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Madden NFL 20 Beta Gameplay Overview

Madden NFL 20

Madden NFL 20 Beta Gameplay Overview

With the Madden 20 beta now wrapped up, it’s time to look at some of what was going on with the gameplay over the weekend.

Offense

Let’s start off with the player movement. Last year, the folks at EA Tiburon introduced a new player movement system they called Real Player Motion. And while it was something different, it was a bit wonky and limited in how players could move. The developers have not mentioned anything about player movement this year being a refined version of Real Player Motion, so it looks like they may have abandoned this moniker and aren’t really dubbing player movement with some fancy marketing name. But to be honest, they could if they wanted to.

I feel like player movement is the best it has been in years. A lot of people were a little skeptical about the new faster player movement and gameplay overall, but I think I can put those fears to rest as these changes seem to be just what the game needed. Everything feels smoother. Animations seem to have been improved, with a lot of new ones added. I really like the signature quarterback throwing animations as well. Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers and others look great. Even the quarterbacks without a signature throwing animation seem to have better looking throws.

Speaking of quarterbacks, the passing game seems to also have been substantially upgraded. Ball trajectories were in need of a serious adjustment and this year we got it. Passes can now be floated with more control, and this creates more time for a receiver to get under the ball and make a play. And the best part of the whole thing is that we can finally throw the ball over the linebackers covering the middle of the field It really feels a lot like NFL 2K’s Total Control Passing.

Adding RPOs this year really brings a new strategy to the game. Having to know whether to get that quick pass off or let you running back keep the ball makes it more of a chess match. Sometimes you can fool the defense and make a big play, but they definitely aren’t overpowered. And if you wait too long, you sometimes get an illegal man downfield penalty, so it’s good that they put that in the game. You always need checks and balances. Overall, I like what Madden 20 brings this year with the passing game.

One of the worst things about Madden in the last few years has been the running game. This applied to both human and CPU players. From what I, and a lot of others have seen, the running game also seems to have been improved at least a bit. In all the games I played — and there were many — I loved the running game. It’s not too easy, but it’s not too hard. It feels like the perfect balance. And when it comes to the CPU running game, it also seems to be much better. I’ve seen the CPU running backs perform up to their skill level in most games. Players like Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara put up strong numbers. CPU running backs don’t just run into their linemen anymore either. Instead, they hit the holes and use special moves. I’ve gotten my ankles broken many times by juking running backs.

I also need to mention Superstar X-Factors. I’ve mostly been playing as the Browns, and Myles Garrett and Odell Beckham Jr. are beasts. Once you get their X-Factors activated it’s pretty fun watching them dominate. I know that not everyone likes this new addition, and I respect that opinion. So when I say I like it, and how much fun it adds to the game, this is just my opinion. But I do feel like it adds a new dynamic to the game, and since you have to worry about top players now, it becomes a bit of a chess match when it comes to how you have to game plan to stop them. But one thing about this new addition to the game that is unfortunate, is that no offensive linemen have any Superstar X-Factor abilities. Maybe this will be added in via patch, or maybe we will have to wait until next year.

Defense

I also feel like playing defense is more fun this year. And again, I go back to the Superstar X-Factors. Playing with guys like Aaron Donald feels like playing with someone of his skill level now. It’s not the same as playing with the 78-overall defensive tackle on any other team. I get more “wins” and get to the quarterback faster in most cases, but not all cases, so I think there is a balance there. You can’t just blow the blockers up every play. I hope EA keeps it this way and doesn’t make any of the Superstar X-Factors any more powerful than they already are. (I noticed some reports about how pass rush changed throughout the beta this past weekend.)

In terms of the pass rush overall, I think there is variety. I feel like I can generate decent pressure on defense with higher-rated players and Superstar X-Factors, but with lower-rated players I seem to get stonewalled a lot. When I’m playing offense, I feel like the time to throw is pretty much close to reality as I don’t expect it to get the same amount of time on every play. It varies for me from “got to get rid of it right now” to getting some nice pass protection and time in the pocket. We’ll see how EA handles it going forward.

I also notice the zone and man coverage are a little better this year. While still not perfect, defenders seem to play the ball better and make the right reads more often than not. It feels like when I beat the defense, I did it with user skill by finding a soft spot in the zone or taking advantage of a one-on-one mismatch go route rather than by exploiting bad programming. I’m not saying we won’t see that at times — it’s inevitable — but any improvement in this area is a welcome change.

Wrapping Up

So after playing many hours of the beta, in my opinion, Madden 20 has taken a step forward to this point. It’s not a giant leap but a solid step. In short, it feels more like football than it has in a very long time. But this is the beta so things are going to change between now and release. Let’s hope the changes are positive and the good parts get even better, and the things that still need work need less work by the time of release.

Madden 20 has my attention. For me, I think the beta is enough to warrant a purchase day one. How about you guys?

12 Comments

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Discussion
  1. Yup. I think I agree with everything mentioned here. I’ve never been ‘blown away’ by any madden title. But, those are the words I’ve been using describing my time with the beta. I think the sheer crispness of this game, already, in the beta just blows me away. Especially, from madden. And, that’s another word that just describes this game’s gameplay, ‘crisp.’ These past several games have always had something glitchy going on right out of the gate. This game truly feels polished at this point. The player movement and responsiveness to user input is truly like nothing I’ve ever seen in a madden game. It’s that good this year.
    The x-factor stuff seems well implemented, albeit from a small sample size. But, I went up against J.J. Watt once, and he got in the zone. I’m not sure whether I slid my protection to his side or whether the scenario dictated him getting double teamed, but I watched a replay of him absolutely muscling 2 Olinemen at the same time. Lol. He was pushing both of them back and just the ferocity in his animations was fantastic. Now, because he was double teamed, he did NOT get my qb. I had time in the pocket, and got a pass off. That may have taken him out of the zone, actually. But, simply seeing not only the double team of him, specifically, but watching him battle both men and almost win was fantastic.
    I was really unsure of how the x-factor stuff would play out, but for me, I feel it really does differentiate superstar players. And, as a person who doesn’t like extra on screen clutter, I thought the flaming x would be a distraction. It’s not. It really isn’t. It’s just small enough to not interfere with what I’m looking at, but it’s big enough to alert me that someone is in the zone and I should pay attention to it. I love it.
    This game really put a lot of small things together as well, imo. Here’s my list of small things that felt ‘fixed’ or ‘better’ than previous maddens:
    1. Smooth animations. Smooth transition animations.
    2. On field player chatter
    This is SOOOOOOOO much better than any other madden. It hasn’t been mentioned much, but I am telling u, it is so much better. U really hear them jabbering out there. And, specifically on important downs. 3rd downs, for sure.
    3. Crowd noise - this still didn’t sound amazing to me, and, again, with a small sample size, hard to tell, but I felt like they were responding appropriately to plays and just sounded a little louder as they should.
    4. Replay angles and zoom. This is finally done correctly, imo. They show 2-3 replays and the zoom and angles just seemed much more appropriate than any other madden. And, it’s not they just seemed ‘appropriate,’ they seemed ‘correct’.
    5. Stiff arm finally works. Lol. I have been a fan of the stiff arm since nfl Gameday 97 allowed u to just punch fools in the face. Lol. Now, while I’ve always wanted a more realistic stiff arm to that old school arcade type feel, I feel like madden has NEVER done the stiff arm justice. I remember playing with Stephen Jackson back in the day. He had such a great stiff arm irl, but I never saw it in madden. I saw a few worthy stiff arms in the beta, so I’m happy about that.
    All in all, the overall polish they put on this game is remarkable, especially when compared to prior madden releases. They just seemed to have tied so many things together at this one point in madden history, lol, in terms of gameplay. Now, CFM is a whole other thing, it’s still not as deep as it should be. I started playing nhl 19 recently and started a franchise, and, legit, was like, ‘wth is all this stuff in here?!’ Lol. They have all kinds of scouting tiers and team management things going on. Honestly, I’m not a hockey guru, so it’s a little overwhelming, but I could see myself figuring it out in a season or 2 and really enjoying that depth. With ea teams borrowing from each other, maybe they’ll put some of that into madden in the near future.
    But, for now, for me, they have nailed the gameplay, and I’ll be playing multiple seasons with this bad boy when it comes out.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    OhMrHanky
    Yup. I think I agree with everything mentioned here. I’ve never been ‘blown away’ by any madden title. But, those are the words I’ve been using describing my time with the beta. I think the sheer crispness of this game, already, in the beta just blows me away. Especially, from madden. And, that’s another word that just describes this game’s gameplay, ‘crisp.’ These past several games have always had something glitchy going on right out of the gate. This game truly feels polished at this point. The player movement and responsiveness to user input is truly like nothing I’ve ever seen in a madden game. It’s that good this year.
    The x-factor stuff seems well implemented, albeit from a small sample size. But, I went up against J.J. Watt once, and he got in the zone. I’m not sure whether I slid my protection to his side or whether the scenario dictated him getting double teamed, but I watched a replay of him absolutely muscling 2 Olinemen at the same time. Lol. He was pushing both of them back and just the ferocity in his animations was fantastic. Now, because he was double teamed, he did NOT get my qb. I had time in the pocket, and got a pass off. That may have taken him out of the zone, actually. But, simply seeing not only the double team of him, specifically, but watching him battle both men and almost win was fantastic.
    I was really unsure of how the x-factor stuff would play out, but for me, I feel it really does differentiate superstar players. And, as a person who doesn’t like extra on screen clutter, I thought the flaming x would be a distraction. It’s not. It really isn’t. It’s just small enough to not interfere with what I’m looking at, but it’s big enough to alert me that someone is in the zone and I should pay attention to it. I love it.
    This game really put a lot of small things together as well, imo. Here’s my list of small things that felt ‘fixed’ or ‘better’ than previous maddens:
    1. Smooth animations. Smooth transition animations.
    2. On field player chatter
    This is SOOOOOOOO much better than any other madden. It hasn’t been mentioned much, but I am telling u, it is so much better. U really hear them jabbering out there. And, specifically on important downs. 3rd downs, for sure.
    3. Crowd noise - this still didn’t sound amazing to me, and, again, with a small sample size, hard to tell, but I felt like they were responding appropriately to plays and just sounded a little louder as they should.
    4. Replay angles and zoom. This is finally done correctly, imo. They show 2-3 replays and the zoom and angles just seemed much more appropriate than any other madden. And, it’s not they just seemed ‘appropriate,’ they seemed ‘correct’.
    5. Stiff arm finally works. Lol. I have been a fan of the stiff arm since nfl Gameday 97 allowed u to just punch fools in the face. Lol. Now, while I’ve always wanted a more realistic stiff arm to that old school arcade type feel, I feel like madden has NEVER done the stiff arm justice. I remember playing with Stephen Jackson back in the day. He had such a great stiff arm irl, but I never saw it in madden. I saw a few worthy stiff arms in the beta, so I’m happy about that.
    All in all, the overall polish they put on this game is remarkable, especially when compared to prior madden releases. They just seemed to have tied so many things together at this one point in madden history, lol, in terms of gameplay. Now, CFM is a whole other thing, it’s still not as deep as it should be. I started playing nhl 19 recently and started a franchise, and, legit, was like, ‘wth is all this stuff in here?!’ Lol. They have all kinds of scouting tiers and team management things going on. Honestly, I’m not a hockey guru, so it’s a little overwhelming, but I could see myself figuring it out in a season or 2 and really enjoying that depth. With ea teams borrowing from each other, maybe they’ll put some of that into madden in the near future.
    But, for now, for me, they have nailed the gameplay, and I’ll be playing multiple seasons with this bad boy when it comes out.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    In addition to the player chatter, another feature I don’t see people mentioning is the new PA announcer. If you turn off the commentary he is calling the game just like a real PA guy and I’m hoping that in the full version they have the crowd matching him on the first down call when he goes, I.E. “Travis Kelce on the reception, gain of 25 yards, that’s good for a Kansas City Chiefs First Down!”
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    jpdavis82
    In addition to the player chatter, another feature I don’t see people mentioning is the new PA announcer. If you turn off the commentary he is calling the game just like a real PA guy and I’m hoping that in the full version they have the crowd matching him on the first down call when he goes, I.E. “Travis Kelce on the reception, gain of 25 yards, that’s good for a Kansas City Chiefs First Down!”
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Right on. I think you’re right. I did notice more/better chatter from him as well. I’m an ‘on field’ audio type of guy, but I adjust each audio piece to my own liking. For years, I’ve tried cranking up crowd noise, on field sound effects, and PA announcer, and it just never seemed like any of that sounded ‘good’ or was even there at all! Lol
    The PA announcer would announce some things every once in awhile in previous maddens. So, yeah, having him announcing more play by play stuff really gives the game more of a stadium feel. Can’t understand why this hasn’t been better/updated in the past, but as I said earlier, imo, they really seem to have improved all of these little things for one title. Glad they finally did.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    steelheat226
    Special Edition is already paid off for me. July 30th can't come soon enough. ��

    Yeah, I have the PC Ultimate Superstar Edition via Origins Premier and the Xbox One Ultimate Superstar both ordered. July 25th for me, still too long to wait..
    ODogg
    Yeah, I have the PC Ultimate Superstar Edition via Origins Premier and the Xbox One Ultimate Superstar both ordered. July 25th for me, still too long to wait..

    ODogg, So I have the middle tier Madden pre-ordered and it's $79.00 on PC, but no premier. So would I need to sign up for premier to play it on the 25th on PC plus the 79.00? I'm confused on this works.
    Gameplay was a solid 7/10 for me. My main issues were players shifting for bs animations, no pocket collapse, hurry up defense was dreadful, not enough physics based play, no defensive redzone awareness, no ability to move defensive linemen pre-snap, bad pursuit angles, CPU QB's wouldn't scramble, heavily animated catches, and linemen having absolutely 0 awareness of their surroundings.
    Fix those things and you have close to perfect gameplay. The beta felt like next-gen NCAA Football to me. The fun factor was also a 7/10.
    One of the worst things about Madden in the last few years has been the running game. This applied to both human and CPU players.
    From what I, and a lot of others have seen, the running game also seems to have been improved at least a bit. In all the games I played — and there were many — I loved the running game.
    It’s not too easy, but it’s not too hard. It feels like the perfect balance. And when it comes to the CPU running game, it also seems to be much better. I’ve seen the CPU running backs perform up to their skill level in most games. Players like Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara put up strong numbers. CPU running backs don’t just run into their linemen anymore either. Instead, they hit the holes and use special moves. I’ve gotten my ankles broken many times by juking running backs.

    love to hear this.
    DaReal Milticket
    ODogg, So I have the middle tier Madden pre-ordered and it's $79.00 on PC, but no premier. So would I need to sign up for premier to play it on the 25th on PC plus the 79.00? I'm confused on this works.

    To play it on the 25th, on PC anyways, yeah you'd need Origin Premier. You could cancel your $79 Madden order and then just pay $20 more and get Origin Premier and you'd have the Ultimate Superstar Edition on July 25th.
    But just realize that you are paying for basically one year of Origin Premier, not the actual game. So next year if you do not renew you cannot play anymore Madden 20.
    But in all reality you'll probably want Madden 21 anyways.
    I honestly think the absolute best way to go on the PC is pay $99 for Origin Premier, get not only Madden Ultimate but FIFA Ultimate and maybe even NHL Ultimate (no confirmation yet but the rumor is this year NHL is coming to PC) plus all the other EA games as well. It's a real bargain.
    The only way it is not a bargain is if you just absolutely do not have any interest in any game except for Madden from EA and plan to play Madden 20 for more than a year.
    Otherwise yeah I think you should cancel your $79 preorder of PC Madden and then maybe July 20 go ahead and pay $99 for Origin Premier.
    ODogg
    To play it on the 25th, on PC anyways, yeah you'd need Origin Premier. You could cancel your $79 Madden order and then just pay $20 more and get Origin Premier and you'd have the Ultimate Superstar Edition on July 25th.
    But just realize that you are paying for basically one year of Origin Premier, not the actual game. So next year if you do not renew you cannot play anymore Madden 20.
    But in all reality you'll probably want Madden 21 anyways.
    I honestly think the absolute best way to go on the PC is pay $99 for Origin Premier, get not only Madden Ultimate but FIFA Ultimate and maybe even NHL Ultimate (no confirmation yet but the rumor is this year NHL is coming to PC) plus all the other EA games as well. It's a real bargain.
    The only way it is not a bargain is if you just absolutely do not have any interest in any game except for Madden from EA and plan to play Madden 20 for more than a year.
    Otherwise yeah I think you should cancel your $79 preorder of PC Madden and then maybe July 20 go ahead and pay $99 for Origin Premier.

    Ok, that makes sense. I think I'm going to do what u said - cancel my pre-order & get premier. Thanks for clearing that up. Sorry to derail the thread everyone, but this is a big deal lol.

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