EA Sports’ NHL 20 drops tomorrow for PS4 and Xbox One. The legendary hockey video game has been the focal point of hockey fans for more than 20 years. The excitement surrounding every NHL title has always been surreal for fans. It’s almost a global phenomenon for hockey fans as they cannot wait to dive into this year's title.
EA Sports, 2K Games, and Konami are some of the worlds largest sports game developers. Every year they’re tasked with the immense challenge of implementing new and unique features — all while under a strict time frame before the new season begins.
Let’s dive into all the new features EA Sports will be showcasing soon in NHL 20!
The official release date for NHL 20 is September 13, 2019. However, there are multiple ways for fans to dive into the game early. Some fans are lucky enough to be playing right now. If you pre-ordered the NHL 20 Deluxe and Ultimate Editions, you would have been able to play starting on September 10th.
If you subscribe to EA Access, you can dive into NHL 20 now. EA Access is $5.99 a month or $30 a year, and it includes a 10% discount on NHL 20.
NHL 20 Standard Edition will be sold for the usual $59.99 retail price or $53.99 for EA Access members.
If you opt for the NHL 20 Deluxe Edition, that’ll set you back $79.99 or $71.99 for EA Access members.
Hardcore NHL fan?
You can get the Ultimate Edition for $99.99 or $89.99 for EA Access members.
As mentioned above, NHL 20 will have three different editions that players can purchase: Standard, Deluxe, and Ultimate.
A lot of the bonus items you can get as you go up in editions are centered around the NHL Ultimate Team mode within the game. So if you're not a hardcore ultimate team player, maybe it’s best not to get the Ultimate Edition.
If you pre-order the Standard Edition, you will get access to two Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) Diamond Choice Packs along with one World of CHEL hockey bag.
The Deluxe Edition of the game will come with three days early access to the game, five HUT Diamond Choice Packs, a Hometown Choice pack, and 2 World of CHEL hockey bags.
If you're one of the hardcore NHL HUT fans, well then the Ultimate Edition may be for you. Instead of the 5 Diamond HUT packs, you’ll get 10 packs, five World of CHEL hockey bags, access to an exclusive HUT Competitive Season that starts on September 13th, and of course, three days early access.
This year EA Sports went all out and added multiple new features to NHL 20 that have made fans more excited than any previous year.
Throughout EA Sports legacy with the NHL series, fans have been complaining for years now that EA has not attempted to add a bit more realism when it comes to using our favorite players. Looking at 2K Games’ NBA 2K series, they went all out when it comes to replicating players’ shots or signature moves. It appears EA Sports has taken notice this year.
EA cannot replicate all the signature shots of players right off the bat, but they have promised to add more as the season goes on. For now, we have around 10-15 signature shots to try out, such as Alex Ovechkin's explosive one-timer and Auston Matthews’ drag shot. It’s a step in the right direction for EA Sports, and fans should be ecstatic about these updates.
This new feature is perhaps the one that your average casual fan may not notice right away, but hardcore fans will. The new RPM-Tech engine within the game is designed to make it more noticeable when a star player picks up the puck and gains momentum while skating. EA is trying to replicate real-life hockey more now, and this could be an amazing feature if they can implement it with more players.
“RPM Tech also ignites more speed to gameplay through revamped animation blending that allows players to execute shots, passes, and puck pickups without slowing a skater’s pace; creating faster, more skilled and more fluid plays up and down the ice.”
Another point of criticism that NHL fans have given to EA for years now is the lack of realistic goalie moves that the AI would do. NHL 20 will be implementing 400 new goalie animations, and EA Sports has claimed that the goalies are much smarter than previous games.
New Broadcast Layout
A feature that most NHL fans will appreciate right off the bat is the ample amount of new broadcast animations showcased in NHL 20. EA Sports has completely revamped their animations for the scoreboard before and during the game.
EA Sports has also completely revamped the color commentary, which is a nice sign for traditional fans. We know one of the worst things about sports games is hearing the same phrases year after year.
Squad Battles is now a playable feature in NHL 20. The mode has already been in other EA Sports game FIFA for quite some time and will thankfully be making its way over to the ice. The new mode in HUT mode will allow players to compete offline in order to unlock massive awards to further progress their HUT Team.
EA Sports has also claimed that they will be updating the matches every day and weekly featured matches that will be assembled by NHL superstars, music artists, or celebrities. So, if you’re an avid fan of the HUT game mode, this new mode is certainly one to get excited about. I mean who doesn’t like more rewards?
Much like the newly introduced FIFA 20 Icons, these HUT cards are legendary players throughout the history of hockey. From Hall of Famers to generational superstars, EA Sports has added more Icons to HUT, bringing the count to over 400 now!
EA Sports has always been catering to their game modes that allow players to have some hockey fun with their friends. From the NHL One on One modes to the 3V3 mode, there’s something for everyone in an NHL game. Now, EA Sports has added another mode, one that’s based on the highly popular battle royal one seen in Fortnite and other games.
Eliminator will pit you against 81 other players where you will have to score first in order to advance. You will be able to play this mode in either three or ones. This is a cool concept coming to NHL 20 to see who has the best moves and timing.
CHEL has also become one of NHL’s most played game modes. It’s one that’s very easy to play with friends and just sit back and chill with. EA Sports has now added weekly challenges to CHEL that will unlock XP, character customization options, and more!
Throughout the actual NHL season, there are multiple outdoor games that attract a global audience. They’re usually held in baseball or football stadiums and are an amazing sight to watch. Now, EA Sports has added four new outdoor venues to their game:
- The Farm
The Park - An urban location inspired by Vancouver’s Trout Lake
The Riff - A play on the world’s largest skating rink in Ottawa
The Peak - Set atop a mountainside glacier
These new outdoor venues will be available to use in the CHEL mode and should appeal to fans more than they did last year when they were initially introduced.
Of course, one of the most talked-about topics heading into any sports game is what players will be rated. It’s a topic that even the players get worked up over as they all think they deserve a higher rating than the developers think. NHL 20’s highest-rated player, Connor McDavid, is a 94 overall.
Here are the top 50 players in ascending order:
- Dylan Larkin - 88 overall
- Frederik Andersen - 88 overall
- P.K. Subban - 88 overall
- Sebastian Aho - 88 overall
- Jonathan Huberdeau - 88 overall
- Morgan Rielly - 88 overall
- Jack Eichel - 88 overall
- Phil Kessel - 88 overall
- Jonathan Toews - 88 overall
- Brayden Point - 89 overall
- Alex Pietrangelo - 89 overall
- John Carlson - 89 overall
- Braden Holtby - 89 overall
- Mitchell Marner - 89 overall
- Artemi Panarin - 89 overall
- Leon Draisaitl - 89 overall
- Blake Wheeler - 89 overall
- Mark Scheifele - 89 overall
- Claude Giroux - 89 overall
- Mark Giordano - 89 overall
- Anze Kopitar - 89 overall
- Ryan O'Reilly - 89 overall
- Vladimir Tarasenko - 89 overall
- Taylor Hall - 89 overall
- Tyler Seguin - 89 overall
- David Pastrnak - 90 overall
- Brent Burns - 90 overall
- Sergei Bobrovsky - 90 overall
- Tuuka Rask - 90 overall
- Erik Karlsson - 90 overall
- Johnny Gaudreau - 90 overall
- Mikko Rantanen - 90 overall
- John Tavares - 90 overall
- Brad Marchand - 90 overall
- John Gibson - 90 overall
- Auston Matthews - 90 overall
- Aleksander Barkov - 90 overall
- Patrice Bergeron - 90 overall
- Steven Stamkos - 90 overall
- Evgeni Malkov - 90 overall
- Carey Price - 91 overall
- Andrei Vasilevskiy - 91 overall
- Drew Doughty - 91 overall
- Victor Hedman - 91 overall
- Patrick Kane - 91 overall
- Nathan Mackinnon - 92 overall
- Alex Ovechkin - 92 overall
- Nikita Kucherov - 92 overall
- Sidney Crosby - 93 overall
- Connor McDavid - 94 overall
The top 5 five should come as no surprise to anyone as these players have cemented themselves as some of the highest-rated players due to their dominance throughout the season.
The highest-rated goalie in NHL 20 is Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 91 overall. The highest-rated defender is Victor Hedman who is also of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Firing and Hiring
The NHL Franchise mode is getting an overhaul. When it comes to some of its management features, the changes are supposed to make it feel more like an actual simulation.
One of the new features in NHL 20 is the new coaching system. You will now be in charge of eight coaches throughout your franchise, with four coaches being on your NHL team and four coaches being on your AHL team.
All of these coaches have different ratings much like what 2K has done with their coaching system. The made-up coaches will have unique ratings on defense or offense, so it’s ideal to get a perfect balance to ensure your franchise has the best coaches.
Along with the new coaches feature, EA Sports has opted to bring back their line chemistry feature with an ample amount of deciding factors and some of them involve the coach. It’s now a rewarding task to compose the best lineups and ensure you have a well-oiled machine.
A feature that’s been in other sports games for quite some time now is finally coming to NHL. The trade finder feature is perhaps one of the best concepts ever introduced in a sports video game.
Sometimes the CPU can be a bit of a nuisance to try and trade with, and it seems like forever before you find a worthy trade. Now, if you want to trade a certain player, you can just select trade finder and the game will show you all the trades the CPU will want to do with you!
The soundtrack is, of course, an essential part of any video game, and EA Sports has already announced their soundtrack for NHL 20.
The full list of artists is as follows:
- Barns Courtney
- The Black Keys
- Black Futures
- Catfish and the Bottlemen
- Dom Howard
- Fitz and the Tantrums
- Haviah Mighty
- Hobo Johnson
- Ill Blu X Ziezie
- Jagwar Twin
- Judah and the Lion
- Motionless in White
- Of Monsters and Men
- Rival Sons
- Silversun Pickups
- X Ambassadors
NHL 20 looks like EA Sports’ greatest hockey video game yet. With an ample amount of new features, we could see the return of old fans who once were lovers of the series.
Will you be buying NHL 20?
Let us know in the comments section below!
This article was written by Nick Farrell, an experienced esports writer who aims to provide insightful yet proactive articles daily.