Recently, EA was in Toronto and invited me to a special event hosted by EA Sports NHL 20‘s creative Director William Ho. William was on hand to give me the low down on the updated Real Player Motion (RPM) powered gameplay, the revamped broadcast visuals and commentary, and new game modes to compete with friends in.
RPM Tech-powered gameplay
One of the biggest changes to EA Sports NHL 19 last year was the implementation of RPM technology. This year, in EA Sports NHL 20, RPM technology has been enhanced and updated to now include Superstar Signature Shots. The greatest NHL stars such as P.K. Subban, Auston Mathews, and Alex Ovechkin’s trademark shooting-styles are included in this year’s game. What that means is that the players in the game will now look and act more like their real-life counterparts.
Additionally, player animations have been reworked and now allows you to take shots, passes, and pickup the puck without any pauses. As a result of this change, gameplay feels like it has been speed up and is more authentic.
A common complaint that William and the team heard from fans was that the goalies were too easy to score on. Based on that feedback the team went back to the drawing board and developed new goalie AI. Now, goalies read the positioning and threat level of an on coming player before deciding what to do with rebounds and redirecting pucks away from opponents.
Revamped broadcast visuals and commentary
The way in which EA Sports NHL 20 looks and sounds is quite different from last year’s game. Colour commentary is now done by former radio host on TSN Radio 1050 James Cybulsky and former NHL player Ray Ferraro. Previously, due to geographical location, each of the commentators would come in individually and record their lines.
If any retakes needed to be done, they would have to be flown in to do so. This year, that’s all changed. Both James and Ray recording their lines while in the studio next to each other, which results in a more realistic and natural commentary.
Furthermore, the game’s scoreboards, overlays and motion graphics have all been updated and modernized. The information has been moved from the top left-hand corner of the screen to now across the bottom of the screen. One of my favourite new additions to EA Sports NHL 20 are the Play Of The Game highlights. After each period and at the end of the game, some of the best moments from each period are shown.
Brand-new Battle Royale inspired competitive mode
A brand-new competitive mode has been added to EA Sports NHL 20 and it’s called Eliminator. Based of the popular Battle Royale genre, Eliminator pits 81 players against each other in a survival tournament bracket in both NHL Ones and NHL Threes.
Either by yourself in Ones Eliminator or with friends in Threes Eliminator, your goal is to win 4 back-to-back elimination rounds to be crowned the ultimate winner. Additionally, Ones now features local multiplayer. And, there are 8 outdoor ponds to compete on including the Rideau Canal in Ottawa.
Hands-on with EA Sports NHL 20
After William gave us the low down on some of the new additions in EA Sports NHL 20, it was time to go hands on with the game. Myself, along with another game journalist decided to play NHL Ones. We spent a good 20 minutes or so playing and had an absolute blast.
Controls are simple, and easy to learn for those not familiar with the NHL franchise of games. It makes a perfect entry into the franchise for players who are just looking to have fun. Matches in NHL Ones last a few minutes and feel like they are the perfect length.
With only 10 minutes left, we decided to play a regular season game—Toronto vs Montreal. I could instantly see with the new player animations that the gameplay felt faster and more fluid. And, goalies are now harder to score on and don’t give the puck up that easy.
EA Sports NHL 20’s new features make a great game even better
EA Sports NHL 20 looks like its going to be an upgrade from last years release. I cannot wait to get my hands on the final version of the game. Luckily, that won’t be long! EA Sports NHL 20 launches in a few weeks on September 13, 2019 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4—just in time for the NHL preseason.