Madden NFL 20 Review

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Another football season is almost upon us and that means a new year of Madden. Find out if this year’s edition is worth the pick up in our Madden NFL 20 review!

Release DateAugust 2, 2019
GenreSports
PlatformsXBO/PS4
DeveloperEA Tiburon
Price$59.99 US
ESRB RatingEveryone
Players1-6 Players

 

*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by EA for review purposes*

We’re hitting a nice spot in this generation of consoles for sports games where the game engines have been used for a few years now and the developers are really getting everything they possibly can out of them. Nowhere is that more evident than the Madden series where we’re really starting to see everything become really well-refined. While Franchise Mode remains largely untouched and the commentary is pretty much the same, the difference between a normal player and a franchise player are a lot more evident in Madden NFL 20 and we get a cool new single-player experience to replace Longshot.

Madden NFL 20 Review
The NCAA returns in QB1: Face of the Franchise with a run in the NCAA playoffs.

Right out of the gate, you’ll notice that player control feels much better than games from previous years. I felt like I wasn’t as worried about getting stuck on other players or anything like that. I was able to map out my run game a little bit better and react in anticipation versus some type of weird animation stopping me in my tracks. There have still been some weird issues like missed assignments in zone defense that really forced me to go with man to man coverage more often than I liked. There are also some clipping problems and I say at least a couple crazy tackles that sent my player 10 feet in the air after he was hit trying to make the catch. Kind of a mixed bag there, but I’d like to stress that those issues weren’t game-breaking or prevalent enough to be a deal-breaker.

An example of one of the Superstar X-Factors.

The big addition to this year’s game is the Superstar X-Factors. It’s a new trait system that forces you to keep tabs on anyone that might have that X over their head. These are players that can be true game-breakers that make an immediate impact on a play or even an entire game. Something like the Gambler ability can be valuable late in the game because that ability doesn’t allow a QB to throw an interception. On defense, the Zone Hawk ability give that player the ability to knock balls away and intercept passes at a higher rate. It’s fun to play as some of these players and, while I was initially worried that they would destroy the balance of the game, but there are ways to counter these abilities with your own X-Factor players and a bit of intelligent play-calling. It’s a pretty good addition to the game thus far and I think it’s something that can really be improved on in years to come. 

Madden Ultimate Team is back this year and the Solo Challenges are out. In their place are the new Ultimate Challenges which come with a 1,2, or 3-star difficulty level which nets you higher rewards if you choose the higher difficulty level. The thing I’m really loving about these challenges is that they’re really quick. It takes around 5 minutes to complete one of these and you can go into the next challenge right away. It makes all the difference in making it much less of a grind and a lot more fun.

Madden NFL 20 Review
One of many MUT Missions!

There are new Missions that reward you with some of the better items in the game. If you can collect 60 stars you’ll receive an 86 overall NFL Epic Baker Mayfield as an example. There are even more focused missions that require you to gain a specified amount of yards against certain a defense, and if you do so, the rewards are 500 coins and a Gridiron pack. There are a bunch of missions and more will be added throughout the season so you’ll definitely have something to strive for. The micro-transactions are still there, but there seems to be enough incentive to grind and get some decent players rather than having to pay for them this year, in my opinion.

QB1: Face of The Franchise replaces Longshot in Madden NFL 20 and this time you get to create your own character and play as a high school star and take him through story-driven career. I like this opportunity to give it a more personal approach. I never did understand why it wasn’t this way to begin with, but I did enjoy the previous Longshot modes as well. The coolest part about this is that you get to play as 1 of around 10 NCAA teams in the college football playoffs which is the first time in years we’ve had any bit of the NCAA in a football game so it’s a nice touch. It was a fun mode because my choices did manage to impact my path in some meaningful ways. If EA can build on this mode each year, I think it could become a fan-favourite.

Madden NFL 20 Review
It would be nice to see a new NCAA game.

Franchise Mode once again didn’t receive many improvements which seems to be an issue in the sports game genre as a whole right now. The first big thing I noticed was the contract negotiations are a bit more difficult and players now understand their value better and demand proper compensation not just in money, but in the term. There’s also a new system in place that requires you to keep your players happy through micro-management like getting them enough touches in a game. Keep throwing to one receiver and the rest of your receivers might have a dip in morale and performance. It’s cool to see something dynamic like that in the game and I hope that they can expand on this in the future. With that being said, I’m still very disappointed that this mode remains largely the same as it has for the past few years.

Madden NFL 20 Review
It’s not far from a TV broadcast.

On the presentation side, Madden NFL 20 looks a bit better with an improved lighting system. It’s not far off from what the TV Broadcast would look like at this point. I really don’t see how they can improve much more in this generation. Commentators Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis return and it’s pretty much the same type of lines we hear in last year’s game with some new commentary for the NCAA Playoffs. I expected some new lines, but I’m hearing a lot of repeats already and just erroneous comments at times. I’ve heard them mention that I threw a pass for a touchdown when it was clearly a rushing play…

ProsCons
QB1:Face of the Franchise is a great expansion on LongshotSame old Franchise
Superstar X-Factors change the gameTired commentary