As someone who knows jack squat about video games, (actually, I take that back— I am impeccable at Mario Kart), today I will attempt to write about the newest, most highly anticipated video game on the market: Madden NFL 21.
You see, I don’t really have a choice, because not only did Madden drop the game’s trailer this morning, it also just so happens to be Video Game week at SB Nation. (Maybe they did that on purpose?)
Let me start by saying I am no stranger to the Madden video game series. My husband has played the game at least once a day since I met him five years go. I know how the game works. I’ve seen and heard the incredibly realistic graphics and announcing. I know that players and teams have ratings and whatnot. I do not know how to play, but I know what the game looks like, which makes me feel qualified to continue.
Firstly, let’s localize the game for you, a loyal Ohio State fan who’s probably here to read Ohio State content.
In the trailer, former Ohio State and current Washington Redskins defensive end Chase Young is prominently shown sacking Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and tackling Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders. EA Sports knows what’s coming from the Redskins rookie this year.
You can check out the full trailer below, where you will notice former Ohio State/LSU and current Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow got a bit of screen time as well:
Now as for the game itself, apparently the above trailer is leaving fans feeling “underwhelmed.” Here’s what Jordan Heck of Sporting News had to say:
...fans were expecting something of substance by the time the trailer finally got here. Instead, we got very vague descriptions of what might be new features. All fans got to see were title cards followed by gameplay, without more context as to what some of these things even mean.
We got four main title cards, which means EA Sports placed extra emphasis on these being big features. But one of them was simply “user-controlled celebrations.” I enjoy playing Madden, but figuring out which celebration I want to do is a very minor feature that gets stale after you’ve scored enough touchdowns. Plus, that feature is seemingly already in the game as you can select from four different celebrations when you reach the end zone in “Madden 20.”
I’m going to be honest with you. Since I have never actually played the game, I do not know what the different features mean or how they are different to Madden NFL 20. For example, the four new features that Madden emphasized in the trailer that Heck mentions above include:
- Ball carrier skill stick
- New pass-rush control
- Realistic open-field tackling
- User controlled celebrations
If these are new updates, I’m confused as to how people even played the previous versions of Madden without a ball carrier skill stick, open-field tackling and a pass-rush control? I mean, all of those things sound pretty integral for a football video game.
“Since EA Sports didn’t expand on what that means in the trailer, fans were left wondering if the developers even made any changes at all... Most of them provided the same criticism you get every year which is something along the lines of, ‘Madden is just a $60 roster update,’” Heck writes.
Upon further research, EA also provided details on a new “game mode” coming to Madden 21:
“Face of the Franchise: Rise to Fame: A playable documentary career campaign where players create a quarterback, halfback or wide receiver and play through their rise to fame with experiences in high school and college, at the NFL Combine and NFL Draft, as well as in the NFL.”
Okay, that sounds pretty cool.
According to Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report, “...there will also be more than 50 new Superstar X-Factor abilities, Live Playbooks 2.0, and a new season of Ultimate Team content.”
Okay, I have no idea what that means.
EA also announced improvements in how the game looks, including updated graphics (which is pretty amazing considering I already do a double take to check whether or not its real football on our TV) and “in the overall authenticity and presentation with new on field camera shots and improved player awareness of their positioning and surroundings on the field.”
Does this mean my husband will stop yelling at his players for doing things he didn’t tell them to do with his controller? I hope so.
Anyway, as much as all you Madden fans are complaining about the changes—or lack therof—to the game, I know for a fact that you’re all going to pay the $60 regardless. I know this because I am married to a Madden fan.
The game arrives on PS4, Xbox One and PC on August 28th for the general public, but if you pre-order it now, or if you’re apart of some VIP, all-access, premier something or other, you can play three days early beginning on August 25th.
For more in-depth and sensical information on release dates and the game itself, check out this article from Forbes.