EA PLAY, Electronic Arts’ own version of E3, wrapped up this past weekend in Los Angeles. Anyone who attended was able to get a chance to play Madden NFL 20 early. In addition, attendees were able to get a code for the game’s upcoming closed beta. The beta will start Friday, June 14 at noon and end Sunday, June 16 at midnight. After testing the game out this weekend, SGO’s The Natural has a laundry list of first impressions.

MADDEN 20 FIRST IMPRESSIONS – THE GOOD

Right away, an emphasis on player movement is noticeable. RPM 2.0 (real player motion) definitely has an imprint on Madden NFL 20. Over the past two months, EA developers mentioned that they want to give gamers total control of their players, specifically ball carriers. Early indications show they’ve done just that.

The pass rush is improved in Madden 20. Interior lineman get a better push, and good edge rushers are powerful. The quarterback now has less time to release the ball in general. Additionally, it’s now harder to complete “high-ball” passes, so it’s a general nerfing of those types of unrealistic animations.

Good quarterback ratings are even more imperative in Madden NFL 20. Backup and mediocre quarterbacks are rated much lower than previous years, and the differences are more noticeable than ever. The release of quarterbacks even matters more this year. Players like Aaron Rodgers have a quick release that impacts the game.

One concern with the new x-factor and superstar abilities is that they’ll be overpowered and possibly unrealistic, perhaps breaking the game. While the abilities can change the game, they don’t break it, and there are counters to an opposing player’s abilities.

Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner are the only linebackers with the ability to sky for the ball and make acrobatic interceptions in this year’s game. Gone are the days of 65 overall linebackers soaring to intercept a pass 30 yards down the field.

AI blocking, both the animations and the logic behind it, have long been a problem in each version of the madden NFL series for the past several years. In madden 20, run blocking has certainly been addressed. Running plays, especially how wide sweeps tosses stretches etc. look a lot smoother and play better too. However, pass blocking seems to be an issue again as the offense of Lyman simply don’t look like they work together well, at least not at this point.

Playbooks and general coaching are vastly improved in Madden 20. Playbooks have more variation than ever before, and truly reflect the corresponding coach’s philosophies. Also, coaching adjustments now allow players to automatically base align or man align (or default alignment).

Quarterback mobility is something that the developers it EA clearly put a lot of time into. It’s obvious that they want Lamar Jackson and Tom Brady to have wildly different speeds, such as they would in real life. In previous installments of Madden, scrambling quarterback’s were certainly faster then pocket passers, but the difference was not vast enough. The problem was that quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage all had very similar speeds. This year, there’s an emphasis on limiting unrealistic rollouts and scrambles, particularly from immobile quarterbacks. Quarterback fumbles are also far more common.
Football purists and competitive madden players are hoping that special moves such as jukes spins trucks etc. are toned down in Madden 20. So far, the game seem to deliver on that. Even though the running game was smooth, special moves did not seem like ways to overcome bad blocking, playcalling or user stick work.

 

MADDEN 20 FIRST IMPRESSIONS – THE BAD

In Madden 20, quarterbacks can pull down the ball and remove passing icons, run around and turn the icons back on. It’s a good idea to try and buy time to make a throw, but players like Lamar Jackson and Mike Vick could make this a cheesy experience.

Franchise mode largely seems the same. There’s a new interface and the look is certainly different, but the features don’t appear to be improved or altered much.

AI blocking, both the animations and the logic behind it, have long been a problem in each version of the madden NFL series for the past several years. Pass blocking seems to be an issue again, as the offensive lineman simply don’t look like they work together well enough, at least not at this point.

Wide receivers are still dropping wide open passes. With the improved pass rush, it’s harder to get the ball out. Open passes just can’t be dropped in a video game.

RPO’s are a great addition to the game, but need to be polished. Quarterback throwing animations on RPO plays seem off. The plays run smoothly, but it doesn’t quite look like the defense has much of a chance against them.

When attempting to jam a receiver at the line of scrimmage, it seems that defensive backs lose the battle and stumble far too often, leading to huge chunk plays.

You can read more about the Madden NFL 20 beta here.

What do you think about our first impressions of Madden NFL 20 gameplay? Do you have any additional gameplay questions or concerns? Let us know in the comment section below, and don’t forget to subscribe to SGO on YouTube.


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