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Does Madden 21 Suck?

Today is launch day for EA’s latest installment of the Madden franchise. If you’re like me, you probably have spent an ungodly amount of time in your life playing Madden.

Whether you’re a good player who actually pays attention to sub packages and such, or just the guy who runs four verticals and engage eight every other play, I am here to tell you whether or not you should buy this years game.

Staying the Same or Worse…

Franchise: As many of you know, EA did not even touch franchise mode. Which sucks. I’ve already put more effort into this blog than they did into probably the most popular mode in the game.

So if you mostly play franchise mode, I would probably just play Madden 20, update your rosters and stick to that because it’s literally the same.

Career Mode: Face of the Franchise was I think personally, good last year. And I was looking forward to Madden 21 building off of that. But did they? NOPE.

Instead the story is stale and devoid of reason. Nothing you really do matters, and it seems as though no matter what, you get drafted by the Chicago Bears.

The only worthy additions to the mode are that you can now switch to be a running back or wide receiver and that the story doesn’t just stop once you reach the NFL like last year.

These are probably my two favorite game modes. So it sucks to see that literally no attention or care was put towards them this year.

Gameplay However…

Personally I think the gameplay is fantastic this year. I know some people don’t like it but I am a big fan.

Ball Carrier Skill Stick: The right analog stick has been somewhat tuned into I think what they call the pro stick. But it allows for you to string different jukes and moves together. Where as in past years you were relegated to making one move per defender. And more than likely being on the receiving end of a massive hit stick if your player wasn’t great at juking.

This year though you can string moves together, and while we all want the ankle breaking jukes, I’ve had plays where the slight move can wiggle my player forward that one extra yard, which is cool to see because that’s real life.

Location Based Tackling: AI tackling has also been improved. In days of yore, the AI would take a straight beeline at the ball carrier and sometimes all it took was the user listing lazily to the left to get away from them.

But now your AI defenders will break down in front of a ball carrier and have the awareness of knowing where the sticks or goal line are.

D-Line Skill Stick: The defensive line play has also been revamped which was much needed. In past versions of the game all it took was correctly timing a button to make a pass rush move. It felt stale, and like you did literally nothing.

This year the right analog stick is back, and you can chain moves together to try and beat your man. As a former defensive lineman I appreciate this tweak. While you’ve been setting up the tackle all day with the speed rush outside, on that critical third down, when he jumps way outside, you can make an inside move and beat him. That’s going to make playing defensive line an actual option, rather than for people who don’t know how to play defense.

The other significant change to gameplay is the “Change of Direction” rating. It replaces the “elusiveness” rating which use to only apply to skill position players. It now applies to everyone and makes the game feel more real.

In years past, we all know you could user any decently fast middle linebacker and basically take away any route over the middle of the field. He was like having a third safety who could also defend the run.

Well not so much anymore. Linebackers have a much slower change of direction rating than receivers, or corners. And while it’s still a viable option to play coverage with that player, it’s not as dominant as it once was. And while some veteran Madden players might hate this component, those of us who are after a more realistic experience, like this change.

What The Heck is The Yard?

New to Madden 21 is a game mode called “The Yard” and you can easily see where EA spent most of their time working on this game compared to updating Franchise Mode or making a worthwhile career mode.

The Yard is basically a football version of NBA 2K’s “My Park.” It’s suppose to be just silly stupid fun and not to be taken seriously.

And from what I can see, it does look like fun!

You’re teamed up with overpowered super stars as well as your own created avatar. For the people who enjoy making their players look ridiculous, then this is the mode for you!

It seriously does look like fun, and if you want to spend a few hours one night, shutting your brain off and just running around a football field doing stupid stuff then this is right up your alley.

Final Take

I’m pretty torn on this year’s Madden honestly. While I am super excited about the new gameplay improvements that make the game feel more real. I just can’t get over how franchise mode was literally untouched and the career mode took a big step back. And while The Yard could be fun, it doesn’t make me want to stay up till 2 AM on a Friday night playing it.

I mean if I am being honest, I’ll still buy it. I know I’m the problem but I can’t help myself.

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Connor Ryan (@connoryan68/@PodVerbalCommit/@YourFantasy_CGS)

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