Last year we finally obtained a new higher level of hockey quality from EA Sports. The game finally had received essentially all of the modes from the previous generation, and then added to that. We saw Threes come in prior, and last year the massive World of Chel. That game mode really did enhance the package, and it was great fun. That’s continued forward here, but we haven’t really been given anything new this year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it largely is the game from last year.
Mode wise the only addition would be squad battles in Hockey Ultimate Team which is the card based mode of play. Moving past that, the game is actually stacked with content. There are many ways to play locally, and lots of online options. For local play you can work through a career in Be a Pro, you can play straight up exhibition matches which I like or even take a whirl in some shoot outs. There are other modes present such as Threes, or quick Ones Now offline which is a nice addition. For the online you can compete quickly with ranked matches, work together in EASHL or face off in upgraded World of Chel competitions.
I mention that as Ones is now an eighty-one player gauntlet and the other modes have reward challenges layered on top of them. It’s an interesting change-up, that wasn’t needed yet is fine overall. There are also creation elements again, across the modes. Create your own player locally or online, with online having ways to unlock new special cosmetic items for use. This is largely the same as last year, so prepare for a restart when it comes to your special cosmetic unlocks in the World of Chel.
The biggest change here, and one that I love is that the Broadcast package has been revamped. They’ve ditched the useless NBC group, in favor of great Canadians. People with more calming, and natural commentary. You get James Cybulski as the play-by-play commentator and Ray Ferraro as color commentator. There might even be a special guest or two, but I’ll keep that as a surprise for when you’re playing. This is a massive upgrade when it comes to that aspect of play. Past that, I would have liked more score options.
You can either not have it, or it’s a massive bar across the bottom of the screen. They should have had a smaller corner option as it does come across as obnoxious at times being a full bar. They once again push the skills trainer, for your sanity I suggest turning that off entirely in the settings to be your first priority. The game does handle rather well, the cutscene intros are always far better. On top of that, they have some nice new smooth overlays during goals as an example. That being said, they still need to work on the jerseys, so they’re not unrealistic capes.
I did feel that the AI was generally improved here, with better transitioning and positing. The goalies are also noted as being better for threat analysis, I noticed more interesting movement yet not too much for being able to handle situations better quite honestly. It looks good, especially Xbox One X enhanced at a 4k resolution. I’d still like to see HDR implemented, but not a huge deal considering the type of environment. I’m really wondering what sort of next-gen boost we’ll see next year, visually. Sports titles usually really push visuals, so I have high hopes for perhaps a new engine situation. At the same time, I hope modes aren’t sacrificed like last time. That doesn’t factor into this review of course, but it’s something that’s on my mind for sure.
EA Sports NHL 20 delivers a well rounded package with a pile of modes, ways to play and a greatly improved broadcast package that is miles better than anything else they had this generation. While they don’t necessarily add too much to this package, there’s a lot to this and I’m not sure what else they could really do mode wise. I mean, that’s up to them as developers to create as well I suppose.
That aside, I loved the new broadcast package. Seriously, it looks great and sounds excellent. I would however like more options for placing the score board area. The World of Chel is once again a blast, I wish the navigation was quicker however as things keep popping up every time I go to play it. I get it, there are rewards, I don’t care, let me play. This is just a great entry in the series, they’ve built up the content we expect and have done so fun things.
The Threes, the mascots, the World of Chel have been great additions. We also have our other favorite modes, it’s a comprehensive package that looks great and play well. NHL 20 is the best hockey game, and the most in-depth release they’ve done this generation. It’s comforting to know that younger kids picking up the game will be satisfied, a tradition I imagine for many as it was for me when I was growing up.
Read our Crash Team Racing Review
View our EA Sports Hub
NHL 20 Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by 47