably huge.
NHL 13 could be the game that changes the downward trend as the AI is a huge step forward.
*Ratings Source MetaCritic