MADDEN NFL 20 (EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts – X1/PS4/PC – August 2, 2019) – While yours truly Moody only played a standard exhibition game at the Madden 20 booth (I won against the AI on All-Pro with the Pats over the Eagles, 16-7 with 2-minute quarters for those keeping score at home), EA Play held a panel later in the morning that detailed new Madden features. This year it’s all about superstars, more specifically the Face of the Franchise. While Longshot broke the single player campaign locker room doors down for the longtime football series, this year takes another step with a story players can now finally call their own.
Madden Community Manager Israel Cruz laid down the FotF features, with the most impressive being an all new NFL Draft experience and Scenario engine that delivers week-to-week challenges that can help bolster player attributes on their way to the Pro Bowl. Yup, it’s back in Madden NFL 20. Aloha…
Both Cruz and Senior Gameplay Designer Clint Oldenburg, the hilariously self-proclaimed “Madden Ratings Adjuster”, also broke down new and unique Superstar X-Factor Abilities (yeah, this doesn’t mean we’re getting a Madden Mutant Football League — sorry *sobs*). These player specific X-Factors include Satellite (running backs who are also elite receivers) and Double Me (aggressive, overpowering receivers). Madden 20 coverboy Patrick Mahomes‘ has the exclusive Bazooka (power to stretch any defense), Escape Artist (faster QB scrambler), Dashing Deadeye (perfect accuracy on throws while running outside the pocket), and Red Zone Deadeye (exactly as it sounds).
Oldenburg also dug into the newly added signature pre and post-snap animations, and dual purpose gameplay mechanics that help QB’s seemlessly alter between throwing and running. To top it off, the Madden 20 playbook will feature over 200 RPO (Run Pass Option) plays. Crazy. Just wish there was someone to explain all this great news to me as I was playing. 3.25/5 Bibles (Hands-On = 2.75/5; Panel/New Features = 3.75/5).
FIFA 20 (EA Vancouver/Electronic Arts – X1/PS4/PC/Switch – September 27, 2019) – So, this is a curious one. EA Sports introduces VOLTA — street futbol! — this year in FIFA 20, and.. I didn’t get to play it. My hands-on demo today consisted of only one option, the same sole option from the FIFA 19 demo: playing a friendly in the UEFA.
Thank heavens my local competition was fun, as Liverpool and Real Madrid would go into extra time, and extra time, and ultimately penalty kicks. Somehow I won, and FIFA is more of the same solid play of last year’s game, except that AI teammates (at least mine) appeared far more stonefooted, unsure and unaware. It was awfully frustrating, but it’s a Pre-Alpha demo, so I don’t want to judge it too harshly. The real reason you’re here is to learn more about this anyway…
Kudos to EA for doing something far drastic with one of their sportsball titles for a change! VOLTA is a street game of 3v3, 4v4, and 5v5, where players can take the pitch from the concrete, the court and global futsals; think London cages, Amsterdam underpasses and Tokyo rooftops. Best of all, you can create your own player and take them through the VOLTA Story Mode. Yes!
Actual FIFA gameplay improvements include:
- Authentic Game Flow – Players will have more awareness of time, space and positioning (neither of which I witnessed in my friendly, but I digress…)
- Decisive Moments – Set Piece Refresh, Controlled Tackling (this I did notice, as tackling was much more clean and led to less penalties), and Composed Finishing (this is huge, seeing how the worse part of FIFA 19 was finishing the play around the net)
- Ball Physics System – Offers new shot trajectories, more realistic tackle interactions, and physics-driven behavior (I feel like this is an element of FIFA they’ve been working on forever, but we’ll see)
All these new features and improvements for FIFA 20 sound superb, and VOLTA sounds addicting AF. But again, it’s strange that, today at EA Play–with a release date less than just 4 months away–I didn’t get the chance to see any of this in action. 3.25/5 Bibles (Hands-On = 2.25/5; Panel/New Features = 4.25/5).