Going into Madden NFL 20, I had high hopes for a game that I, along with many other people, have grown up with. However, when diving deep into Madden NFL 20, it became more and more evident that EA has grown content with putting out the same product with a different title each and every year.
For starters, Madden NFL 20 attempts to intrigue users with its new “Superstar X-Factor” feature. This highlights the main strengths of the NFL’s top players so that players can use them in game. This includes examples such as Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ superb arm strength. Unfortunately, playing more and more exhibition matchups, it became clear that there was no real advantage to using those players. Other than the fact that their overall ratings were higher, the supposed X-Factors don’t prove to be as prevalent as the game makes them out to be.
Madden also returns with its Ultimate Team game mode. This allows players to create a fantasy team of their own to complete challenges and play other opponents with. We could talk about the issues behind EA Sports’ Ultimate Team throughout its whole collection of games forever. That being said, as far as Madden goes, those issues reveal themselves yet again. The task of trying to make a genuine team to truly compete usually takes a ton of time to collect. It’ll always cost a fortune to do so too, with players often shelling out ten dollars per player pack just to have a chance at a decent return. Ultimate Team has grown stale over the past few years for EA. It’s time for some type of shakeup to take place.
Perhaps the games biggest dud comes in “Face of the Franchise”, their revamped career mode. Going into gameplay, this feature was the most exciting sounding, coming with a story mode similar to”The Journey” from FIFA. I was was expecting Madden’s version to replicate. My expectations for this were far too high, and EA couldn’t have missed the mark more. For one, there is only about an hour of true story mode. The game takes a drastic turn into a normal career mode where your only real goal is to win games and upgrade your player. Yet another platform that has grown stale in recent years.
The further one goes into “Face of the Franchise,” the more it becomes apparent that EA put little to no effort in it. They didn’t really try to make a fresh game mode for their players. Rather than put genuine challenges and intriguing storylines, the mode feels like a gimmick. It just comes down to basic play-making and quite frankly, lazy writing for the storyline. Players will create their character and take part in this mode.
The story begins with the player deciding which college to play at. In a twist, they lose their starting spot to a five-star transfer. Rather than decide to take his talents elsewhere, the player decides to stick it out for four years. Due to an injury on the team, the circumstances allow him to play two games in the College Football Playoffs. In those games, it becomes painfully obvious that the result is already determined, regardless of how well the player performs.
After playing in those games, the created player participates in the draft combine. Rather than doing truly challenging tasks, the player merely needs to complete easy passes to undefended receivers in a certain spot on the field. Once complete, the created player is drafted, and so begins the routine sports game career mode. Overall, it would have been nice if EA would have put a much better effort forward with this mode. Madden is currently dealing with a major familiarity crisis that has to be addressed if the game wants to make significant strides towards being notable once again.
As a sports game, Madden NFL 20 isn’t necessarily a bad game. The gameplay flows at a good pace and playing basic one-on-one matchups with your friends is just as fun as ever. It’s really the constant repetitiveness that hurts Madden. Until they do something that can make a different year one to look back on, Madden will only fall further into a pit of staleness.