A few years back, I was tasked with choosing my “NFL team” so I could try to take in the American football season with more enjoyment.
A few days later, after having watched a few highlights of teams, I finally stumbled upon Lemar Jackson, a quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens who played the game the way I
play Madden 21 – gung-ho and without a care for the playbook.
It’s a hard game to understand for most people here, minus the fans who religiously watch and can keep tabs – and I’ve always found EA Sports’ Madden games in the same vein. They are hard to get to grips with but the fun element was always there and this year something just seemed to click for me.
The game looks incredible – it’s always been at the forefront of the motion capture technology that’s used by EA alongside old favourite FIFA.
But this year, whether it’s because I understand more or whether it’s the improvements in gameplay – like the new innovative skill stick that allows more creative freedom on and off the ball with the flick of the right stick or the new and improved player animations all over the pitch –the game just feels more complete.
A great addition this year is playing football like you’re back in the playground with your friends and pulling out all the stops for the bragging rights – The Yard mode is where you build your own player and kit him out in the best gear. It’s a full-on arcade mode with six in a team, where you have all the fun of the game but in short, sharp bursts of energy and play in some of the best locations throughout the world.
As always, Madden 21 has EA favourite Ultimate Team which, like FIFA, allows you to build your best team by opening packs of cards based around players in every NFL team and some legends as well. The mode will never get old and is actually a big reason to buy these yearly games from EA as it’s the one thing that’s always different.
Gameplay is brilliant, fun and engaging and now feels easier to implement plays, or runs, or directions depending on how your team is doing and the graphics sometimes defy logic and you wonder how it looks this good.
I will always play the game like an arcade classic and make no apologies for that but now, knowing I can get a handle on the simulation element of the game, it’s definitely a keeper on my hard drive.