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What Feels Different in the Madden NFL 20 Beta

Madden NFL 20

What Feels Different in the Madden NFL 20 Beta

Every year, EA makes changes to its football juggernaut. Furthermore, those changes are usually hot topics among the gaming community, before inevitably playing second fiddle to the game’s glaring issues. And like one game after another, we are left wanting more. So with a chance to play this year’s game before its August 2 release, I was excited to get a front-row seat at what feels different in Madden 20.

Superstars Play Like Superstars

Aside from EA’s “Face of the Franchise” mode, Superstar X-Factors is this year’s next big thing. And although I have made my concerns very clear, I’m still uncertain on how I feel about the new feature.

First, having elite players that feel different than the rest of the 53-man roster is a much needed addition. And when using a guy like Patrick Mahomes, it should feel way different than using a Josh Rosen. On top of that, their stances, throwing motions and deliveries should look different as well. In short, this is something that is a positive improvement overall.

My biggest concern with X-Factors was how easy it would be to “get in the zone,” but this doesn’t seem to be as big of an issue as I had thought. However, when a player is in the zone, he can become nearly unstoppable. For instance, once Travis Kelce achieved three receptions of 30-plus yards or more, he was virtually unstoppable. The same could be said for Patrick Mahomes and several other superstars I had the luxury of using. Perhaps this is the way things should be when using the NFL’s elite. But for a fan of a team without a superstar quarterback or receiver, there could be a disadvantage from the start.

Overall, Superstar X-Factors was a needed addition to Madden 20. I just hope it’s not too easy to abuse, making it an uneven advantage for users.

Improved Offensive/Defensive Line Play

This has proven to be a sore spot for Madden dating back to its early days. And one can only imagine how difficult it is to get either unit to work cohesively. But if early impressions hold true, it seems night and day from previous installments.

On offense, linemen no longer miss blocks or blow assignments to the same degree. If an offensive lineman falls down, he is quick to get up. Most importantly, their ability in the passing game to create a clean pocket and give the quarterback adequate time is a breath of fresh air. And watching a pulling guard open up a big hole for Saquon Barkley to explode through was a thing of beauty.

On defense, I also noticed a huge difference. Elite pass rushers will beat lower-rated offensive linemen with ease and can break a clean pocket in a matter of seconds. And the number of sack fumbles I witnessed in a short amount of time seemed like a welcomed addition — gone are the days of quarterbacks having all day and night to stand in the pocket. I just hope things don’t change too much between now and the game’s final release.

It’s never going to be perfect, but there’s a noticeable difference in Madden 20.

Gameplay And Overall Feel

If you did not get the chance to play the beta, it is hard for me to explain exactly what I mean, but this year’s game just seems right and feels as good as ever. It reminds me of the game I once loved dating back to the PS2 days. The gameplay is fast but not too fast. And players feel far more refined than they have in the past as well. Watching the CPU seamlessly utilize jukes and other moves makes the game that much more competitive. I also saw things like the offense throw a quick screen to the wide receiver because the defensive back was giving too much cushion. It’s the little things that make this year’s game impressive at this juncture.

Believe it or not, I also witnessed a nice variety of penalties during the beta. I saw things like an ineligible receiver downfield, roughing the kicker, offensive/defensive holding and much, much more. Beyond that, passing trajectories are greatly improved and add a sense of realism to the game. And for the first time in years, offenses don’t have to account for the Robo LB. This is the best Madden has felt in years and should be a massive step in the right direction for the franchise.

It’s still too early to tell, but it appears Madden 20 is making the right steps towards righting its gameplay as we near the end of this console cycle.

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  1. gameplay feel so smooth, fluid and great.. Franchise Mode is so boring, stale and same from 19 but Scenario Engine is awful so far.. Superstar X Factor is fantastic addition to player development.. i don't think i buy this game on day one. maybe next year Madden 21 for next gen console : PS5 and Xbox Scarlett if EA able to add more new features in Madden 21 for PS5 and Xbox Scarlett : Gameplay, animations, Franchise Mode including coaching staffs : offense, defense and special team coordinator, real time dynamic weather and presentation need improve better
    NIce article. I did see an unnecessary roughness call on a LB for hitting a RB out of bounds; but most calls were for Facemask.
    I think most people, at least here and those I follow on twitter are hoping the pass rush stays strong. Though I feel it was nerfed some between friday and sunday night; even in the pro bowl.
    Though, the Pro Bowl as nearly impossible to play on friday due to near constant sacks by CPU team.
    What feels different? It feels like a successor to the PS2 era games and not the games we've been getting the last two generations. Easiest way for me to describe it.
    You were lucky enough to get a defensive holding called?
    Dang, I haven't had one called in 2 years, I thought they took that out a few years ago because of the competitive players complained it was ruining their passing game.
    roadman
    You were lucky enough to get a defensive holding called?
    Dang, I haven't had one called in 2 years, I thought they took that out a few years ago because of the competitive players complained it was ruining their passing game.

    The only way I have gotten a Defensive Holding call was by usering a defender (DB).
    roadman
    You were lucky enough to get a defensive holding called?
    Dang, I haven't had one called in 2 years, I thought they took that out a few years ago because of the competitive players complained it was ruining their passing game.

    It's part of the game so don't know how it ruins anything. It gets called in real games lol. Plus they can tune it down with the slider. I had to turn illegal block in the back down to 5 it was getting called so much in 2019.
    Rayzaa
    It's part of the game so don't know how it ruins anything. It gets called in real games lol. Plus they can tune it down with the slider. I had to turn illegal block in the back down to 5 it was getting called so much in 2019.

    It is part of the game and I hope they put it back in sim mode.
    Rayzaa
    It's part of the game so don't know how it ruins anything. It gets called in real games lol. Plus they can tune it down with the slider. I had to turn illegal block in the back down to 5 it was getting called so much in 2019.

    You don’t understand how important the MUT/Tourney crowd is to madden lol
    I was most pleasantly surprised that stonewall blocking is drastically reduced, even if I don't get off the blocker I can at least move the offensive linemen backwards. In past Maddens playing on the defensive line was boring and a waste of time, now is more fun, I hope this doesn't get nerfed.
    The Tourney crowd, the e-sport push, is a very important cog in the Madden quality machine. A game with millions of viewers, as a competitive sport for money, cannot be a glitchy visual mess. It has to be smooth. Sort of like the gameplay experienced in the M20 Beta.
    I believe defensive holding can, and should be in game, for user controlled players. I love to user the safety or CB, and a LB can also be usered into a receiver causing the receiver to be delayed and/or pushed off their route. I do this a lot against the CPU, especially after 5 yards.
    I seriously try to play this game as if I am a member of the 70s Oakland Raiders defense. I try to play as dirty as the program will allow. But darn EA for preventing a lot of dirty play, especially after the whistle. lol
    I still don't understand why they don't just remove defensive holding from Competitive only. We can turn penalties off on any mode through mods so you know EA should be able to as well.
    SolidSquid
    You don’t understand how important the MUT/Tourney crowd is to madden lol

    Yes but it's still a part of the game. Do they want offensive holding taken out too? A penalty is a penalty.
    Their motto is "it's in the game". Time for a new motto?
    What makes me so excited this year is not only the overwhelmingly positive beta impressions, but the also the very points this article makes. Superstars feel like superstars, line-play is greatly improved, and animations are smooth and realistic. If you asked me to make a wishlist of my top 3 gameplay improvements for madden 20, it would be these.
    roadman
    You were lucky enough to get a defensive holding called?
    Dang, I haven't had one called in 2 years, I thought they took that out a few years ago because of the competitive players complained it was ruining their passing game.

    Id like to get excited for this game but last 2 years I've not even been interested in pre madden hype.  I use to get this game every year since 95.  It's hard to take any talk of improvements seriously because of how many times I've been letdown this generation for this game.
    michaelhawj
    gameplay feel so smooth, fluid and great.. Franchise Mode is so boring, stale and same from 19 but Scenario Engine is awful so far.. Superstar X Factor is fantastic addition to player development.. i don't think i buy this game on day one. maybe next year Madden 21 for next gen console : PS5 and Xbox Scarlett if EA able to add more new features in Madden 21 for PS5 and Xbox Scarlett : Gameplay, animations, Franchise Mode including coaching staffs : offense, defense and special team coordinator, real time dynamic weather and presentation need improve better

    I hope Madden 21 isn't released on next gen consoles, I hope the first Madden game on next gen is Madden 22 but knowing EA's history they will probably release Madden 21 on next gen consoles in Dec of 2020.
    roadman
    Just had one in the beta this weekend.

    I saw a couple in the beta. On the PC with mods I see anywhere from 1 to 3 just about every single game.
    4thQtrStre5S
    NIce article. I did see an unnecessary roughness call on a LB for hitting a RB out of bounds; but most calls were for Facemask.
    I think most people, at least here and those I follow on twitter are hoping the pass rush stays strong. Though I feel it was nerfed some between friday and sunday night; even in the pro bowl.
    Though, the Pro Bowl as nearly impossible to play on friday due to near constant sacks by CPU team.
    Here's the thing the base 4 man rush is actually about the same. The difference is when an extra man is sent. Blitzing on the beta was very effective. The base pass rush was were it should be.
    Americas Team
    I hope Madden 21 isn't released on next gen consoles, I hope the first Madden game on next gen is Madden 22 but knowing EA's history they will probably release Madden 21 on next gen consoles in Dec of 2020.

    There's really no more console generations anymore. It's not like it's been in the past. Moving forward it will all be like the Xbox One X and the PS4 Pro. Same games work on both system, but one machine is more powerful than the other and will produce better performance. I don't think we'll run into what we did in the past.
    4thQtrStre5S
    I seriously try to play this game as if I am a member of the 70s Oakland Raiders defense. I try to play as dirty as the program will allow. But darn EA for preventing a lot of dirty play, especially after the whistle. lol

    Lol. Yeah, I actually don’t try to play dirty, but i
    Have to admit, I’m not against rubbing a defender in his route if I’m usering the mlb trying to cover a rb in the flat. Often, there’s a short crossing route over the middle. I end up rubbing that wr just enough to throw him off. In this case, it may be within 5 yards, but either way, he def gets physically moved off his spot a little allowing the cb who’s supposed to be covering him to catch up to him. This happens in the nfl, so I don’t mind doing it. But yeah, it’s just nice seeing the players bump off each other a little bit. In years past, they would’ve had a graphical glitch or something.
    And, if u do this at just the wrong time as cb chasing a wr deep, it may trigger a PI animation. So, there’s some risk/reward to it.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I don't understand why if EA made these three game modes and they make the game overall more skewed towards the comp crowd that they won't tune SIM mode more aggressively towards being sim. I'm thinking that maybe just the modes being split doesn't allow them to tune as much as initially thought. Like why not make the penalties actually occur at a real life rate at default in sim. CPU Qb accuracy sit around 60-70% on avg. I mean if it's SIM mode it's not like making a starting point where things are tuned to real numbers is going to run off the SIM crowd. Then if someone doesn't like it at those default settings they can turn penalties down or CPU acc up. I just think the modes need to be dramatically different.
    3Tears
    I don't understand why if EA made these three game modes and they make the game overall more skewed towards the comp crowd that they won't tune SIM mode more aggressively towards being sim. I'm thinking that maybe just the modes being split doesn't allow them to tune as much as initially thought. Like why not make the penalties actually occur at a real life rate at default in sim. CPU Qb accuracy sit around 60-70% on avg. I mean if it's SIM mode it's not like making a starting point where things are tuned to real numbers is going to run off the SIM crowd. Then if someone doesn't like it at those default settings they can turn penalties down or CPU acc up. I just think the modes need to be dramatically different.

    Yeah I agree, it's almost like they seem to just keep thinking they only have one game mode or something...
    They could do a lot more with tuning the game. The one eye opener when modding the game on PC was seeing how similar a lot of values were between all 3 modes. If EA really wanted to they could make each mode play noticeably differently. We did it already with the mods we have out.
    Americas Team
    I was most pleasantly surprised that stonewall blocking is drastically reduced, even if I don't get off the blocker I can at least move the offensive linemen backwards. In past Maddens playing on the defensive line was boring and a waste of time, now is more fun, I hope this doesn't get nerfed.

    I actually found the opposite, I like to play as the DE and was able to loop around while fighting the tackle like the CPU does in previous versions. In the beta I couldn't, I would get locked in and have to button mash until I could shed the blocker. The CPU controlled ends do it but I couldn't. Any idea what I'm doing wrong?
    Find_the_Door
    Here's the thing the base 4 man rush is actually about the same. The difference is when an extra man is sent. Blitzing on the beta was very effective. The base pass rush was were it should be.

    Base 4 man rush was way too weak last year, so if it’s “about the same” it’s broken... UNLESS the very good players actually dominate even with a four man rush.
    Yes, in Madden 19 the SACK numbers weren’t so bad, and the pressure numbers were close, but you know what was WAY off? Time between the snap and getting rid of the ball. And why? Because base four man pressure was absurdly weak. The only reason sack numbers weren’t low is because of the poor AI QB logic.
    OhMrHanky
    Lol. Yeah, I actually don’t try to play dirty, but i
    Have to admit, I’m not against rubbing a defender in his route if I’m usering the mlb trying to cover a rb in the flat. Often, there’s a short crossing route over the middle. I end up rubbing that wr just enough to throw him off. In this case, it may be within 5 yards, but either way, he def gets physically moved off his spot a little allowing the cb who’s supposed to be covering him to catch up to him. This happens in the nfl, so I don’t mind doing it. But yeah, it’s just nice seeing the players bump off each other a little bit. In years past, they would’ve had a graphical glitch or something.
    And, if u do this at just the wrong time as cb chasing a wr deep, it may trigger a PI animation. So, there’s some risk/reward to it.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Attempting to get a PI or holding call is part of the fun. I agree it is fun to see that players do react in a believable manner when rubbed/bumped.

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