Title: Madden NFL 20
Format: PS4, Xbox One
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Release Date: August 2, 2019
The Grade: B+
Madden 20 Haiku Review
Be an X-Factor
You’re the Face of the Franchise
What is it? The 31st edition of one of gaming’s most popular sports franchises. As you might expect, this latest edition of “Madden” is loaded with upgrades and new features.
Highs: While everyone has their favorite pro team, thanks to the popularity of fantasy football everyone is aware and can respect superstar players from other franchises. EA is using that to their advantage with new feature, Superstar X-Factors.
Each NFL team has at least one X-Factor player (The Broncos have two, the Browns have five, the Raiders have one, etc.) who make their mark in a “Madden” game, just like they do in real life. These are the players who make plays highlighted on “Sportscenter.” In years past, when playing with or against an NFL superstar in “Madden,” a linebacker like Von Miller wouldn’t necessarily play differently than any other defensive player.
However, with the new Superstar X-Factors, a select group of 50 players have the opportunity to make a bigger individual impact on the game. Von Miller is more dominant than before rushing from the edge. And Chris Harris Jr. is tougher in man-to-man coverage than his teammates and more likely to get interceptions.
Your odds for big plays go up when an X-Factor player is on the field, which makes a noticeable difference. If you haven’t before, you should certainly try playing “Madden 20" on the Arcade setting. This is where X-Factors are most impactful and over-the-top, yet the action is still realistic.
Madden Ultimate Team stands out once again, offering a number of different challenges that will keep you busy when you’re not playing franchise mode or the single player Face of the Franchise campaign. There’s a ton of ways to earn coins and packs, whether playing solo, with a friend or competitively. It’s serious fun and makes MUT a go-to destination for any “Madden” fan.
One of the most impressive aspects in “Madden 20” is the game’s excellent presentation. This series has always looked good, but enhanced graphics and player movement along with a more dynamic game day presentation make for a ridiculously engaging experience. It feels more like you’re controlling a real game than ever before.
Lows: The Longshot story mode is out, and in its place is Face of the Franchise mode. A change was certainly due, as the story of Colt and Devin had run its course. However, this new iteration lacks the star power of its predecessors. And while it’s highly replayable due to multiple story paths, the plot line and voice acting makes it feel like a JV version of The Longshot.
I also found the bare bones options for created players disappointing. I’m unsure why this feature has been minimized but if you’re used to creating your own players you’ll be surprised by its meager offerings.
The Grade: Even though it’s taken a couple of steps back in some areas, “Madden 20” remains as fun as ever thanks to an excellent MUT mode, the new X-Factors feature and a first rate game presentation. Much like Terrell Davis in the fourth quarter, the “Madden” franchise is still going strong.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.