The NFL is considered one of the greatest shows on earth. The pregame hype, the fireworks, the fans and the traditions all come together to create a football environment unlike any other. Does Madden 20 deliver on these fronts? Let us take a deeper look at that with my review of Madden 20‘s presentation and graphics.
The build to the opening kickoff is a major aspect of the game. It is the point where talk is over and it is time to separate the men from boys. Madden 20‘s presentation into gameplay includes just about everything we saw from Madden 19. While playing I noticed some clean up of the pregame, but basically it is the same. The initial voice-over brings you into the game by introducing the teams, but it is quickly passed off to the commentators to take it from there. Not much occurs prior to kickoff other than that.
There isn’t much difference between standard games, and Thursday, Sunday or Monday Night Football. From a presentation standpoint, this could have been an area that was improved more. In the real world, there is a distinct difference between the Sunday afternoon matchups on TV and primetime matchups. A brief intro video into a primetime game, something along the lines of what WWE or NBA 2K do before matchups, would have provided a different feel. Interestingly enough, the Madden intro videos had me more hyped than any of the other pregame introductions. The halftime presentation has been basic in all the years I have played Madden. I think the majority of fans look to ESPN NFL 2K5 as the gold standard for presentation in this area. Until presentation is considered to be a priority above all else, I would not count on any further huge upgrades to this area.
The commentary in Madden 20 is implemented quite well. Just like in Madden 19, the commentary is fresh and up to date. There is good timing with the announcers and how they communicate with one another. This allows for a great conversational aspect that helps the commentary flow along with the events occurring during the game. Madden 19 was very similar in its commentary success, but with Madden 20 you can hear commentary has been polished even further to enhance the gaming experience. As in most sports titles, for the commentary to blend well, you often have to let the game breathe a little instead of button mashing in between plays. The best part about the commentary system is the fact that it will change as the season progresses in the real NFL. However, this is only in play now or online games. When players put up huge numbers or teams are undefeated, Madden 20 commentary will reflect this in the game.
Stadiums Differences & Sounds
Another aspect I consider to be extremely important in terms of presentation is stadium differences. Each stadium should have a different feel. Madden 20 beautifully accomplishes this task. When playing in Green Bay, you hear all the sounds as you would in real life. All graphics relate to the stadium they belong to and the contrast when playing in different stadiums is noticeable. For example, when playing in Green Bay and then playing in Los Angeles with the Rams, the feel was much different. That is what you are looking for as a fan and gamer. You want to feel the tradition, vibe and experience of each stadium. All are unique, and Madden 20 delivers.
Franchise presentation offers a bit of variety. However, there could be even more variety with differences in presentation overlays, like scoreboards and on-screen graphics. What I’m thinking of here is something similar to what MLB The Show does with different presentation themes to keep the game fresh. Beyond that, a normal one-off game will contain commentary aspects towards events occurring in the real NFL. In other words, Madden 20 does a decent job in terms of commentary and presentation by focusing on events that are occurring in your season. At the same time, the game isn’t doing anything beyond what you would expect. You’ll hear announcers commenting on the state of the division and playoff race, but you’re not getting that deeper layer that makes you feel like you’re part of the entire league when not in the game.
Madden 20 delivers in terms of graphics. This game is beautiful. I often catch myself instant replaying runs and throws just to see how beautiful the game looks. The jerseys, helmets and shoes are all on point and look great in a variety of different settings. Each quarterback I control is closer than ever to actually giving me a feeling like I’m using a unique player. Philip Rivers looks and feels like him when controlling him play after play. Then when I suit up with quarterbacks like DeShaun Watson or Aaron Rodgers, I get the feel of controlling those players and taking on their playing characteristics without paying much attention to it. There is a feeling of separation between positions as well. The detail to height and weight differences are what make this game shine.
To cap it off, the sky at different times of day changes the lighting in the stadium, and when those lights hit the helmets at night I am amazed by the reflections and the realism of it all.
What I Would Like To See
In terms of presentation, Madden 20 could benefit by simply expanding. The addition of custom in-game music would take this game to the next level. Custom gameplay cameras would also increase freshness as well. It could also use different presentation themes, commentators or intro videos for primetime games. Lastly, when you’re not playing those four quarters on Sunday, the game has to do a better job making you feel like you are part of a 32-team league in franchise mode. This can come in the from of an actual weekly show, a more in-depth halftime presentation, replays from other games, or just better ways of bringing you inside the news of the league.
Madden 20 is mostly able to deliver an immersive experience with its presentation and graphics. In other words, what actually exists in the game right now is done successfully on the whole. Whether it is through Ultimate Team, franchise mode, online, or standard play now games, EA is at least trying to make each mode feel a little bit unique. Basically, EA really just needs to focus more on making you feel like you’re part of an actual league when in franchise mode by either giving us a weekly show or really adding on to the halftime presentation to include replays and more thoughts from around the league. EA is already doing “live” commentary week to week, and it seems like a perfect time to add to that concept and create a way to show more things from around the league in play now and franchise mode.
The commentary in the game shines and generates a feel that is far and beyond any Madden game I have ever experienced. As it relates to visuals, I am not disappointed in Madden 20. All aspects of the graphics have been touched on, which creates a crisp look and feel. The details don’t quite have the depth of games like MLB The Show, but visually the game pops off the screen. Much like with other aspects of the presentation, the developers really just need to step up now and create more variety to make games not feel so static week to week. Having some different UI and intros for primetime games, for example, would really add a lot.
Player uniforms, gloves and helmet details look amazing. The top player personalities look, run and throw like their real-life counterparts. I found myself instant replaying almost every play because I wanted to see these graphics up close. If you choose to pick up Madden 20, I do not think it will be the graphics or presentation that will make you turn off the game.