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Madden NFL 20: First Impressions With a New Madden

Madden NFL 20

Madden NFL 20: First Impressions With a New Madden

Firing up Madden 20 for the first time brings some excitement. The new screen wipes are cool, and the menus are clean and simple to navigate. Whether you choose to play the Pro Bowl or not (I did), the excitement is palpable. Jonathan Coachman is back to greet you before games, and some nice presentation shows players running on the the field.

When you play the Pro Bowl, there are X-Factors galore. It gives you a good sense of how they work, but also can be a bit overwhelming at first. When you get into normal games within play now or franchise, you will have less to deal with and can concentrate on learning the ones you have to deal with on your own team. Personally, I like them so far. They make superstars feel like superstars.

On the field, a lot of the user feedback from the beta remains the same. Everything is also generally presented in a more realistic fashion. From the way the players line up facing forward on kickoffs to the way the kick returner catches the ball, there’s more focus here on the small things. I’ve also continued to see an improvement with player movement. The game moves faster and the players are more responsive. Ball-carrier moves are effective but not overpowered. In the running game, holes open and close. The better backs can hit them faster, the stronger backs can carry weight and move forward for some extra yards.

Passing is more fun this year as well. New pass trajectories are noticeable right away and super linebackers are gone. I feel more in control with my throws, and there is an obvious difference between star quarterbacks and average quarterbacks. However, there are some noticeable negatives in the passing game. It seems like zone defense needs some work on both sides of the human/CPU component. It seems defensive backs make some wrong moves and bad decisions. This is not on every play, but it does need to be looked at and hopefully is fixed in the day-one patch.

But overall, I think defense has been enjoyable to this point. Using edge rushers and linebackers with X-Factors is about as fun as it gets on defense to this point. When I play with the Browns and use Myles Garrett, he is a beast. He plays like an elite edge rusher. Pick another edge rusher with an 80-85 rating, and you should easily see the difference. But again, I have to go back to pass coverage. I found myself getting burned a little bit too often. CPU receivers seem to beat zone coverage pretty easily (as I mentioned previously). Even on short passes, they are getting big gains. Sliders may fix this issue, but again, a day-one patch would be ideal.

If you are skeptical of the CPU running game, don’t be. Every game I have played so far the CPU running backs have been able to put up respectable, if not huge numbers. This brings me to blocking. As for run blocking on both sides, I would say it’s done well. It seems to strike a balance between plays that are well blocked and plays that aren’t, just like in real life. User pass blocking is good for the most part, but you need to be quick. Gone are the days of 10 seconds in the pocket — you may get five if you are lucky. It also helps to step up in the pocket, or sometimes you just need to get out of there. In other words, quarterbacks who can move will have an advantage this year.

We will be digging into franchise mode in its own article once we’ve had more time with it, but in a quick overview, it looks like not a lot has changed on the aesthetics front. Everything looks similar but some stuff functions differently than last year. The Scenario Engine is on the clock, so to speak. It will take a little time to figure out how much this will improve the user experience. EA has promised that franchise mode will continue to get the love and attention it deserves in the future.

QB1 looks to be a very fun and entertaining mode. I played through the draft and It’s impressive so far. Other than just creating your appearance, you also have many choices to make that will shape your personality. This will apparently directly affect your draft stock, or how other players and coaches will see you. Once you are drafted, you then begin your legacy (as you are told). Hopefully this mode keeps me engaged in the coming weeks.

On the MUT side of things, it has received some love from the new gameplay changes — or better described as player archetypes and superstar abilities. The general team building will probably focus on those elements as you have your normal PvP, MUT Champions and Solo Battles. This year there is also a new structure for missions, which we also focus on in a future article. In short, I think the gamers who enjoy this mode will be happy this year.

There have been some reports of late-game CPU AI issues where the CPU isn’t in a hurry to do things when they absolutely should be. I haven’t noticed much of this myself. In the last game I played before I went to bed last night, the CPU was down 24-21 late in the fourth quarter and they ran hurry-up offense, called timeouts and even went for it on fourth and goal with a few seconds left. I’m not doubting this is an issue, but it may not be seen by all. Either way, if it is an issue for one person then it should be fixed.

Final Analysis

Overall, as just a brief first-impression overview, I feel like Madden 20 has taken a step forward in a lot of areas. And, of course, there are still some areas to be worked like with every sports game. Some of the issues mentioned here, and some that have been brought up other places, will hopefully be taken care of sooner rather than later in an upcoming patch.

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  1. I’m super surprised you had no issues with the cpu run game. The run blocking slider at 80 fixed it for me(mostly) but before that it was non existent. 
    CujoMatty
    I’m super surprised you had no issues with the cpu run game. The run blocking slider at 80 fixed it for me(mostly) but before that it was non existent.*

    I was a bit surprised as well. I was able to control average backs, but good ones moved the ball pretty well. I even had a few guys bust big runs on me.
    And I want to add an addendum to my impressions. I did see some poor late game management after I wrote this article. Doesn't seem to happen all the time for me though.
    I will definitely get into all this more thoroughly in my upcoming review.
    Excellent review. I am also happy about edge rushers being effective. I feel the x-factors was a good move by EA.
    I enjoy the pass trajectories and the ability to pass over LBs which have been brought to a reasonable level of movement and jumping. (Though I already see some YouTubers commenting about not being able to "lurk," hopefully EA doesn't listen to this rhetoric.
    Some complaints have been about the new controller mapping. I have lost a couple of games so far because I am used to double tapping the receiver button to throw a deep ball, and now it is the pump fake; I end up getting sacked a lot when I forget this new mechanic. But, it is on me to learn the new system, and I will adapt and conquer.
    We have to allow the game to evolve by learning the changes and nuances of changes within a game. If we push to revert changes back to a previous game version, because we have to learn something new, we will continue to see a game stuck in a rut.
    4thQtrStre5S
    Excellent review. I am also happy about edge rushers being effective. I feel the x-factors was a good move by EA.
    I enjoy the pass trajectories and the ability to pass over LBs which have been brought to a reasonable level of movement and jumping. (Though I already see some YouTubers commenting about not being able to "lurk," hopefully EA doesn't listen to this rhetoric.
    Some complaints have been about the new controller mapping. I have lost a couple of games so far because I am used to double tapping the receiver button to throw a deep ball, and now it is the pump fake; I end up getting sacked a lot when I forget this new mechanic. But, it is on me to learn the new system, and I will adapt and conquer.
    We have to allow the game to evolve by learning the changes and nuances of changes within a game. If we push to revert changes back to a previous game version, because we have to learn something new, we will continue to see a game stuck in a rut.
    The pump fake definitely got me sacked alot. It just takes getting used to. It's a weapon I haven't mastered yet but I hope to.
    The pass rush/edge rushers definitely change how I approach passing. I now have to have a set plan before I throw, which is good
    Sent from my moto g(7) supra using Tapatalk
    This game has an old school Madden feel to it and I love it! The pash rush is realistic and mistakes are punished, and that what makes this game fun to me. The team took a really big step in the right direction when it came to making the game sim style. Even Ultimate Team has been fair where you don’t really have to spend money to get good cards. Barring any game breaking patches, Madden 20 is a really good game to play.
    I haven't played a Madden in about a decade, but I decided to play some of the trial with EA Access. The thing that stood out to me the most after playing the single player mode was just how much I missed an NCAA/College Football title.
    Overall I had fun with the limited time I spent with the game, but I'm still not sure I'll actually pay real money for the full version after my 10 hours are up.
    Kid OS
    Quick question. When you do your review, what 3 aspects of the game will weigh the most in your score? Thanks for the write up.

    We don't do scores at OS. We believe it marginalizes the review since most people just look at the score and make assumptions based on it and not the actual review.
    As far as the three aspects, for me number one is always gameplay, but I can't break everything else in the game into two more aspects. Every aspect of the game is just as important than the other.
    I have the full retail version now and everything will be based off that. Not anything from the beta and not anything from the trial. (Although the trial is the full game)
    EDIT: There will be one more article just pertaining to gameplay coming out soon before the actual review. We like to be extremely thorough on AAA releases. And obviously Madden is the biggest sports game we review every year.
    It’s the first time I played a game and said “it’s got potential” which is weird to say about a game upon release lol. But it can possibly be the best Madden, but a few kinks just need to be worked out. Still trying to figure out if I should just get it after preseason or wait it out. I’m still actually playing out my M19 Franchise after rebuilding the Bucs. So I’m in no rush and wouldn’t deep dive into M20 until after NFL preseason anyway. If some more CFM changes were made it would be a day one purchase.
    Sent from my iPhone using Operation Sports
    I don't know if it's broken zone coverage but there has to ve a balnce between super linebackers and some that are still able to make a play for the ball. I've seen a lot of plays that the linebacker will look as the ball zooms right over his head. They need to react better to balls in their zone.
    Sent from my LG-AS993 using Tapatalk

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