Updated: Nov 12, 2020
By: David Blais
Asst. Sports Editor
Every year, gamers and sports lovers alike anticipate the newest editions of sports games and what they have to offer. The competitiveness and realistic graphics make the player feel like they are controlling an actual game of the sport and are actually there. One of the most popular, and oldest,
annual sports franchises is the NFL Madden football video game. First being released in 1988 as John Madden Football for PC, the game revolutionized the sports and gaming world alike setting the standard for what a sports game could be due to its detailed and simulation style gameplay. With it being the only football simulation game on the market, Madden controls the market and over the years adapted a dedicated fanbase that once a year buys the newest game to see what new additions there are to offer.
Unfortunately, the game in the past few years has felt stale and has done little to captivate its audience. The only thing new about the game each year is a roster update and smoother gameplay, but Electronic Arts (EA) has adapted a so called “copy and paste” style where the game format and style is the same (and has been for the past three years) and mask it with a color change essentially making people pay for the previous year’s game. EA has done nothing about this but instead insulted its dedicated and loyal fanbase by doing the same this year with the newest game in the franchise: Madden 21.
This year’s Madden cover is graced by reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, which is something the younger generation of fans will enjoy. The only new game mode added this year is the Yard, which lets players create a character and go up against CPU and players online while participating in a fantasy style draft, choosing which NFL superstars you want to play with. This is definitely the highlight of this year’s game and something EA can definitely build upon to make it a new reason for people to buy the game. The Face of the Franchise mode returns with a new, and at best, mediocre storyline that lets you control the career of an NFL player from high school all the way to the NFL. This mode fails to provide the fans with a captivating story mode that will keep them engaged and interested unlike their counterparts (NBA 2K21, UFC 4, etc.). One thing added to this mode was the ability to switch positions instead of being forced to be a quarterback, which you were in the previous years. Ultimate Team, the card collecting game mode beloved by the dedicated fanbase, still provides nothing new or exhilarating to keep these fans from being excited about this year’s installment. Also, not to mention, the franchise is an exact replica of last year’s and the only thing that has changed is the menu is blue. EA clearly has not listened to its community as franchise has been something they have been outcrying and yearning for improvement for years.
Madden is a mainstay in the video game industry when it comes to having a loyal fanbase that has stuck with them for decades. EA should listen and reward them by giving them a new experience that will completely captivate them like previous Madden games have and add simple features (like the addition of classic teams to the game) that will make it feel like a completely new game. This year’s installment feels like no time or effort was put into it and lackluster to sum it up best. With the new generation of consoles releasing within the next couple of months, Madden needs to become what it could be rather than the same thing every year.