While EA gave us our first glimpse at the cover of NHL 20 during the 2019 NHL Awards ceremony, one thing that was absent was a proper look at the gameplay. This is no longer the case, as a rather lengthy trailer has finally dropped, offering a look at the game in action.
The NHL franchise, probably more than any of EA's other sports series, has suffered from a lack of change or improvement year in and year out, so it's nice to see that NHL 20 looks genuinely improved. A huge chunk of the trailer talks in-depth about the overhaul to shooting and skating. And while normally we'd assume the publisher was just blowing smoke, even the glimpses in the trailer make it clear that things are actually different this time. Signature shots have been added, so any players with iconic shots - think an Ovi one-timer from the faceoff circle - now show up in-game. This comes alongside improved context shooting, which is another positive step. Rather than trying to take a weak backhander from the blueline, players might actually use the appropriate shot now.
A couple of other small things are mentioned as well, including improved transitions. Picking up the puck and moving with it has felt incredibly awkward for a while now, so being able to more convincingly transition with the puck is a big plus.
The final thing the trailer discusses is the one we're most sceptical about, however. The trailer closes by discussing improved AI for the goalies, including better awareness and a more varied moveset. If we're being honest, we have our doubts about that one. Goalie AI and control has been so horrendous for so long that we just can't see a scenario where this is gonna change anytime soon. Adding a few new cover animations isn't going to suddenly make the goalies know how hockey works.
Goalies notwithstanding, are you excited for NHL 20? The game looks like it might genuinely have improvements this time out, which is a pleasant surprise. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.