The start of the NFL season is upon us, and you may be in the mood to play some football to celebrate the beginning of a new year. However, Madden isn’t the only football video game out there. We here at SGO have played and reviewed a different type of football video game, titled Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2020.

Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2020

Draft Day Sports is a simulation-style game in which players control a professional football team and try to push their squad to a championship. Draft Day Sports gives players the option of either starting with a custom team, or selecting their team through a fantasy draft. Players also have several different options for their game, as you can either play in your own personal league, or go up against your friends in a multiplayer league.

Once in the game, players can build their squads through trades, and signing free agents. Players can quick sim through a week or even a season, or slow sim a game and go through it on a play-by-play basis.

Players can slow sim games in DDS, and choose their own plays against his or her opponents.

Customization Options are Aplenty Here

Draft Day Sports: Pro Football 2020 unfortunately does not have an NFL licensing deal, which means once a user loads up a game, he or she won’t find accurate NFL rosters, or logos and jerseys of any of the 32 National Football League teams. Instead, players will find randomized rosters, along with team names and logos that are similar to real-life, but not the real deal (i.e. the Los Angeles Lightning instead of the Chargers). However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to use your favorite real-life players in the game.

As is the case with Draft Day Sports: Pro Basketball 2019, there are plenty of customization options available to players. Users can create their own custom rosters and use them in the game. So, if players want to use a throwback roster or even the current NFL rosters, all that needs to be done is either creating a new file, or download one off of the Wolverine Sports forums.

In addition, there are several mods for the game that can be found on the forums (Note: these mods are user-created, and not by Wolverine Studios). These mods can allow players to install and use NFL logos and jerseys in the game, rather than the ones from Wolverine Studios. Check it out for yourself:

Users can download mods off of the Wolverine Studios’ forums in order to use accurate NFL logos and names.

Customizing a game can definitely enhance the gaming experience, and DDS does a good job of giving players plenty of options.

How is the sim engine?

When it comes to sim-style games, the most important part of it is the sim engine. Players can’t actually play in games in DDS, unlike in Madden and Maximum Football, so simming is the number one part of the game. And if the engine fails to sim in the way that it should, then all the customization options in the world really don’t matter.

One thing that I always look for in these games are if the elite players in the game perform better than average or slightly-above average players. If so, then the engine seems to work as it should. When I got into simming, one thing that I noticed is that players, especially quarterbacks, that were 84 or 85 overall were performing better than players in the 90’s.

On the surface, it looks like a red flag. If elite players in their prime aren’t performing as they should, then there is a major issue with the game. However, the reason for this isn’t because the game is flawed, but rather it is due to the other players that are around these superstars.

For an example, my franchise mode had Sam Darnold produce much better results than some of the other QB’s, and this was due to Le’Veon Bell having an outstanding season for the Jets. Bell is also an elite player, so it makes sense that he performed well. The thing that really stands out in this is that Darnold’s success was due to the strength of the team, and that the developers did a nice job in making sure that users have to build an entire team of good players, rather than acquiring one or two elite players and trying to have them carry the entire team. That’s not how the NFL usually works.

What could be improved?

For the most part, I don’t really have many issues with this game. DDS: Pro Football‘s sim engine is fine, and moves at a good speed as well. Also, users can receive a realistic experience and perform many of the same tasks that real GM’s and coaches have to handle on a day-to-day basis. Users can scout players in the upcoming drafts, set strategies, such as having a 3-4 or a 4-3 defensive setup, and make trades and sign free agents.

However, one thing that needs some tweaking is the home screen. Navigability is very important in sim-style games, and it can be a bit difficult to navigate around thanks to the small options to select from at the left hand side of the screen. A home screen with several menus across the screen to choose, similar to OOTP, would be a better visualization, and would be easier to navigate around.

Second, I feel like it can be a bit too easy to manipulate a GM’s ratings in this game in order to boost a user’s team. In the setup of a game, users are asked to input the strength of a GM’s personality, as well as trading and evaluating acumen. While I’m all for customization, I believe that giving players a preset of overall values would be a good option, as it would make it more challenging for users of the game. Otherwise, it just seems a bit too easy to manipulate the game.

Inputting the overall values of traits can be a good thing, but also make the game seem a bit too easy.

Verdict

Thanks to its plentiful customization options, as well as doing a good job of capturing the realism of a pro football GM, DDS: Pro Football 2020 can be an interesting sleeper option for players looking for an football experience outside of Madden. If sim-style games are interesting to you, this game might be worth a look.

Note: Wolverine Studios provided a license key to SGO for review

  • 8/10
    Gameplay - 8/10
  • 6.5/10
    Game Modes - 6.5/10
  • 6/10
    Presentation - 6/10
  • 7.5/10
    Longevity - 7.5/10
Overall
7/10

Summary

Sim-style games aren’t for everyone, but DDS can be quite fun for gamers who want to feel like managing their own team, and enjoy looking at sports from a different view. There’s also lots of potential thanks to a slew of customization options.