Every year, fans of EA Sports’ Madden franchise eagerly await the release of the new game with the expectations of vast upgrades and new game modes. This is typically short-lived with a major let down once football fans actually play the game. Madden 21 might be the worst it’s ever been.
EA promised major upgrades to gameplay with new and improved game modes for Madden 21. They teased a backyard football-style game mode called “The Yard,” and a fully immersive career mode titled “Face of the Franchise.” Both game modes were overhyped and drew light to a lack of commitment to the fan-favorite “Franchise Mode,” that allows fans to control an NFL Franchise.
The general changes to gameplay are noticeable and good for the progression of the game. The newly-added pass rush moves make playing the defensive line realistic and fun. The ability to choose celebrations after big plays allows players to taunt opponents.
Besides these gameplay adjustments, there aren’t many positives to the game. The most glaring was how terrible Face of the Franchise was. The intent of the career mode was to allow players to track a career from high school, to college, and finally getting drafted in the NFL. This is supplemented by a storyline with cut scenes requiring you to make decisions.
The reality of this mode is that it was very poorly produced. Players have no way to change the difficulty, leaving it on the easiest possible setting. In every game, even in the NFL, I’ve been able to score over 70 points on the computer. That’s not realistic or even fun to do. The lack of ability to make the game mode harder completely takes away from it.
I think that's enough Madden for today pic.twitter.com/Arkz5HzxU0— Joe DeLeone (@joedeleone) August 21, 2020
Another glaring issue is the disturbingly high amount of players who were drafted to the Chicago Bears. Regardless of position, a lot of players I spoke to were drafted by the Bears. Something as simple as this is a pretty clear indication they did not plan out simple aspects of the mode.
If you’ve already played #Madden21, what team were you drafted by in Face it the Franchise?— Get To The Point (@GTTPPodcast) August 24, 2020
The biggest addition of The Yard I will admit is quite entertaining. The goal was to allow users to play a pickup style game mode with a custom character. I don’t think the mode is perfect, and at times it is overly simplified. There were also some serious bugs for those who had early access to the game.
EA Sports, it's in the game pic.twitter.com/iM97s8b6oB— Joe DeLeone (@joedeleone) August 22, 2020
However, the ability to hop into a game quickly and be out 10 minutes later makes the game mode quite addicting. Throwing reverse passes and laterals against users adds something to the game we’ve never seen before.
Overall, it’s hard to not be frustrated by EA. I will always buy the game each year because of my love for football and video games, similar to many other fans. But each game has had noticeable regressions despite EA boasting major improvements.