The latest iteration of the Madden NFL franchise has arrived, and the reviews across the web are fairly varied, but, thankfully, pretty positive. If you want to play some virtual football, Madden 20 seems to be the game for you. If you want a moving, cinematic experience—you might be disappointed.
Longshot, the plot-heavy story mode of Madden 18 and 19, is gone and replaced instead by QB1: Face of the Franchise. A less-bloated, quarterback-centric mode that enables players to create a QB, play some college football (for the first time since NCAA Football 14) and run through a full NFL career.
Fortunately, what the game lacks in cutscenes and forced drama is made up for in gameplay improvements—according to the majority of online reviews. We'll break some of those major reviews down and list out their scores.
Given my unparalleled mathematical prowess, I will do readers a favor and convert all scores to the 10 scale.
To start, good 'ol Metacritic has aggregated some critic and user reviews. At the time of writing, their critic aggregate, or Metascore, is 7.5 (based on nine critics) and their User Score is 3.7 (based on 20 users). Those users either shelled out extra money for the upgraded editions (and their early release dates) or are basing their reviews on the 10-hour early access for EA Members. Regardless, we're not inclined to trust them just yet, and their rating is actually an upgrade over Madden 19's 2.2 User Score.
As for professional reviewers, GameSpot gave the game an 8 and IGN gave it an 8.1. Both reviewers credit the same improvements: the on-field gameplay is smoother and the UI is much more accessible pre-play, in the playbook and in the Madden Ultimate Team mode.
GameSpot's Eddie Makuch even went so far as to say that the "on-the-sticks gameplay is the best it's ever been."
In a nod to the impact of ratings stretch, Forbes' Brian Mazique commended how appropriate player speed and strength appeared to affect in-game success. While giving the game an 8.1 score, he was right to point out that, despite gameplay improvements, this edition still omits fun sandbox options. You cannot create a team, relocate or expand the league in Franchise mode and you cannot create your own uniforms or stadiums in MUT.
SportingNews gives Madden 20 an 8 despite issues with AI awareness and Pro Bowl inaccuracy (a fun idea, but lacking the authenticity of the real Pro Bowl by including things like kickoffs despite their removal from the Pro Bowl in 2014).
GamesRadar does an excellent job summating most critics' sentiments, though. Face of the Franchise is cool because playing on a college team is fun, X-factors emulate real-game momentum appropriately and the UI improvements are useful.
Overall, Mark Delaney tells it like it is: "Like drafting a left tackle with the first overall pick, the changes to Madden 20 aren't flashy, but they feel like the right moves to make in order to compete for years to come."