The latest game in EA’s ice hockey series is released on October 15, but the Early Access trial lets subscribers download the full game in advance and play it for up to 10 hours in total.
All achievements and progress are saved during these 10 hours, meaning if players decide to buy the game after the trial period ends they will be able to carry on where they left off.
Xbox players who are subscribed to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate already get EA Play as part of their subscription, and will also be able to download the trial.
The 31st instalment in the NHL series features a new gameplay engine powered by Frostbite, leading to what the official NHL 22 site claims are “huge visual upgrades that dramatically enhance realism”.
Player likenesses have been updated, while subtler features like eye animations have been added to make the players look more lifelike.
Fans of the NHL games have been hoping EA would move the series to Frostbite for some time now, in line with its other major sports titles.
The FIFA series has been using the Frostbite Engine ever since FIFA 17, while NFL fans have been playing Frostbite-powered Madden games since Madden NFL 18, meaning NHL’s move to the engine is arguably long overdue.
As well as the new gameplay engine, NHL 22 will include a new feature called Superstar X-Factors. This gives certain players unique abilities that can be executed during games to give players the edge.
For example, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Seth Jones has the Quick Pick move, which increases his puck interception rate and range, while the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin gets the Make It Snappy move, which greatly boosts his power and accuracy when taking snap shots.