After a disappointing release last time round Madden 22 has addressed many of the issues that were fed back from fans to make a much improved game this year.
Franchise mode has had a huge overhaul with big improvements to the interface and gameplay. This year players have an even greater ability to control different aspects of their team. Staff management has been improved allowing you to change your tactics game by game based on who you are facing next. This greater control integrates into your play-calling, improving your chances of winning. EA have promised live improvements throughout the year including the introduction of scouting. I’m looking forward to seeing how the mode improves throughout the year and hopefully fans of the game will be impressed by the update. Talent Tree give Franchise mode more of a RPG feel to the mode, which I don’t mind at all
Face of the Franchise is a bit of a let down however, over the years EA have been really good at implementing story based modes in their sports title, but this time round it feels paper thin. For those that don’t know. This mode lets you shape your story as a quarterback, wide receiver, running back or, for the first time, a linebacker striving to reach NFL superstardom. It starts well but peters out as you reach the NFL. You begin the mode in control of your superstar in the making but once you are drafted you change to team control. I’ve always been a fan of controlling just my player, it helps build a relationship with your character and is even more satisfying as you make a great catch or finish a great run. Unfortunately your character just becomes another play and that relationship quickly disappears.
One of the plus sides however is the ability to transfer your character over to The Yard, Madden’s street football mode. Although there haven’t been any sweeping changes to the mode, there are new locations and you can unlock new vanity, celebrations, and items in a new challenge-based solo campaign. Your progress is fully integrated with the updated avatar and unified progression system. I particularly enjoyed the new mode, Superstar KO. This is a co-op eliminator mode featuring quick games, unique stadiums, dynamic rules, and icons of football culture. There are modes for 3v3 and 2v2 play, plus it’s great they have brought over authentic teams and playbooks too.
Ultimate Team makes a return with new Strategy items that can boost your team, halftime adjustments are now available, allowing you to counter Superstar X-Factors. Dynamic Gameday integrates selected M-Factors and Next Gen Stats into Ultimate Team to track stats for your player items, including the historic stats of anyone who owned the item before you.
There have been plenty of improvements to the action on the field too, catching controls have been improved, players are more responsive and there have been improvements made to control & responsiveness in turning up the field after a catch, for both users and AI. Tackling is another area that has been refined to be more authentic, big, bruising ball carriers will be more likely to fall forward in tackles, whereas smaller, agile ball carriers will not be picking up those extra yards. The improved support for player size and weight mismatches really makes a difference. There are better animations for defenders blocking, allowing for my dynamic running lanes.The introduction of new animations has really improved the gameday experience. players are even more authentic and explosive, adding even more route-running and player-speed data. You’ll see ball carriers and defenders showing maximum effort in their run cycle at top speed; you’ll feel smooth and explosive control for QB’s both in and out of the pocket; receivers will use custom releases off the line to gain space against the press and deliver more control when turning up the field after a catch. With improvements to tackling and blocking it makes for an excellent upgrade.
As you would expect, Madden 22 looks incredible. I’ve been playing on the Xbox Series at 120hz and the game is smooth as butter. There are lots of improvements to the UI, from gameday graphics to playbook menus. Presentation has always been a huge strength from EA Sports and fans won’t be disappointed this year.
The main question each year is whether buying the latest version of the game is worth it? If you are a Madden fan then simply put, yes. All the new features are welcome but will no doubt improve year on year, if you are new to Madden the game works really hard to explain everything to you until you are ready.
Madden 22 is an excellent addition to anyone’s sports library.