The NHL hockey season is in its opening week, and EA Sports‘ NHL 20 has been on the market now for a few weeks. The annual sports game saw a major overhaul this year in its presentation, with Mike Emrick and Eddie Olzcyk being replaced by James Cybulski and Ray Ferraro. But the broadcast/announce team isn’t the only thing new in the game this year, as EA Vancouver also added new RPM technologies and more game modes or ways to play than could ever be necessary.
NHL 20 offers hockey fans an amazing experience. The Real Player Motion (RPM) technology helps to differentiate the real life styles of the players on the ice. Players feel differently when you control them, and a Sidney Crosby will be able to do more than say a Jonathan Huberdeau, which gives the gamer more power in their hands while playing.
The action is still as fast paced as ever, and EA Vancouver has added so many nuances to the dual sticks that I feel like I have way more control than ever. Dekes and slap shots feel earned, and learning to control the puck while skating has never been more important. But it’s also intuitive, so it’s not like you have to spend months mastering the play controls. Even with the staggering number of moves you can do, it is still very much pick up and play.
Threes returns in NHL 20 and its joined by a fuller-featured Ones. In fact, the number of game modes in this game towers over any other EA Sports game by far. In addition to Ones and Threes, there is a franchise mode, a season mode, online modes, and a Be A Pro mode — where you create a player and take them on a journey to reach their NHL dreams.
World of CHEL gets some tweaks to make it more rewarding to play and live out the life of a amateur hockey player, playing against NHL stars and more. There is simply too much to do here and you will find the modes that suite what you are looking for in a sports game.
Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT), returns and the changes made this season have made this the mode I play the most. Getting new players out of card packs and taking them through HUT Challenges and Squad Battles is incredibly rewarding. It did not take long for me to build a solid team of past, present and future NHL stars, and daily and weekly objectives keep bringing me back each day to earn coins, loaner players and more.
The graphics in NHL 20 have never looked better and it feels like more player likenesses were used here than in previous games. The game is fast, and passing and shooting takes a skill that quickly comes naturally.
The EA Trax soundtrack is stocked with great music, but, for some reason, EA Vancouver hides the playlist, which means you can’t edit it. This is the only EA Sports game that does this and it’s a real head scratcher as to why.
The NHL hockey season is now in full swing and NHL 20 is the perfect game to sate fans’ love of the sport when their favorite team isn’t on the ice. It is stacked with game modes and welcome new features, and the new broadcast team has quickly made me forget all about Eddie and Doc. NHL 20 might very well be the best sports game on the market, and at the very least it gives NBA2K and MLB: The Show a run for their money.
NHL 20 is available now for the PS4 and Xbox One. This review is based on a copy of the game purchased at retail. All images courtesy of EA Sports.