This year's installment in the popular hockey franchise feels like a massive overhaul that fans will love as soon as they strap on their digital skates. NHL 20 looks, feels and sounds like there were vast improvements made in every feature. The new modes bring a lot to the game, especially with Eliminator, a highly competitive winner-takes-all game inside the beloved NHL ONES and NHL THREES modes. Just like Fortnite: Battle Royale drops you on an island with 99 others, NHL 20 Eliminator pits 81 players against each other in a survival tournament bracket to be crowned the ultimate winner. You can play by yourself in a last-man (or woman) standing game in NHL ONES, or join a squad of three in THREES and try to win four back-to-back elimination rounds against increasingly competitive opponents. Another highlight includes the Squad Battles mode (perhaps borrowed from EA Sports' FIFA games) with refreshed opponents daily, a weekly Featured Squads group consisting of NHL players, musical artists, and athletes from other sports, and up to 400 industry Icons. CHEL Challenges in the socially-driven World of CHEL mode adds weekly in-game events spread across several modes, in order to unlock fun customization rewards, character XP, and more. It's even added local multiplayer support for the ONES mode, offline outdoor pond mode (yes, even with NHL mascots!), and an updated Franchise mode for coaching and trading players.
Just as important as adding new ways to play is the way the game feels. It feels tighter, faster, and complimented by new animations including Signature Shots. The player models may look the same as last year's game, but animations have been improved and the new broadcast package adds new graphics (as well as solid play-by-play and color) to the overall experience. There isn't much to complain about with NHL 20. The developers really seem to have ticked off all the boxes -- and then some. From better controls and new animations to sleek TV-like production quality and additional modes, EA Sports shoots and scores with this one.