NHL 20 is EA's latest installment in their NHL franchise, and it's been met with some praise and some criticism. It has some of the changes gamers have waited for, but still lacks some of the other aspects they've have been asking for for the better part of a decade. For example, if you've been waiting for battle royale to come to your favorite sports video game, you're in luck. But if you are looking for a way to practice with your teammates before jumping into EASHL Competitive Mode, better luck next time. Read the list below and decide for yourself if NHL 20 is an investment you want to make.
10 BEST: New Animations
It's not always easy to turn real-life athletic movements into realistic video gameplay, but this is something EA has worked hard on with its newest addition to the NHL title. NHL 20's new animations for passing, shooting, and picking up the puck, are but among the best new animations depicting signature shots of NHL superstars that you'll no doubt recognize if you follow them in real life. Not every player has a signature shooting style, but you can expect to see some new shot animations for Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Steven Stamkos.
9 BEST: Team Celebrations
This one might depend on whether you approve of the teams having a good time after a win or not. After team celebrations became popular during the 2019 season thanks to the Carolina Hurricanes, EA figured it would be best to incorporate this controversial aspect of the real-life NHL into their game. It brings a little extra fun to gameplay and a little extra realism to purists. If you play the Hurricanes in Play Now or franchise mode, expect to see your team celebrating — but you can also unlock and activate team celebrations for your EASHL club.
8 BEST: New Coaching System
If you're really into making your experience with NHL 20 as close to the real thing as possible, you won't be disappointed with the new coaching system. Playing as a general manager, you can use coach carousels to hire and fire team coaches as quickly and efficiently as GMs do in the real world. The new system makes hiring and firing coaches easier, specific coaches will impact your team's morale (for better or worse), and you can have conversations with them throughout the season. The only downside? Coaches aren't licensed, so you'll have to deal with 300 made-up coaches instead.
7 BEST: Squad Battles Mode
Everyone knows the best part of FIFA is Squad Battles. If you're a big fan of this game mode, get ready to really love NHL this year. NHL 20 is getting its own version of Squad Battles where you can pit your team against teams designed by professional athletes and other celebrities. How would you like to play against a team designed by your favorite celebrity? And don't worry about this game mode growing stale — a new featured team comes out each week for you to beat.
6 BEST: Eliminator
Battle royales seem to rule the gaming world right now, and if you're not big into games like Fortnite or Apex Legends, this mode of play may not be for you. But for those who have long since abandoned titles like Madden, FIFA, and NHL in favor of battle royales, get ready to come back. NHL 20 boasts a new battle royale-esque game mode called Eliminator, where you can team up with two friends or play solo to defeat 81 other online players for the title of champion.
5 WORST: Player Likeness
One cool addition to NHL 20 is the new legendary trading card animations. But what makes it not as cool? EA's terrible player likeness. More often than not, the avatars look just enough like their real-life counterparts to pass, but not when they're immediately juxtaposed by HD versions of their faces on said trading cards. So while these new trading cards are a good idea in theory, it might have been better to leave them out, as they only highlight EA's lack of attention to detail in their players' faces.
4 WORST: EASHL Competitive Online Mode
If there's anything we can all agree to hate on about online gaming modes, it's the toxicity in some communities. NHL's EASHL Competitive Online Mode is no different. While we know EA is aware of its online community's awful toxicity problem, a proper and efficient way to report and punish said toxicity hasn't made its way to NHL 20 just yet. This means affected gamers will have to report players and teams the old-fashioned way: through their console's reporting systems.
3 WORST: Be A Pro Mode
To those who anticipated an overhaul to NHL's Be A Pro mode, you'll be disappointed to find out the changes planned for this mode have been pushed back — again. Maybe it's because of the focus on online multiplayer modes or maybe it's a widespread lack of interest in offline gaming modes. No matter the reasoning, those who prefer offline single-player modes may feel like they're being left behind. EA says they haven't made the requested changes to Be A Pro Mode because nothing they've come up with yet reaches the quality they want.
2 WORST: No Practice Mode in EASHL
Though it's something NHL fans have been asking for for the past few years, NHL 20 still won't feature a Practice Mode in EASHL. This means there's no way to work on the chemistry between players or those trick shots you want to flawlessly implement into your gameplay. In order to do so, you have to risk your rankings and reputation with your friends by doing it online in EASHL matches. It would certainly be a nice game mode for those who want it, but unfortunately, players might have to wait until NHL 21.
1 WORST: No AI Teammate Behavior Updates
This isn't to say no changes whatsoever are coming to your AI teammates. EA has made some small tweaks and changes to fine-tune the way your AI teammates behave, but overall, NHL 20 does not feature a major overhaul in how the AI teammates perform or skate on the ice. This is because developers want to focus more on the player-controlled features of the game rather than the features they have no control over. Still, it makes the gameplay seem less immersive and realistic than it could be.