NHL 14 is an officially licensed hockey game. The player takes direct control over a hockey team and participates in single matches, tournaments and various leagues. Most changes compared to NHL 13 are technical as the game improves its physics engine (incorporating the collision engine from the FIFA series), the skating animations and fist fights (using technology from the Fight Night series).
There are also smaller additions to the two other main modes. In Live the Life, in which the player takes control over a single athlete and accompanies him through the career, there are now multiple-choice dialogues which affect the stats. The Ultimate Team mode, which uses trading card mechanics and allows the player to improve his team with booster packs, introduces an online league with a promotion system. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of NHL '94, the anniversary mode tries to bring back the style of said game with simpler controls and presentation. The Be a GM mode allows the player to take over some managerial responsibilities.