It's no surprise that Madden 21, according to just about every early review and early access play-through, looks like cat shit steamed in a sauna. It's been at least 10 years since they've made a good Madden game, and, for months now, there's been no indication that Madden 21 would be any different. Still, it's disheartening to see just how awful this game is, considering we all warned the developers ahead of time. The hashtag #FixMaddenFranchise was trending on Twitter for far longer than any video game hashtag deserves to be trending in the middle of the pandemic. Even then, we got this:
I don't mean to just pick on the bugs. Bugs can be squashed in later season patches. However, it's a lot harder to patch out the corporate greed that runs rampant in this game. One such instance is the new gameplay mode called The Yard. (Get it? The yard -- like a backyard, but also the unit of measurement used in this laundering scheme disguised as a video game.) The Yard is a seven-on-seven arcade-style minigame similar to NFL Street, and, on the surface, it seems like a fun little addition.
But it's also rife with microtransaction opportunities. The players are fully customizable down to the mouthguard that they use, which is great because EA is going to need a mouthguard to keep from choking on all the cash they've squeezed out of this game.
What's most bizarre is that these customization options don't extend to the franchise mode. It's the same game, yet they didn't bother to port these customization tools from one mode to another. You'd think they were trolling us at this point. So many fans pleaded for increased customization in franchise to the point where they started a hashtag. So what does EA do? They dangle those features in front of us with a different game mode, like saying, "Yeah, we could fix all the issues, but where's the money in that?"
Then there's "Face Of The Franchise," a mode where you take control of a single player's career, and it might be one of the worst career modes in a sports game ever. The dialogue sounds like it is coming out of 80's porn, the gameplay doesn't offer any meaningful decisions, and the graphics once again look like they are coming out of 80's porn. Again, this is something that various other sports games have done better for decades.
Madden is supposed to be a simulation football game. That's how they market the game. That's why they bought a license from the NFL. They're the only ones who can make a realistic football game using real-world teams. Yet, nothing about the game feels anything like real-life, other than fans being exploited by a monopoly. That they got exactly right.
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Top Image: EA