Last year, EA Sports' NHL series introduced the World of CHEL, a new game hub that featured a user's created character, combined game modes and unified rewards. That's being taken to another level in NHL 20.
An expanded World of CHEL is only one of the many new features gamers will find in NHL 20, which will be released Friday. This year's game features 21-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews on the cover for the first time.
NHL 19 received generally favorable reviews, according to Metacritic (82 rating for Xbox One, 80 for Playstation 4), so it will be interesting to see whether this year's iteration of the NHL franchise will continue to build off the improvements and features last year's game brought.
With the impending release of NHL 20, here's everything you need to know about the game.
Top Player Ratings
1. Connor McDavid, C, Edmonton Oilers: 94
2. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh Penguins: 93
3. Nikita Kucherov, RW, Tampa Bay Lightning: 92
4. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals: 92
5. Nathan MacKinnon, C, Colorado Avalanche: 92
6. Patrick Kane, RW, Chicago Blackhawks: 91
7. Victor Hedman, D, Tampa Bay Lightning: 91
8. Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings: 91
9. Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Tampa Bay Lightning: 91
10. Carey Price, G, Montreal Canadiens: 91
Full player ratings available at EASports.com.
The World of CHEL has expanded for NHL 20 to feature weekly in-game events across modes that will unlock customization rewards, character XP and more. There will be more than 2,000 unique customization items for your player's look and playing style.
Also, four new outdoor settings have been added to the World of CHEL, each of which has been inspired by an iconic location.
A lot has changed in the in-game action for NHL 20 as well, which starts with a revamped broadcast package. There is fresh play-by-play and color commentary in this year's game, along with overhauled scoreboards, overlays and motion graphics.
Those features should give NHL 20 a fresh look from past games. And when it's over, be sure to check out the new Play of the Game highlights to relive some of the best moments from the game you just completed.
On the ice, NHL 20 has added to its RPM Tech-powered gameplay with Superstar Signature Shots, which will make it feel more like you're utilizing your favorite hockey players.
"Your favorite NHL stars now look and feel truly authentic with the trademark shooting-styles you recognize from the real world," the EA Sports website states. "Additionally, over 45 new contextual shot animations make shooting more lifelike as players use new tools to get the puck on net."
The RPM Tech has also been revamped to showcase more speed, meaning there will be faster plays up and down the ice.
The last major gameplay improvement features goaltender A.I., as goalies will better read positioning and threat levels before controlling rebounds and redirecting pucks.
There are several ways NHL 20 has improved the online experience for users, in addition to World of CHEL.
Hockey Ultimate Team has added Squad Battles, which is a popular mode from EA Sports' FIFA series. Players will compete and earn rewards in offline battles that could be against squads assembled by NHL players, musical artists, top athletes from other sports and more.
A new roster of playable hockey icons has been added to Hockey Ultimate Team, which raises the number of collectible and playable icons to 400.
Finally, there's been an addition to the popular online NHL Ones and NHL Three modes. The mode added to that series is called Eliminator, which pits 81 players against each other in a survival tournament, with only one emerging victorious. It's hockey's take on a battle royale mode, which has become popular in many other games.
All of these new features and improvements should make NHL 20 an enjoyable experience for hockey fans and sports gamers out there, as it should build off what was added to the series last year.