Madden’s Fundamental Flaws Won’t Be Fixed By Next-Gen Consoles Alone

This past weekend felt extra long for my Madden 21 Franchise league members and I thanks to the EA servers being down from Thursday evening through Monday night. A hotfix update managed to get us back up and running, but only after restarting the game and our consoles multiple times. Frustrating? You bet. Surprised by the technical issues? Not so much.

It’s no secret that, in its current state, Madden 21 is struggling to strike a chord with the majority of its players. Even with the addition of The Yard – Madden’s first major game mode addition in years – there’s just something about Madden 21 that feels too loose and unpolished. Looking back on my original review of the game, I feel like the excitement and anticipation that comes with each annual release probably played a part in the score that I awarded (even though I did admit in the review that it wasn’t quite as well-executed as Madden 20). If I were to re-review the game, it would probably drop by at least half a star.

But is that fair? After all, it’s hard to imagine that the majority of technical and gameplay improvements for the current generation of consoles were the primary focus. Have you seen the in-game footage from the Xbox Series X? It looks incredible. Couple that with current-gen Madden owners receiving dual entitlement to the game should they get a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S, and it just makes sense that most of the work for this year’s game probably went into next-gen.

So, then, we should expect the Madden franchise to make major strides with the next generation of consoles, right? Timeout. That’s probably a call that needs to be reviewed from the booth.

Even though a new Madden is released every year, each release seems to come with its own slew of issues. Trying to call an HB Pass trick play? Hope you enjoy fumbling, because that’s what will happen unless you have a perfect quarterback/running back combo. Speaking of trick plays… where the hell is the Flea Flicker? And when will cornerbacks stop strafing as a #1 wide receiver zooms past them on a go route?

Granted, these are just some personal gripes, with almost every other Madden player having their own specific dislikes about the game. After all, “Fix Franchise mode” is one of the most common complaints. It’s a fair one, to be honest. Franchise mode has seen more than its fair share of ups and downs, which is pretty surprising given the mode’s popularity. Even worse, though, is the fact that EA seems to know that the fan-favorite mode has needed fixing for a long time. Thankfully, it appears that the team is finally doing something about it with its three-stage plan to overhaul Franchise mode.

But is it too little too late? Should we expect this “overhaul” to be all we get until the PlayStation 6 and Xbox Series 2: Electric Boogaloo comes out? God, I hope not. I want to believe that EA will continue listening to the constructive feedback that comes from the Madden community and get Franchise mode – and the game as a whole – back to being the best that it can possibly be.

Of course, dollars speak louder than words, and I – like I’m sure the majority of other current Madden players – have no intention of not picking up the game every single year. So, while I’m hopeful that next-gen brings out the best of EA and the Madden franchise, I’m not going to hold my breath.

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Sam has been writing for TheGamer since early 2018, earning the role as the Lead Features & Review Editor in 2019. The Denver, Colorado-native’s knack for writing has been a life-long endeavor. His time spent in corporate positions has helped shape the professional element of his creative writing passion and skills. Beyond writing, Sam is a lover of all things food and video games, which – especially on weekends – are generally mutually exclusive, as he streams his gameplay on Twitch (as well as TheGamer’s Facebook page) under the self-proclaimed, though well-deserved moniker of ChipotleSam. (Seriously…just ask him about his Chipotle burrito tattoo). You can find Sam on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as @RealChipotleSam.

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