Game Title: Madden NFL 21
- PC (Aug 28, 2020)
- Xbox One (Aug 28, 2020)
- PlayStation 4 (Aug 28, 2020)
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Madden 21 as a whole may feel like a bit of a letdown compared to the past few years in some areas, but The Yard definitely helps to make it worth it for players that are interested in trying something a little different. With the free upgrade to the next generation version and the promise of treating Franchise like a live service as the season goes on, Madden 21 is likely still going to be well worth the purchase in the long run, even if you may be left a little dissatisfied at this point.
Madden NFL 21 isn’t necessarily a bad game; it will improve over time with updates. Yet the product at launch is riddled with deficiencies and the incremental additions aren’t significant enough to warrant a purchase recommendation from me.
Madden 21 is a great game that old and new players would be excited to play. New modes and updated features like Superstar X-Factor and The Yard have put youth into a veteran series. The way the players acted and how the games sound makes it feel like a real NFL game and in 2020 that is needed. While it still has flaws, it may be one of the best Madden games yet.
Madden NFL 21 is a mess of lazy modes, bad gameplay, and a continued descent into a focus on over-monetized offerings. The Yard is a neat idea though!
While the gameplay is in as good of a spot as it’s been for a while, Madden 21 is dragged down but neglected features, stagnant and/or underdeveloped concepts.
Despite meager upgrades this year, Madden NFL 21 still delivers solid on-the-field action for football fans
Madden 21 takes a few shots down field but ultimately plays it safe – and in some ways, too safe.
Madden NFL 21 isn’t a bad game. It’s good, in fact. It just feels wholly unnecessary.
Madden NFL 21 has an excellent new game mode that's great for short spurts, but the series staples don't move the needle.
For Madden NFL 21, the only one that's going to be affected by any sort of Madden Curse is EA themselves. While it can initially get by with some fun gameplay, there's little here to justify playing this for an entire year until Madden NFL 22. For a game that's supposed to be the start of a new-generation of Madden, it lacks severely.
The series' most stylish entry ever thanks to The Yard and player customization, but these new features come without the substance required to contend for football glory.
Madden NFL 21 is as fun and realistic as every Madden game, especially in its new "The Yard" mode and its increased focus on superstars, but its stagnation in gameplay innovation and established modes makes it sometimes difficult to distinguish its improvements over previous games.
Madden NFL 21 is a solid product. It excels in several areas, like the presentation and Ultimate Team. The core gameplay is as fun and smooth as it's ever been, and I've been playing since Madden NFL 2005. But the new jewels in the crown are flawed and need to be polished a bit more.
Madden NFL 21 is a mix of missed opportunities.
Despite the fact that Madden NFL 21 features arguably the best core gameplay the series has ever seen and the introduction of a fun, albeit novel, new mode in The Yard, the continued neglect shown to classic Franchise mode, lack of innovation across the board, and technical issues leave this gridiron mismatch coming up short.
Madden NFL 21 is a strange beast. It is the same fun football experience that millions of players have come to love, yet I still expected a little more from it. While it features refined gameplay and fun game modes, its lackluster story mode and plethora of graphical glitches don’t reflect what a game releasing this year should look like. The online modes will keep you playing through various simulation and customizable options, but most of this is just more of the same in comparison to what has already been delivered.
All that being said, if you understand that and simultaneously understand that Madden 21 offers up a good game of football between the lines, then there is something here for you. If you're looking for Madden to be more than that this year, then just wait until next-gen to see if it's improved, or wait until the game has a big sale/hits EA Play.
Madden NFL 21 makes a good attempt at adding variety into a tried and true formula. However, Face of The Franchise has awkward and dry storytelling and cannot match up to the excellence that Longshot offered the franchise. The Yard has some ambitious ideas and offers up a nice change of pace, but it needs some control tweaks to feel like the mode it's trying to be. The fundamentals are getting better and better, with gameplay getting long-awaited touches of realism.
At the end of the day, Madden NFL 21 is only worth a look if you want in on Ultimate Team or you were turned off by its attempts at being an NFL simulation and are looking for something even more arcadey.
Dedicated players are going to pick this game up no matter what, but it’s tough to justify a $60 purchase on a game that feels too similar to what we’ve gotten the past three-plus years.
Madden 21 is fine and serviceable but other than The Yard (and that’s a stretch), there’s almost nothing that is worth getting excited over this year.
Madden 21's gameplay takes some appreciable steps forward as the generation comes to a close, with The Yard providing some casual fun. The experience is marred by an abnormal number of bugs though, and the single-player modes remain a major sore point. Ultimately, it's able to pick up a few yards on the way to the next generation of consoles, but just a few.
Madden NFL 21 offers some fun new modes and significant fixes, but bugs and lack of care to many of the games core modes prevents it from elevating itself amongst the greats.
Considering that this could be the closest thing we see to "normal" football for a long time, Madden NFL 21 works. However, I can't shake the feeling that more could be done. Some things feel practically untouched. The create-a-player faces are still weird. Why can there be such a discrepancy in head sizes? Why can't I seem to port over the player I created in Face of the Franchise into a regular roster or at least have him available in regular create-a-player? The array of quarterback throwing motions still seems limited, and it pales in comparison to the way players in other sports games are so heavily signaturized. I still feel there's plenty of work to be done with this franchise, and that so-called "next level" we keep looking for can be reached. For now, I might tighten up my Yard skills, see what new decisions I can make in a new career mode, and beef up on my RPO mastery while I hope for more in next year's Madden outing.
Madden 21 is the first time I have found it hard to recommend upgrading. It truly does feel like a roster update in a lot of areas.
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