New year, new me – That applies to almost everything, except any EA Sports game, and that includes Madden 21. Every year you wait for that August release of Madden and every year you complain that you’re paying for a game that only updates their roster. This year, again, is no different. You’re getting just that, alongside a few tweaks that could have been incorporated into an update for Madden 20. Well, that’s a lie because you get a new game mode as well. The game mode is called “The Yard” and it gives you an opportunity to play a mode actually worth putting your energy into, but only for a small period of time. You have to assume that the developers at EA Sports Madden are reading the customer feedback each year, but year-end and year-out they continue to showcase the same game to us. The lack of changes again this year could result in the faith of Madden fans being completely gone. I was able to play the game for 10 hours before launch, and this is my honest take on Madden 21 before the game launches worldwide on August 28, 2020.

Madden has forever been the football game to play. It comes out every year and no other games can compete with it, but let’s be honest – That’s only because there is nothing else to play. It’s a shame that we’re limited to Madden for a couple reasons. Obviously everyone wants options, but EA knows they’re the only ones producing football games worth a damn and because of that, they can continue to be lazy towards the game’s development. This laziness gets to be so much of a problem that they’ve copy and pasted the majority of the game you’ve been playing for the last 2-3 years into Madden 21.

Take Franchise mode for example. This copy and pasted mode is a fan favorite, or well it used to be. Fans have noticed that the last few years everything from the commentary to the cinematics are all copy and pasted from previous titles because Madden chose to focus the majority of their time on modes no one asked for. There are so many different things you can come up with to either fix Franchise mode or add to it in order to make it worth playing. The smallest amount of time and energy into this mode could bring more fans to the game, but they still continue to ignore it. Why? I don’t have a damn clue.

They also focus too much attention on their HUT mode. I understand why the mode is popular, as I myself also play it. It’s funny because It’s glorified gambling for kids and they know it. They cater way too much of their time towards this mode, coming out with new cards and packs to ensure you’re always needing to pay to win. It’s a shame that we’re in this back and forth limbo with Madden. The majority of fans want to boycott the game and try and get them to understand that we’re fed up with the lack of changes each year. The problem with doing this is that we end up making it so we can’t play a football game for the year. When you have only this one option, you end up relying on it regardless of whether there are changes or not. That roster update ends up being just enough of a reason to buy the game… and they know that. I always thought it was funny when they would win awards for “The Best Football Game” when they really are the only football game out, unless you want to try your luck and play a legit pile of garbage with those indie football titles in the store.

The mechanics and graphics are always something to look for when Madden drops each year. You always hear about how Madden has integrated some crazy awesome new mechanic into their game that is game changing. This is usually always an exaggeration and although they do add new mechanics, it’s nothing so different that it’s jaw dropping and intriguing enough to go out and buy the game for that specific reason. They’ll change up the run game slightly, add new moves to your defensive lineman, or add some type of new ability to a player that is similar to what they do on the actual field. These changes are small and end up being a change that anyone and their mother knows were added quickly and with limited effort. We need more as a customer and fan. With the new game mode “The Yard” you do get a new take on Madden mechanics but, as always, you’re limited to what you can do and the mode itself lacks depth.

The Yard is a new mode that Madden is hopeful will bring in new fans. For years, gamers have asked the Gaming Gods for a game similar to NFL Street. Gamers now have an opportunity to play something similar, but the lack of depth in the mode will only keep you playing for a limited time. In this mode, you play a 6v6 H2H (or against CPU) game that has also incorporated street-like mechanics. You will have the ability to perform crazy catches, tackles, and trick plays that you’ve been wanting to do for years now – it’s just a shame that Madden restricts what all you can do with this mode, though. From the start, you pick where you want to play. Each level design has a specific challenge associated to it. You will then be able to select a team from a pool of players for each position until you have your team of 6. You start off the character selection by picking your own avatar and picking the positon you’d like them to be. After this, you’ll then have an opportunity to select a particular version of your character that you can level up. These versions I’m making reference to are mirrored after actual NFL stars and depending on who you choose will determine the displacement of skill points for that position/type of player. The mode has so much potential, it just needs more options. I want to be able to customize my character with more items, select my own team of players instead of picking them from a pool, and they also need to add more in regards to challenges.

All and all, it’s a Madden game that you expected. It’s nothing fancy and different. It’s just a football game with a new roster update, new HUT cards to keep you spending money for another year, alongside a new mode in “The Yard” that lacks depth. I’m a football fan, through and through, and I’m guilty of buying into the hype every year. We can act like EA Sports is going to surprise us and give us a game that’s different and incorporates everything we’ve asked for throughout the years, but it’s not happening. EA used to be a game that had to compete with 2K, but now they’re a low-key monopoly that we continue to allow to prosper from being lazy. It’s going to take more than just my voice to get the gaming world to understand that copy and pasting games each year is not acceptable. EA Sports needs to be blasted for this. They continue to do this across all of their games and it’s pathetic. Madden 21 is the best take on football for gamers, but it’s your only option. If you’re desperate to get your football fix, then buy this game. If you’re tired of EA Sports manipulating you each year for profit, then I’d suggest moving on and waiting for their development to finally care, but that probably will never happen.

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