Madden-ingly just short of perfection.
‘Why are you watching American Football, I didn’t know you liked that’.
Those were the words of my wife as I sat in the living room playing the new Madden NFL 20 game from EA Sports.
In a nutshell that tells you everything you need to know about how the latest Madden - the long-running American Football game series which has been around since the late 80s.
It seems to be par for the course that developers finally unlock the full potential of the latest generation of consoles just as they enter their last days.
With the PS5 and Xbox Scarlett out next year this is the last Madden NFL title to be made for the current consoles but it looks and feels great and more authentic than ever before.
A superb addition to the series and one of the best overall packages in the history of Madden this is well worth a place in your games compilation before the big switch to the next gen in 2020.Damien Lucas, gaming columnist
Thankfully the animations and general aesthetics are joined at the next level by the game’s mechanics.
The crowning achievement, though, is the impact of the league’s star players which add much-needed and welcome excitement to the play.
Madden NFL 20 introduces a new career mode known as Face of the Franchise: QB1.
Being brutally honest it all feels a bit rushed and I found it difficult to become truly invested in the progress of my college quarterback as you lead them from the two-game College Football Playoff, to being drafted by an NFL team.
What it does mean is the return of college football - in part - to the Madden franchise with 10 licensed teams including Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Florida, LSU, Oregon, USC, Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.
QB1 acts as an updated version of Superstar Mode but is not as engrossing.
What the new story mode lacks in personality, though, Madden NFL 20 more than makes up for on the field where it is packed to the rafters with thrilling play and enjoyment.
The new X-Factor and Superstar abilities are at the heart of this with Madden playing better than I can ever remember. The X Factor element also introduces a new concept of strategy to your play as you must decide whether to push for the X-Factor qualification conditions or choose lower-risk plays that are more likely to be successful. Weighing up the risk to reward depending on the game situation is massively entertaining. And with 50 X-Factor abilities spread across players on the 32 NFL teams, it encourages you to try new teams and strategies whereas in previous games I personally have tended to stick with a select team more often than not.
Madden’s gameplay is the best yet and Ultimate Team (which is not really my bag if I’m honest) is a lot more straightforward thanks to a new missions structure - although it has still been criticised for pushing players towards microtransactions .
A superb addition to the series and one of the best overall packages in the history of Madden this is well worth a place in your games compilation before the big switch to the next gen in 2020.