A few quality-of-life improvements bring Madden back to championship status.
The Madden NFL series has something of a monopoly on professional football games. If you want NFL action, you have to go to Madden. That's made the series a little paradoxical - it never has to change much, but it's always...[read more below]
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A few quality-of-life improvements bring Madden back to championship status.
The Madden NFL series has something of a monopoly on professional football games. If you want NFL action, you have to go to Madden. That's made the series a little paradoxical - it never has to change much, but it's always got to be on point. Failure to present something new will hurt the series, but taking a risk is never necessary. For good or ill, Madden NFL 20 is the game that's struck a good balance between those two points.
Welcome to the Big Game Day!
At this point, Madden is the motto for professional football games. Madden has never been all that innovative, but it's now hit the point at which every new release feels a little more like an update. There are new rosters and a few new additions, but this is the same game you've loved for years.
The Madden franchise is ultimately about refining the presentation of football, not about innovation.
Madden's concept never changes because it had a goal from the very first game. At this point, every iteration is about getting closer to that goal - every other addition is just in service to making it farther along that path.
There's no denying that Madden has been an excellent looking franchise for quite some time. It's one of those games that you can always use to show off where graphics sit at any given moment, and Madden NFL 20 is no different, this is the best Madden's looked so far.
What's surprising, though, is that the graphical updates are so subtle.
The Madden series has always been one about adding lines to the back of the box, but all of this year's visual updates are comparatively minor. Instead of throwing in something new, it's just a series of fixes that make the game look gorgeous.
Likewise, the sound design is really good. The commentary is better this year, as are the sounds on the ground. The presentation inches ever closer to looking like real life, especially from a distance.
Perhaps the best part of this year's Madden is how it's managed to avoid its typical buggy early release. There are new fun bits that have been added to this iteration; the absolute best part is that the game works just as it is supposed to work.
There's a real focus on superstars this year, with X-Factors and new abilities that are limited to superstar players. These are the most significant additions to Madden NFL 20, and they provide a welcome extra layer to the strategy of the game. They'll alter the way that players look at the game, and that's a good thing in the world of Madden.
Beyond that, this is the year about little gameplay changes. If you enjoyed the late release, you'd still be reasonably solid with this one. It's Madden, and that's simply to be expected at this point.
Madden NFL 20 feels like a good compromise. It's got enough new additions to feel like a good purchase, but it's stable enough that nothing has broken since last year. That makes it an excellent, if safe, football game. How long Madden will be able to keep this up, though, really is anybody's guess.
With a few new features and an all-new story mode, Madden 20 brings football to life like never before.
What follows is the official description of Madden NFL 20, from the developers.
Celebrate NFL 100 with Madden NFL 20: Season 3! Honor the storied careers of NFL 100 legends in Madden 20. Face fresh challenges in Ultimate Team, play with new legends in Superstar KO, and master the latest X-Factors that show off the most revered NFL legends’ Superstar abilities on the field.
WAYS TO PLAY Face of the Franchise: QB1 - Be the Face of an NFL franchise where every decision you make matters in your journey to become an NFL Superstar. Create your own College Quarterback to play through the College Football National Championship playoffs and the NFL Combine for your shot at the NFL Draft and to be the face of a franchise in a new and personalized career campaign centered around you. Once selected to a team, engage with Madden’s new Scenario Engine which generates personalized playable scenarios, events, and dynamic challenges that build the story of your unique NFL career. Franchise - Simulate a full NFL career as a player, coach or owner with single-player and multiplayer online-connected leagues. Compete with up to 32 teams in your quest for a Super Bowl Dynasty. Complete with an annual Pro Bowl and Seasonal Awards. Ultimate Team - Compete in the ultimate NFL fantasy team-building mode featuring your favorite NFL players from the past and present. Play games, collect rewards, and upgrade your team with engaging live challenges all year long. Exhibition - Compete in head-to-head online and offline games (single and multi-player) or single player offline against the CPU. Customize your game settings including time of quarters, rules, stadiums, and uniforms. GAMEPLAY Superstar X-Factor – Feel the emotion, personality, and power of NFL Superstars with Superstar X-Factor, an all-new abilities progression system that reveals special abilities for today’s most exciting NFL Superstars when certain objectives are met in games. Combined with authentic personality & real player motion, the stars of the NFL truly come to life in Madden NFL 20. Take full control of player development with new ways to customize player abilities. Unique Playbooks – Playbooks are calibrated to be more unique from team to team providing more variety for strategic game-planning and in-game adjustments. Run/Pass Options – Run/pass option plays are now available to call, bringing even more NFL authenticity to today’s play-calling. On-Field Trainer – Learn how to improve as a Madden player with this cohesive, modernized teaching system that introduces new in-game mechanics over time as you progress and provides information about what happened after each play. New Pump Fake mechanic – Pump-fake to a specific receiver and fake out defenders with a new double-tap ‘throw cancelling’ mechanic. NFL Pro Bowl – Play the annual Pro Bowl within Franchise mode and ‘Face of the Franchise: QB1’ featuring all-stars from the AFC and NFC. Superstar-Driven Play-Calling – Play-calling tailored to the Superstars on your team to quickly get your stars involved when you need them the most. New celebrations – Over 20 new TD and First Down celebrations added to bring more swag to the biggest plays on the gridiron.
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