Draft Day Sports Pro Football 2020 Review - Customization is King

Legacy Management Games Reviews
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Wolverine Studios tackles the complicated game of American football with flexibility and poise.

The game of American football is complicated. Anyone who has dipped their toes into a management game that revolves around football knows just how complex it can be. Designing a game that touches all aspects of football in a way that works is even harder. Still, Wolverine Studios has managed to do enough right to pull together a complete simulation that captures the magic and complexity of American football.

This game includes all of the following features: full rosters, practice squad, trades, free agency, the draft, scouting, injuries, a custom play editor, the ability to design and use custom playbooks, the ability to generate custom leagues and league formats, realistic simulation with box scores and post-game analysis. And more.

Once you open the game and start playing around with the options, you remember how complicated American football truly is, and the fact that Wolverine Studios managed to get all of the essential pieces of the sport into the game is impressive. Better yet, they made it look great while doing it.



Once you open the game and start playing around with the options, you remember how complicated American football truly is, and the fact that Wolverine Studios managed to get all of the essential pieces of the sport into the game is impressive. Better yet, they made it look great while doing it.

Realistic Simulation

The most challenging part of any sports simulation game is getting a simulation to work that can replicate realistic results. Building an accurate football simulation is where most coders hit a wall. The game itself is so involved that it takes a lot of work to get it to behave appropriately during a simulation. The actual coding that goes into this is called under the hood work, and this is one of the things Wolverine Studios has nailed down with Draft Day Sports Pro Football 2020.

In my first season as the GM of the Jacksonville Jaguars, we won only three games using a tandem of Gardner Minshew and Nick Foles. The defense was a mess, and the only bright spot on offense was Leonard Fournette, who rushed for nearly 1,400 yards and 14 TDs. This result was entirely satisfying to me. It felt real and showed me the areas that I could improve on via free agency or the upcoming draft.

Each game generates an ESPN style box score that you can look at to get an idea of who performed well and who didn’t. These box scores are clean to look at and offer a pleasing amount of data.

Box scores look great after the game with all of the statistics you could want.

Every game from the season generates a box score, play by play log, and post-game analysis. This information gives you everything you need to fine-tune your team and improve as the season and your career marches on.

Read the play by play transcript for the entire game to get a feel for what went well or what went wrong.

The game generates consistent, realistic results over the seasons to build accurate statistical databases and benchmarks. You don’t see QBs throwing for six or seven thousand yards. Running backs aren’t racking up thirty touchdowns in a season.

The team results are consistent, as well. At the end of the first season that saw the Jaguars go 3-13, the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, as they did in reality. They edged out the Seahawks in a thriller to hand Pat Mahomes the Lombardi Trophy.

Chiefs bring home the trophy after an exciting season.

Play Your Way

One of the best things about Draft Day Sports Pro Football 2020 is the ability to play the game the way you want to play. The engine allows you to be as detail-oriented as you want when managing your team. You can take the general manager route and let your coaches and coordinators run the team week to week as you focus on trade targets, overall strategy, and getting ready to build via the draft. If you want to be more hands-on, you can take the Belicheck approach and run every aspect of your team from rosters to play calling and playbook design.

Wolverine Studio provides an array of tools and options during gameplay that make taking either route possible and fun. There is a full game simulation that allows you to watch the games play out, with animated plays every week. You can call every play on both sides of the ball and watch the results play out drive after drive. Or you can set your philosophy, your rosters, and simulate the entire season. Or multiple seasons. You can simulate a single week, a single season, or numerous seasons all with the press of a button.

Design your plays from simple runs to elaborate passing schemes to fit your philosophy.

This focus on realistic pacing and features for both types of virtual general managers shines in all aspects of the game. There is a fully implemented scouting system where you scout various fictional college players and target them for different schemes and ratings. These tailored scouting lists get saved to your draft day war room and show up during the draft giving you the custom scouting board you built rather than an AI-generated one.

As with the on-field pacing, there is the option to slog out the draft like an actual general manager. Teams get put on the clock, and you can wait for the AI to make their picks as the time winds down, just like in the live draft. Or you can hit a button and simulate the draft entirely with no input.

Wolverine Studio has done their best to recreate every facet of American football realistically.

The freedom to be whichever kind of general manager or GM/coach hybrid you want to be is a great feature that will appeal to a broad audience. Not everyone wants to play through every game, and some people want to tinker with their playbooks and strategies obsessively.

The King of Custom Gameplay

In my game, I downloaded a modification that imports real NFL logos, rosters, and philosophies. The simulation sent the Patrick Mahomes led Chiefs to the Super Bowl just as in real life. The ability to change every aspect of this game is unmatched on the market today, especially when it comes to American football simulations.

There is a historical mode with historical rosters. Can you win more than two Super Bowls with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as the Packers? There are alternate league formats available. Instead of playing with 32 teams, you can play with 40 or 16. These options allow you to build and create your world with different league formats and setups. It even allows you to choose which kind of overtime rules you want to have and how many players are allowed on a practice squad.

This makes the game a powerful fictional league generator similar to what Out of the Park Baseball built for their sport.

Nothing is hardcoded. The rules are fluid. The league structure is changeable. The team names, colors, logos, and player names are all changeable. Making the changes is easy too. You can surf a large amount of user-generated content on their forums, or you can import your own images and names with the click of a button.

Overview

Fully animated games break up the monotony of lists and stats

Draft Day Sports Pro Football 2020 might have a wordy name and little national attention, but it delivers an accurate, deep, and satisfying American football simulation that everyone craves. The selection of American football text simulations is small, and niche but Wolverine Studios managed to take the best of what is out there and combine it into a fully formed game that grabs you.

The best part of this game is that, if you want, you can feel the grind and the complexity of American football. This complexity does sometimes cause the simulation to groan a bit in places. Crashes do happen, but rarely and sometimes the AI does things that make you scratch your head, but overall the whole simulation meshes well.

The game also looks great. The UI is clean and modern looking, but some screens are a little obtuse and confusing. For example, during free agency, it appears as though you can offer contracts from the player’s information card, but you have to go to a separate, less obvious screen to make an official offer. There are a few screens like this where the information is not as evident as it needs to be, but once you learn these quirks, it flows much better. It is arguably the best looking American football simulator on the market today.



There is also an online mode, which allows the creation of online multiplayer leagues. If you pair this system up with the customization aspect, you can create some genuinely unique worlds for you and your friends to inhabit and compete in.

I can’t stress enough how much work and polish goes into a game like this. The programmers over at Wolverine Studios have been pushing an iteration of this game out for years, and it has matured into a wonderful American Football simulation. It offers everything you want from this kind of simulation, and all of the systems work. You can seamlessly flow from free agency to training camp through the preseason, compete during the regular season, lose in the playoffs and move onto the draft. It is realistic, it is fun, and best of all, it makes you feel like you are part of an NFL organization.

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Good

  • Fully realized American football simulator
  • Modern looking UI
  • A plethora of customization options allow you to play how you want

Bad

  • Occasional bugs and crashes
  • Some information is unclear during play
9.1

Amazing

Gameplay and Sim Engine: 9 / 10
Customization: 10 / 10
Replay Fun Factor: 9 / 10
Online Modes: 8.5 / 10
Graphics and User Interface: 9 / 10
Grant has been an avid sports fan and video gamer since he was a young child. When he discovered the ultimate union of these two passions came in the form of sport management games he was hooked and has been a huge fan ever since. He began playing Eastside Hockey Manager in college and never looked back. He continues to root for his teams both the real-life version and the digital version. When he's not writing or gaming he is taking care of the plants and animals on his property. Grant lives in central Florida with his wife, his dogs, horses, chickens, and donkeys. Twitter | GM Grant YouTube Channel