Madden NFL 20 Review


By Sam Rector, Assistant Reporter

A few months ago, the video game Madden NFL 20 was released by EA Sports for PS4, XBox, and Microsoft Windows. People have grown wary of the franchise and EA in general, but I’m here to tell you this Madden is worth the buy. 

I’ll be the first to tell you I wasn’t a fan of Madden 19. Last year’s edition was faulty in many ways and that started with its play style. Running the ball was difficult, if not downright impossible. I felt like I was moving through molasses, even when I was feeding the ball to the likes of Saquon Barkley. So, I would have to resort to a game plan that consisted of only passing, and even passing was slow. In short, the game just wasn’t fun. 

After this dreadful experience, I was considering skipping Madden 20. However, I learned of the fundamental changes made to the game and I decided to give it a try. That was a good decision. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing over the past few weeks. Here’s why. 

First off, gone are the days where running the ball is impossible. Whether you go with an elusive or power back, ripping off big chunks of yardage on the ground is incredibly fun. That’s not the only improved part of the game, though. Passing and defense has also been refined. This is because of X-Factors. EA implemented the X-Factor system for the first time this year. An X-Factor is a player that can impact the game in huge ways. For instance, if Julio Jones catches three balls for 20+ yards each, he becomes virtually unstoppable until he drops a pass, which takes him out of the zone. There are defensive X-Factors, too, like Bobby Wagner, J.J. Watt, and Derwin James. Overall, X-Factors make the game exciting. You can dominate with them in the video game just like they dominate in real life. 

With the new X-Factor system came a new game mode. This mode is called Superstar KO, in which you play against online competitors in an elimination-style game. You start by picking a play style for your squad, which will determine who is on your team. Then, you pick three superstars to join your team based on the play style you’ve already picked. After you’re team is set, you have to score a touchdown against an online opponent and prevent your opponent from scoring as well. If you do this successfully, you move to the second round. You choose another superstar, and then play a new opponent. This cycle repeats until you lose and have to start over again. I personally find this mode very fun because I enjoy building super teams. If you like this style of play, then Superstar KO is for you. 

Another new experience is QB1: Face of the Franchise. Madden has incorporated campaigns like this before, but none as awesome as this. You start by creating your quarterback. As a five-star recruit, you get to choose the college you want to attend, where you’re promised the starting job. However, the #1 recruit in the nation decommits and also chooses your school. However, instead of transferring you stick it out until senior year, where this #1 recruit gets hurt right before the College Football Playoff. So, with no snaps to your name, you make your first start in the CFP semifinals. I love that they included some college ball this year, since everyone in the sports-gaming world wants a NCAAF video game. After you play through the CFP, you go the NFL Scouting Combine, where you participate in various accuracy drills. After this comes the draft and then the pros. It’s up to you to keep your job and upgrade your player from there. It’s another great mode that can provide hours of entertainment. 

Madden’s flagship program, Ultimate Team, also got some upgrades. I prefer to stay away from MUT because of the microtransactions, but I’ve heard EA has made it easier to upgrade teams. MUT is an undoubtedly fun mode, but it required either a lot of time or a lot of money to have a good team. Simply put, the goal of MUT is to upgrade your team to its maximum capacity. This created a pay-to-play mentality, where people would buy better players. So, the people without the means to upgrade were kicked to the curb. Now, EA implemented new challenges that make it easier to upgrade. Again, I’m not saying this from personal experience, but it does sound like EA made a conscious effort to improve MUT. 

Finally, I can talk about my favorite mode. I love Franchise mode. Specifically, fantasy drafts in Franchise. I like drafting my own team and trying to win a Super Bowl with that team. EA didn’t make many changes to Franchise, but why make changes to such a perfect game mode? If you haven’t tried a fantasy draft in Franchise, I recommend you do so in Madden 20. 

So, if you’ve heard the hype around Madden 20, believe it. It’s a ton better than Madden 19, and I’d recommend it to any football-loving XBox or PS4 player.