Look, Madden. I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed. It seems like Madden continues to be making only minor improvements each year within the last you never know how many years, and Madden NFL 22 sadly is affected with the same problems since it's predecessors. It’s a pleasurable game, which is better than last year’s entry, but the new features are not enough to justify the price tag. It shows promise in certain areas, but that just helps make the whole experience even more bittersweet.
I thought last year’s Madden 21 would be the big one, the very first next-gen Madden game taking full benefit of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. It wasn’t. While other sports franchises like NBA 2K21 saw a huge graphical leap on next-gen, Madden 21 remained largely exactly the same on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. FIFA, EA’s other premier sports franchise, also received a decent next-gen facelift.
Many people gave EA the advantage of the doubt, attributing Madden 21’s condition to the developers familiarizing themselves with the new next-gen hardware and developing during a pandemic. Madden 22, however, was sure to be a hit with another year of next-gen experience, I thought. It’s not.
Madden 22 primarily innovates on two fronts this year: Franchise Mode and Dynamic Gameday. There are other improvements across the board too, but these are the big two selling points enticing players to upgrade. Franchise Mode now features skill trees for your coaching staff, there will also be a lot of new storyline scenarios that pop up during the season. A scouting update is coming soon after launch, consider it’s not hanging around now, I can’t present an opinion onto it. It's nice to see Franchise getting serious attention after being left to the side for thus long, but these improvements still aren’t enough to make it feel fully fleshed out.
Dynamic Gameday, however, is a step in the right direction. The Momentum system places a tug-of-war style meter towards the top of the screen, awarding a perk towards the team that fills up their side. Home Field Advantage awards one more perk to teams playing in their own stadium. Crowds have new animations, sounds, and reactions underneath the banner of “Gameday Atmosphere.” Momentum and residential Field Advantage place an interesting twist on the established Madden formula, and the new crowds are a noticeable improvement. I am hoping these features are elaborated upon within the years to come because atmosphere is a huge part of football.
As far as other modes go, Face from the Franchise is laughable in its current state. Stories and characters have never been Madden’s strong suit, but this year they’re especially bad. The mode can also be buggier than these for whatever reason. The bugs aren’t exactly game-breaking, however they were frequent enough to become annoying. Sometimes the subtitles wouldn't match what characters were saying, characters would clip through each other in the game or their feet would clip through the ground, and the commentators would the wrong things. There’s a general insufficient polish, and also the mode’s strengths aren’t as strong as they could be.
The Yard returns this year with a few improvements, and the mode is still a great time. This mode is one of the best items to come to Madden previously couple of years, so it’s nice to determine it return. This year, The Yard features a campaign divided into four chapters with unique venues and house rules. Each chapter has a high-profile NFL player that serves as a boss that must be defeated to be able to progress to the next chapter. The Yard provides a breath of fresh air from the more serious modes, and the campaign and improved progression system give it an extended shelf life of computer had this past year.
Despite my frustrations with the franchise’s stagnation, I'll admit the game is really a step above Madden 21. It looks and plays better than last year, although not by much. Home Field Advantage, Momentum, and dynamic crowds really make a difference, sure, but they’re not exactly revolutionary. Next-Gen Stats still feels like an underutilized system. Franchise Mode got the largest facelift this year, but even that simply feels like a previously ignored mode being raised for an acceptable level. After your day, the improvements are incremental.
And that’s the biggest problem with Madden 22: it’s not enough. Yes, it’s a little bit better. Yes, it’s playable and you can have a perfectly good time by using it. But for a $70 game that has years and years of feedback and experience to build from, it’s insufficient. Madden deserves better, which makes its complacency hurt that rather more.
It’s ridiculous that Madden is really as popular as it's while it remains to date behind its contemporaries. Baseball fans love MLB The Show each year. NBA 2K has its problems, but at least that game designed a huge graphical jump when it hit next-gen consoles. Madden can do so much better.
The franchise needs revitalization. The majority of the problems with farmville and the ones that came before it stem from the truth that Madden continues to be using the exact same framework and skeleton for a long time at this point. Take a moment off. Return with a brand new foundation. Produce a truly next-generation Madden experience. I can see hints of this true next-gen experience of Madden NFL 22, but the game feels like it’s being held back.
All in most, Madden NFL 22 is ultimately disappointing. Despite many years, still it feels like EA is coasting on its exclusive rights to NFL simulation football. I actually do appreciate the improvements to Franchise Mode, I love the direction the game is going with crowds and also the gameday experience, and also the Yard is still fun, however the core of the game remains underwhelming. After your day, it’s still football so it’s at least somewhat enjoyable, but every play left me wondering what this game could seem like if there is some competition or perhaps a serious overhaul of its core systems.