Review: Madden NFL 21 – SENSES

Madden NFL 21 is a real buoy!

As a former semi-professional player of American football, I look forward to this “big game” every year. And every time in recent years, I have been just as disappointed. Madden NFL 21 is more or less an exact copy of last year’s edition, apart from the newly introduced game mode “The Yard”, which I will return to a little further down in the review.

Madden 21 trophy
Photo: Photo: screencap from the PS4 version

To start somewhere, I started by taking a look at the “Face of the franchise” section, which was introduced in last year’s edition Madden NFL 20. Face of the franchise is a reinterpretation of the old game mode “Career Mode”, a mode EA has taken back and is a small starting point to get started with, historically. IN Madden NFL 21 so I expected a lot more from it, as this time you can start your career already in high school to work all the way to the NFL and “Hall Of Fame”. That is the goal of the whole game mode, but to my disappointment it fell flat. The story is unreal; you can only choose between three positions to play: Quarterback, Running back & Wide receiver, but it is only later in the game you can choose the latter two. I also do not like that the whole story takes place by you sitting in an interview and playing “flashbacks” of your career. When I saw the animated sequences, I was asked if it really was of the year edition I got to play, as the graphics were downright really lousy. Stiff facial expressions and a mouth that does not hang with the speech that plays during the scene as well as sounds that cut – disappears to then come back – where you missed half the conversation.

Madden NFL 21 ful graphics
The graphics are not up to par 2020. Photo: screencap from the PS4 version

The Franchise Mode game mode is what made the game the giant it is in the genre, and it is also a carbon copy of last year. It’s the same look, it’s the same type of game book (complicated and too big) – nothing has been done to develop this game mode. Rather, this game mode has been reduced somewhat cruelly over the years, so at present it is no longer possible to employ certain coaching positions / team staff. These features, which are vital to the sport, cannot be found in the game.

Madden NFL 21 playbook
Complicated and at the same time too reduced. Photo: Photo: screencap from the PS4 version

Although the graphics look better when the camera angle is wide (further away), and controlling players in a match is fairly easy, there are too many things to keep track of to be able to enjoy playing. The game puts an incredible amount on a base PS4, especially at “Field Goal” and “Kick Off”, which meant that I missed a lot of points and ended up in a much worse position on the field. I also spent four hours spread over two days trying to reconnect to EA’s server, when it disconnected me and crashed constantly.

Madden NFL 21 field goal
Photo: screencap from the PS4 version

The Yard is a “new” game mode that was introduced in this year’s game which in my opinion is an upgrade of old NFL Street or, if you are not familiar with it, it is the equivalent of FIFA Street. This game mode is actually quite fun. The only problem is that it is contentless, there is not much to do. You play sex against sex with “street rules”, you can pass several times and the quarterback also plays Saftey in defense, for example. Colorful clothes and equipment make it difficult to see who is part of your team, as everyone can have different colors. But with all that said, this game mode has great potential, if EA Sports puts a little gunpowder to develop it.

Madden NFL 21 The Yard
The Yard is fun, but messy. Photo: screencap from the PS4 version

Summary: Unfortunately, as a lover of the game series, I have to state that as a whole this feels like the worst Madden NFL made so far. I’m a big fan of American football and have also played it myself for many years – but it feels like a real mockery that you launch a game that is not finished and where you put all your energy on Ultimate Team (because there it is a potential source of income for EA, as one has to spend real money to be able to get certain types of “Packs”).

Madden NFL 21 customize
Photo: screencap from the PS4 version

A real buoy sink simply. No, it’s back to the drawing board before Madden NFL 22.