It’s hard to find any optimism in the Madden NFL 21 community, but a few football fans with a glass half-full of Gatorade had hoped that this year’s PlayStation 4 game was so disappointing because EA Sports was all-in on the next-gen upgrade. Now the PlayStation 5 version is readily available, we’re afraid to say this is another fumble in the long-running franchise.
Let’s make one thing clear from the outset: the game is a tiny bit better on Sony’s new system. While the graphical enhancements don’t come anywhere close to FIFA 21, the bump in resolution and new Next-Gen Stats replays are pretty nice. The weather effects are also a bit better – particularly the rain – while the sidelines are a bit more active.
The loading times also make a huge difference, particularly in Ultimate Team which has been designed around small gameplay challenges for some time. The fact that you can now work your way through missions without having to wait for each one to individually load over and over again dramatically improves the flow, and is a real game-changer.
The problem is there just aren’t enough game-changers across the rest of the package. EA Sports said pre-release that it would integrate real-world NFL data using Next-Gen Stats, and it has made a minor difference to the flow of the game. Unless you’re controlling speed demons like Tyreek Hill, you’ll find your players move in a more lifelike manner, which is nice.
But by and large, aside from some minuscule alterations to the way players balance on the turn, the gameplay is almost entirely identical, using the same animations as the PS4 version. While it’s not as horrific as some Reddit commenters would lead you to believe, it’s disappointing – especially when you compare it to what NBA 2K21 delivered for its next-gen debut.
In fact, we’d argue some elements have gone a few yards backwards. The new playcalling menu – which now allows you to favourite plays like in some past Madden NFL games – is really cumbersome to use, and has forced us into half a dozen inexplicable delay of game penalties while wrestling with it. We’re still looking for the QB Kneel play, actually.
Elsewhere, this is the exact same game. The godawful tale of Tommy Matthews and his dicky ticker returns, but we wouldn’t recommend playing through it. We still think there’s promise in the Face of the Franchise concept, but EA Sports needs much better writers, and we’d prefer it to segue into something more meaningful, as the watered-down Franchise mode that follows is disappointing.
In fact, even with all its options enabled, Franchise mode is still a pale imitation of what you find in other sport games. While there are some minor management mechanics, like negotiating contracts and trading players, it’s clear fans want a deeper experience – like the ability to hire and fire coordinators, design schemes depending on the opponent, and so forth.
The Yard, a kind of arcade-themed backyard football mode, is still a lot of fun on PS5, and it has expanded with new environments and challenges since the initial PS4 release, which is nice. Other than that, though, you can read our Madden NFL 21 PS4 review and our thoughts are unchanged – this is, by and large, the same game.
Madden NFL 21 has all the same problems as its PS4 predecessor, because it’s basically the same game. The presentation has taken a half-step forward owing to the increase of hardware power, but it’s many yards behind the standard now set by FIFA 21 and NBA 2K21. The increased loading times improve the flow of modes like Ultimate Team, and the gameplay is marginally more authentic thanks to the implementation Next Gen Stats, but an ageing Franchise mode and some tired animations mean this is hardly the improvement fans anticipated.
yes i agree with you on that.. Gameplay is solid especially player movement and footplanting.. Franchise Mode absolutely need full overhaul including simulated stats
Madden should change their name to Fake Football
Funny. I didn't like FIFA very much, but Madden was bringing me a ton of fun.
The problem with Madden is the fact that EA doesn't innovate the game. It's the same rehashed Madden game we've all played the last 15 years or so.
And that's the bad thing about having exclusive license in that EA doesn't need to reinvent or improve the game because there's no other NFL licensed game we can purchase and they know that.
I miss the old NFL 2k games because those games were fun and more sim vs Madden which is more arcade.
@Medic_Alert even if they charged $40-$50 for a yearly roster update, that would be better than the current process. It seems like they would be able to make better changes that the fans are asking for that way.
@Splat Oh no, not a hashtag, any sort of fan movement will get you lynched by Nintendo fans.
@nessisonett What the f-k? 😳
@EVIL-C Hahaha, just the whole #freemelee controversy. Also, Madden sucks just to make it relevant to the thread.
EA continues to defecate on their fan base.
Even in 2020, ESPN NFL 2k6 >>>>>>>>>⁹ madden nfl "any year"
@nessisonett Ohhhh lol yes, that I am briefly aware of. 😋
I agree with your Madden statement as well. 😉
The hours I used to spend playing Madden were no doubt compulsive and unhealthy. It disgusts me to see how EA has let this once great franchise molder into decay.
God, I hate the soundtracks on the NFL games over past couple of years, maybe the last decade, maybe the last two!!!
I bet it still doesn't look like the xbox 360 announcement trailer!
Mutant Football League is a far better game then Madden.
Madden NFL peaked back on the PS2 with the 04 and 05 iterations. Going back to the 16-bit days, it was for a long time among my favorite series, shame to see how far it's fallen over what will now be 3 generations of consoles.
"The NFC East of sports sims"
Having just watched the Jets blow a W can we change that subtitle to "The NY Jets of sports sims"? 🤣
It is just another huge example of EA being lazy. The game sells so they cannot be bothered to put any effort into each years game. As long as people keep buying EA’s awful yearly sports games they will keep doing it again and again.
@Medic_Alert While I agree that EA can't reinvent the sport they're simulating, there's loads they could do to make Madden better. Just the presentation alone and the way it's packaged is several rungs below NBA 2K and The Show.
They could do so much more with Franchise mode, as well. I do enjoy The Yard which they added this year, so that's a good start.
@eltomo Yeah this year's soundtrack drives me nuts. "Flag on the play... There's a flag on the play. Like Julio with them Falcons, shake and bake."
Can never get it out of my head!
@rjejr It's not quite that bad!
16 entries since Madden NFL 05, and all of them not good in their own way. So I'd agree with @rjejr that it is that bad. And I'm a Jets fan.
@Gamer83 I'm sorry to learn that!
@PhhhCough 2k6 ? you mean 2k5 ?
@Gamer83 yep. EA hired people who doing horrible job for current gen and next gen since Madden 15.. Madden 10 and 11 were great games on ps3
@Gamer83 Bummer. Hang in there, Mets got new ownership after all these years. Knicks though...
@get2sammyb Fair enough. Maybe if Ubisoft made it.
@rjejr @gamer83 Mets Giants Knicks here; not much better lol. Happy about Cohen though!
My favorite MLB team is the Yankees, so we'll see how that goes. Should be competitive again but not a real World Series championship contender.
LMAO, can't always pick a winner.
@DrJames I read your comment before your name and thought man the word defecate in a gaming website comment section!! then I noticed your name. ( high class comment)
@doctommaso "Mets Giants Knicks"
Read those 3 and my brain filled in Rangers even though you didn't type it. I was considering becoming a Nets fan yesterday reading the Sunday paper but decided I'd rather root for an underdog than a team w/ KD and Kyrie. I'll pay attention though, see if they can be competitive. Maybe some Jets & Jets fans can hope onboard for the rhyming?
@Gamer83 Yankee fans certainly got spoiled the past 23 years or so. I know it's been a bit of a rough spot the past decade but seriously, while Yankee fans judge their season by whether or not they win the championship, probably Patriots fans as well, most other fans are judging their season by whether or not the team is over .500. Really, how often have the Yanks been under .500 the past, well ever? Even the Mattingly teams weren't bad, bad.
I think the up & down tide of most sports teams is lost on Yankees fans, even when they miss the playoffs they play like .550 ball. Have they ever lost 100? Jets could lose 100 this year if it was a 100 game season. 🤣
The Yankees had a rough patch in the early 90s but yeah it's nothing like what fans of most teams have to suffer. The Jets are an absolute joke and always have been. Happen to know if Steve Cohen is also an NFL fan? The Jets current ownership is beyond terrible, in fact, they're worse than the Wilpons.
@Gamer83 I think I've seen memes on twitter for Cohen to buy the Jets.
What's really crazy is that just months ago when the Jets and Giants were both 0-5 and the tank for Trevor thing was going strong how bad they both were, but the Giants went 5-2 and the Jets went 0-forever, and yesterday was just like YIKES! Knicks always have a problem recruiting but who wants to go to that Jets team?
Sanchez and Ryan run was only 10 years ago, must feel like a lifetime for Jets fans. That butt fumble aint' looking too bad after yesterday.
Sanchez & Ryan >>>>>> Darnold & Gase 😛
I've rooted for the Jets for 33 years. The first two years of the Ryan and Sanchez era was the best football I've seen from that franchise in that time. 😂
@Gamer83 Well at least you don't have to worry about zero blitzes any more. My wife put on NFL network while we had lunch. If I never hear zero blitz again in my life I'm good. #tankfortrevor
@MichaelHawj yes! The one with T.O. on the cover! Chris Berman halftime show! Awesome game!!
Everyone knows the best Madden is Madden 08.
@rjejr @gamer83 Yeah, I kinda root for the Rangers, but I am not much of a hockey guy. I guess I tended to go for the teams in blue and orange (or blue and red) as a kid, which coincidentally are the official NYC colors. Also, the Yankee fans were arrogant mental/emotional bullies in my school, so that pushed me further away from any chance of rooting for them as a kid (ironically, the only World Series game I have been to is a Yankees one, in 1978 or 1979; I can't recall which). I also root for the Jets and Nets, but more peripherally. Baseball is my true sport as a fan.
@PhhhCough i wish 2k make NFL game against EA's Madden like good competition on Football game every year.. EA need stop being greedy with NFL exclusive contract
@MichaelHawj well, hopefully with these woeful games, the nfl drops ea🤞😬
Thankfully we can go back and play 16-bit Madden. And I did really enjoy Madden on the Xbox era systems but I only played franchise mode which seems to get neglected. Sad.
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