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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Achievements Unlocked: NHL 07

Another year, another NHL game by EA Sports. The last time I played an EA Sports hockey title was back in 2001 on my home computer. I went to the store, spent $40 on the game, and got it installed on my PC as fast as I could, anxious to see the game in action. A couple hours later, I gave the game to a friend who watched me work myself up to a 53-0 lead while only halfway through the second period. From that moment on, I vowed to stay away from all of EA's hockey titles until I was sure that they had fixed everything wrong with the series.

I'm happy to say that six years of work seems to have paid off and NHL 07 is quite playable and pretty fun to boot. And thanks to the Xbox 360's achievement points, there exists a whole meta-game to keep me well entertained past the point of boredom which tends to sink in around my third season of play.

Although I can't help you get any better at the game, I can help you to clear most of NHL 07's achievements with very little skill or effort on your part.

The following list discusses only those achievements that I have cleared. I will update this list as I continue to knock off achievements in the coming weeks. However, if you find that I'm missing an achievement that you're having difficulties with, I recommend you go check out Achieve360points.com or Xbox360Achievements.org for further help with this game (or any other game) that might be giving you troubles.

UPDATE: Finished NHL 07 and all achievements on May 21, 2007. The achievement list below is now complete.

In clearing the following achievements, wherever possible, I recommend:

  • Select Team Canada (or any national team of your choice) as your team and set them to be the Home Team.
  • Select Team Great Britain the Away Team.

  • When setting the game options in Exhibition (Play Now) mode, turn off line changes for your team and slide the player and goalie advantage sliders, as far as they'll go, in your favour.

Victory in Rookie Mode
Win a game in Rookie Mode vs. the CPU
25 GamerPoint

Nothing like picking up an easy achievement right off the bat. My first victory came while playing as the Ottawa Senators and overcoming the lowly Toronto Maple Leafs. No tricks and no boosts - just plain old grit and button mashing. Actually, I lost my very first game because I wasn't used to the whole Skill Stick thing. However, I managed to beat the Leafs in OT on my second attempt and took home an easy 25 points.

Shootout Winner
Win a game in shootout mode
25 GamerPoint

Winning a shootout took me a couple tries. I found the default camera position (just behind the player at ice level) to be a little unnatural to me: I prefer the overhead views that allow me to see more of the ice. Although I ended up losing the first shootout 1-0, I took the second shootout 2-1. Ah rookie level, what would I do without you...

Shootout Perfection
Win a shootout 2-0 without taking the third shot in the shootout
50 GamerPoint

Although you can find a number of tips and strategies for finishing this achievement that involve a second controller, I decided to do this the old fashioned way. It's really not that tough to do on Rookie mode, although I got a little frustrated when I restarted the shootout (Ottawa vs. Toronto) for the 20th time. Thankfully, I finally managed to put the biscuit in the basket twice in a row while Emery managed to hold off Sundin et al. for the win.

Complete a ranked online game
Play and Complete an Online ranked game
25 GamerPoint

It doesn't get any easier than this. Log onto Xbox Live, find a ranked game, and play. Unfortunately, the first game I tried resulted in a lost connection to EA's servers about 5 seconds into the game. It also resulted in my opponent dinging my Xbox Live gamer reputation as he accused me of leaving the game early. A slight overreaction on my opponent's part, but it's his right to knock me down a peg.

When I finally managed to play a game, I ended up playing as the Ottawa Senators against my opponent's Detroit Red Wings. I'm hoping this game wasn't a preview for this year's Stanley Cup Finals - I lost 1-0 in overtime with just over one minute left in the game. I blame my lack of skill for the loss: on a number of occasions, I passed the puck when presented with a great chance to bury the puck. That itchy trigger finger of mine has cost me dearly over the years...

Hat Trick in Rookie Mode
Have a player get 3 goals in Rookie Mode in a game
25 GamerPoint

Playing as Team Canada and with line changes off, it was pretty simple to get Simon Gagner a quick three goals. Basically, Sakic would get the puck and pass to Gagner, who would do a little deke in front of Team Great Britain's goalie and then bury the puck. Easy-peasy, 25 gamer points for me.

Passing Wizard
Have one player get 3 assists in Rookie Mode in a game
25 GamerPoint

I cleared this achievement while picking up the Hat Trick in Rookie Mode achievement. As I stated above, once Sakic got the puck and passed to Gagner, it wasn't hard to pick up 3 assists. Sakic actually finished the game with 8 assists as both Gagner and Iginla scored four goals apiece.

Player scores 5 goals
Score 5 goals in a game with one player
50 GamerPoint

For this achievement, Joe Sakic was the go-to guy. Since Sakic plays center, it was easy for me to get the puck to him and skate into the opponent's zone and score.

If you lose the face-off on Rookie mode, continue controlling your center and move slowly toward your opponent's zone. More often than not, the defenseman on your opponent's team will attempt to pass the puck to his own center: this sets up an easy steal for your own center and allows you to skate in on the opposing goalie and, hopefully, score.

I scored a few goals using the trick above and a few others by firing one-timers off some great passing from my wingers.

All in all, this achievement is pretty easy if you're playing on Rookie mode and turn off line changes.

Victory in Pro Mode
Win a game in Pro Mode vs. the CPU
25 GamerPoint

I didn't notice that big a difference between rookie and pro mode. Mind you, I was playing as Team Canada vs. Team Great Britain. Nothing makes me happier than a blow-out...

Dangerous on the PK
Score a short handed goal in Pro Mode
25 GamerPoint

After having practiced scoring goals when on a breakaway or in a 1 on 1 situation (while clearing the Hat Trick and 5-goal achievements), this wasn't too hard.

I picked up a penalty by skating towards one of the opposing skaters and constantly hitting the right and left shoulder buttons, with a few Y button presses thrown in for good measure.

Once the penalty was called, I managed to get the puck to Nash who skated in on the opposing goalie's left, deked around a defenseman to the middle of the ice, then launched a quick snapshot high glove side to score a short handed goal.

Victory in All Star Mode
Win a game in All Star mode vs. the CPU
25 GamerPoint

Seriously, Team Canada is far too mighty to fall to Team Great Britain, even on All Star mode. Although I only won by a score of 3 - 1, a win's a win and 25 gamer points were mine for the taking.

Score a goal in All Star Mode
Score a goal in All Star Mode
25 GamerPoint

Yep, I scored a goal while clearing the Victory in All Star Mode achievement.

Victory in Superstar Mode
Win a game in Superstar mode vs. the CPU
50 GamerPoint

Beating the game on Superstar Mode was a little tougher. Thankfully, I managed to get a couple goals with Sakic to grab an early lead. From that point on, I just skated around my own zone, out to center, then back to my own zone for the last two periods of play.

I found that the CPU-controlled players never tried to prevent me from getting back into my own zone with the puck. Basically, I was allowed to skate down one side of the ice and back around my own goalie, skate up to center ice along the other side of the ice, then turn around and do it all it again. To better explain it, I was basically skating in a "U" pattern over and over again.

This method of killing time allowed me to get through the game very quickly and pick up a shutout, which was required for another achievement listed below.

Score a goal in Superstar Mode
Score a goal in Superstar Mode
25 GamerPoint

As I mentioned above, Sakic scored a quick two-goals in the first period.

Shutout in Superstar Mode
Get a shutout in Superstar Mode
50 GamerPoint

I described the strategy I used for this achievement in my description of the Victory in Superstar Mode achievement above.

Hat Trick in Superstar Mode
Have a player get 3 goals in Superstar Mode
50 GamerPoint

It's a little trickier to get a hat trick on Superstar mode. However, Team Canada is really quite good and I finished this off on just my second game at the Superstar level. I will admit, however, that I may have tweaked the advantage sliders (in the pre-game setup) a little in my favour. With line changes off, it wasn't hard for Simon Gagner to bury the puck a few times over the course of 3 periods.

Tournament Champion
Win a tournament with a minimum of 3 games played in All Star mode
50 GamerPoint

There are couple things that make this achievement a little harder than the previous ones listed above:
  1. Tournaments are long: it takes six games to win a round-robin tournament with 8 teams.
  2. The player and goalie advantage sliders aren't available for use in tournament mode, meaning you'll need to play well enough to beat the CPU on All Star Mode.
It's not all doom and gloom though! Here are two tricks that I used to clear this achievement without any headaches:
  1. When setting up the tournament, I was allowed to select the teams involved. I chose to play an 8 team tournament and selected Team Canada as my team. I then replaced each other team involved in the tournament with the weaker national teams available for play. For example, Team USA was replaced by Team Great Britain, Czech Republic was replaced by Team Japan, and so on. Basically, I was greatly stacking the deck in my favour.
  2. Notice that you are required to not only win the tournament to clear this achievement: you must also play in a minimum of 3 games. So, what constitues a "played" game?

    Luckily, if you Sim a game and intervene come the third period of play, NHL 07 determines that you have played that game. To clear this achievement quickly, simply quick sim the round-robin portion of the tournament. Once you've reached the elimination rounds of the tournament, you'll be required to win 3 games in order to win the tournament. Simply sim one or two periods from each game remaining, intervening as necessary depending on the score of the game.

Although I played more 3 of the games myself, I believe it would be possible to win an entire 8-team tournament in under 30 minutes, including load times and team setup, by using the above strategy.

Does it take the fun out of playing a tournament when you approach it simply as a means of picking up a quick 50 gamer points? Yes, it does. Then again, I didn't buy this game so I could play as Team Canada in a meaningless round-robin tournament...

Powerplay Mastery
Score 2 goals on the Powerplay with the same player in Pro Mode
25 GamerPoint

The hardest part of clearing this achievement is managing to get two powerplays in one game (while playing 5 minute periods). To get around this, I took the opening faceoff of the game as Team Canada. At that point, I paused the game and switched teams, taking control of the Team Great Britain.

Once the game unpaused, I did my best to draw a penalty by cross-checking, elbowing, hooking, and holding any Team Canada player that approached any Team G.B. player. Eventually, the ref would raise his hand and I'd switch back to controlling Team Canada. From there, it was a simple matter of scoring a powerplay goal and repeating the entire process again.

Powerplay Quarterback
Score a goal on the powerplay with a defenseman in All Star Mode
25 GamerPoint

Although you could try to take shots from the point with your defensemen and hope for a goal, it's far easier to skate in past your opponent's defense and try to score up close and personal.

As with the Powerplay Mastery achievement, get a powerplay by switching teams, drawing a penalty, then switching back. Once the powerplay starts, get the puck to a defenseman and get him a goal.

It took me three powerplays before I managed to clear this achievement, but I got it done. I guess I'm not a big fan of Scott Niedermayer, and it showed in how I controlled him. Still, even the Niedermayers of the world get lucky from time to time and score a goal.

10 game winning streak
Win 10 games in a row in Dynasty Mode™
75 GamerPoint

This achievement is not as hard as it seems. I tried to clear this simply by making my way through my first season of Dynasty Mode, but ultimately failed a number of times. The trick, it seems, is to turn off the Dynasty Mode auto-save feature (I'll leave it to you to figure out how to do that, but it has something to do with your gamer profile...).

Once auto-saved is turned off, getting this achievement is a simple matter of saving your Dynasty Mode data when you win a game and exiting Dynasty Mode otherwise. If you exit Dynasty Mode without saving, you can reload and try your last game again. Although this can be time consuming, it's well worth the 75 gamer points available for clearing this achievement. And keep in mind that you can also sim your way through any or all of these games, intervening at any point where you feel your team "needs" some hands-on attention.

I cleared this achievement in about an hour and a half by sim-ing my way through one or two periods of each of the ten games required. Although I managed to lose to Atlanta twice, forcing a couple of Dynasty Mode exits and reloads, I easily picked up the 75 points that I so desperately wanted.

Earn 100 pts in a season
Your team must earn 100 points in a season in Dynasty Mode™
50 GamerPoint

When I set out to finish my first season in Dynasty Mode, I wanted to make sure that I cleared as many achievement points as possible. Here's what I did:

  • To clear this achievement, I played each of my first 20 games (using 5 minute periods with line changes off), winning 19 games.

  • I then played only the last period of the next 30 games in the season, winning about 25 of these games. Unfortunately, there were times when the computer-controlled team crushed my Sens in the first two SIM'd periods of the game. In any case, I now had 44 wins on the season and needed only 6 more wins to have a 100 point+ season.

  • For the final 32 games of the season, I played one full game (three periods) for every 5 games remaining in the season.
By the time I'd played through the entire first season, the Sens had picked up 138 points and cleared this achievement.

Stanley Cup® Champions
Win the Stanley Cup®. A minimum of 10 games must be played during the playoffs
25 GamerPoint

With the Stanley Cup playoffs starting, I needed to make sure that I played at least ten playoff games (one of the restrictions on this achievement). In order to speed things up, I decided to play only the third periods of all playoff games. This guaranteed that I'd play at least 16 games in the playoffs while also padding my players' point totals (in order to pick up the Playoff MVP achievement).

It took me about two hours to play 18 games, win the Stanley Cup, and pick up 25 gamer points.

Win the President's Trophy
Come in first place overall during a season in Dynasty Mode™
25 GamerPoint

I cleared this achievement while working on the Earn 100 pts in a season achievement above. The 138 point season I earned playing as the Sens was head-and-shoulders above the Calgary Flames 113 point season. Sorry Jarome - no soup for you!

Playoff MVP
Have a player on your team win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Most Valuable Player during the playoffs
75 GamerPoint

After playing 18 periods of hockey during the playoffs, Dany Heatley took home the trophy, narrowly beating out Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza. On rookie level with line changes off, it's not hard to pick up a staggering number of points with a player like Heatley.

Have a player on your team win Most Valuable Player during a season in Dynasty Mode™
75 GamerPoint

By playing a large number of games over the course of my first Dynasty season - with line changes OFF - it wasn't difficult to have one of my players win the MVP award. FYI, Dany Heatley earned 265 points to clinch this achievement for me.

Finish a season in Dynasty Mode™
Complete a season in Dynasty Mode™
25 GamerPoint

Although the easiest way to clear this achievement is to SIM your way through an entire season, it's best to hunker down and clear as many achievements as possible. If you like your achievements to come fast and easy, play through your first season with line changes OFF on Rookie difficulty: you'll easily pick up this achievement along with many others discussed above.

Complete Dynasty Mode™
Complete all 10 years of Dynasty Mode™
50 GamerPoint

Although this sounds like a tough achievement to finish off, it's really not that bad.

After winning the Stanley Cup in my first season, I sat back with my wife and watched House, CSI: Miami, and an episode of According to Jim while simulating my way through nine Dynasty seasons.

There are a number of situations that will pop up during simulation, requiring a button press or two, including monthly training assignments, the NHL draft, and manual line editing for players returning from injury or suspension. However, this isn't all that bad if you're keeping yourself otherwise occupied. Do yourself a favour and turn off player injuries: this should help things go faster as well.

If you prefer, you could play through all ten season of Dynasty Mode to clear this achievement. Although I might have considered this course of action in my younger days, I'm too old and easily bored to give that a try.

Well, that's it for this game! All in all, I'd give this game a solid BUY recommendation. In addition to some easy achievement points, the game has four difficulty levels and online multi-player, including ranked matches via Xbox Live (Xbox 360 version only, obviously). Although the single player Dynasty Mode is fun, it's always fun to get together with a bunch of friends and earn those bragging rights.


Although I recommend playing NHL 07 on the Xbox 360 for the graphics and the added incentive of Achievements, NHL 07 is also available for purchase on the PS2 and Xbox:


Anonymous said...

To Win the President's Trophy do you have to finish the playoffs? I came in first and just started the playoffs, I was surprised that I didn't get the points for being in first place overall.

Klopzi said...

If memory serves me right, you'll be awarded the achievement during the awards and trophy presentation which takes place after the playoffs.

floppyhat said...

thanks! I figured, but just wanted to check. Your blog has great info on this game.