Madden-ing New Game

September 4, 2020
By Chris Steele

So it was the official start of college football season this week which, yay — I guess?

However, for football junkies like me, the football season always begins each year with the release of Madden.

Madden 21 was released on August 28 with Lamar Jackson as the perfect cover athlete.

Jackson brings the ideal combination of excitement and innovation to the gridiron, but those elite combination of skills are lacking in the game.

Each year, video game fans are ready to jump back into their favorite past time — crushing Madden online for not changing at all.  

The Madden franchise rolled out its newest game mode in The Yard.

If you haven’t played The Yard, it’s like if NFL Street and NFL Blitz had an NBA 2K micro-transaction baby that lacks any personality.

Unless you want to buy some personality for the low, low cost of — I don’t know I’m not buying that nonsense and didn’t bother to look.  

Another plus of the Yard is that anytime you are in the main menu, you are greeted by the player that is supposed to vaguely look like you, but it doesn’t look remotely like you.

I spent about 10 minutes trying to make a character, before settling on a character that vaguely looks like Colin Kaepernick.

It was a pretty wild ride getting to that point before just giving up entirely, but I’m OK with it.

Despite the introduction of The Yard, Superstar KO makes a return this year.

Superstar KO seems a little redundant after getting a new mode in The Yard, but it was a big hit last year and needed to be back.

The franchise mode, which has been stagnant for several years, remains the same, and Madden Ultimate Team allows everyone to lust after legendary cards they will spend the next few months grinding to attain.

Or — for the low, low cost of I don’t know I’m not buying that nonsense and didn’t bother to look — you can skip the grinding and just buy the cards and wreck all these noobs while they try to earn the card the old fashion way.    

The game’s one redeeming quality is the face of the franchise mode.

This is a story based mode where you take a journey of a young player on their rise to fame.

The writing for this game mode is always top-notch, the actual game is perfunctory as they craft a great narrative for you to get excited about.

The only drawback to this game mode is that once you reach the NFL, they can’t really do a whole lot to keep the story moving forward, and it deteriorates into are you going to trash talk text with Tom Brady or praise him.

I wish you got a chance to send a specialized text because I would love to tell him Chad Pennington had a stronger arm.

So if you want to count online exhibition games, Madden 21 gives you six different game modes to choose from.

However, in typical Madden, each has its own flaws.

If Madden would break this game down into three different games and make each of them stronger, I might buy all three.

The Madden franchise seemed poised to do something big with Jackson on the cover, but this milquetoast outing does little to quiet its many detractors.

The in-game play is essentially the same as last year except line play got a little more user friendly, and you now can make your players dance after seemingly every play.

Yay — I guess?

I’m disappointed, but I think Jackson as the cover athlete says a lot about the series itself.

The potential is there, it just needs the right minds to unlock it.

Until then, help me Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2. You are my only hope.