Madden 22 is a great game. It’s one of the best games in recent years, but it’s not perfect. There are some issues that need to be addressed, and they’ll take time before they’re fixed. However, if you’re looking for an immersive football experience with incredible graphics, then Madden 22 is worth your money.
Madden 22 is the newest installment in the popular football franchise. The game is set to release on August 2nd, 2018 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Read more in detail here: when will madden 22 come out.
It’s that time of year again, when football fans wait impatiently for the arrival of their one and only option for NFL pleasure on console and PC. Our year, though, things seem a little different since the people in charge of the Madden 22 franchise mode have promised significant improvements, which of course factor into this Madden 22 review. Fans have been waiting a long time for EA to make such a promise, so I spent a lot of time in franchise mode for this review, but worry not, I’ll go over a lot more than that, so let’s get started.
What I Like About Madden 22
Improvements to the Gameplay
A lot of the improvements in Madden 22 are tangible and noticeable. When EA attempts to convince us that “XYZ” has been enhanced, you pick up the sticks and nothing seems to have changed. However, what I see and feel on the pitch this year that has been enhanced is greater player mobility and extra animations that have been introduced to give the game a more genuine appearance and feel.
Weight, ability, and direction now play a greater role in how tackling or blocking routines play out, which has improved player momentum. The ability to cut on a dime in an unrealistic manner has been significantly diminished, and the running game seems as strong as it has in years in my experience.
Improved player momentum has the greatest effect on the field, particularly in short-yardage situations like goal line and fourth-down situations. During tackling sequences, when larger and stronger players have more of an effect than more nimble players, momentum and player weight shine. The animations let me feel as though I’m seeing players move and perform in the same manner I do whether I’m watching on TV or sitting in a stadium.
However, I did notice several animation oddities, such as ball carriers hitting defenders, running backs changing jerseys in the middle of a carry (no, really), and players sprinting right past my return man, through the wall, and out of the stadium without missing a stride.
Now, many of those things have been decreased since the patch was released – PS, reviewing a sports game that releases a big patch just before launch is never fun — but reduced does not imply removed. Madden 22 looks aesthetically attractive and dependably reflective of what we see on Sundays, even with some strange animations and bugs.
Mode of Operation
When it comes to the Madden series, or any other football series for that matter, this mode has always been and will always be my “go-to” mode.
Because the seasons are short 17 games (plus playoffs if relevant), and the draft and rookies may have an immediate effect in year one, football lends itself very well to the concept of operating a franchise.
Fans have become weary of seeing the same choices, a lack of immersion, and their preferred mode being treated as a relic, as has been widely documented. Surprisingly, EA’s Clint Oldenburg stated that franchise mode is played by over 80% of Madden gamers, and the business has made it a goal since last year to make it a priority for the foreseeable future.
So here we are in the second year of this makeover, and I’m pleased with the direction things are taking. Franchise staff and skill trees have been added, as well as a weekly strategy, a new season engine, and an enhanced franchise center. When the revamped scouting system arrives in September, it will be yet another significant improvement.
The team also added the much-touted Dynamic Gameday feature, which promised to see teams play like they would in real life, with momentum swings that may change how each side plays, and an AI that is smarter and more intuitive when it comes to field decision-making.
All of this sounds fantastic if it is — wait for it — well executed. Thankfully, the most of it has been properly merged and seems to function as intended.
However, several of the new features have a smaller effect than I had anticipated. A full momentum meter, for example, is intended to enable some players to seize control of the game in ways that we see all the time in real life. The momentum meter seems a little gimmicky to me, and it hasn’t changed my approach to the game much. I often forgot it was even a factor in the equation. That’s not to say you can’t feel the momentum swinging in-game; you can, but it seems more like a new visual gimmick that’s there to show you something that’s already there behind the hood in Madden.
The game also includes a new skill tree for your coaching staff, as previously stated. Fans of NCAA Football 14 will recognize this. The more goals you achieve over the course of a game or season, the more points you earn, which can be used to unlock additional powers and discounts on specific goods and choices in franchise mode.
This works well, but keep in mind that there are no shortcuts and that unlocking many of these choices is a long process. Indeed, the more desired traits and unlocks will be tough to get until later in the season, perhaps even in year two, which is exactly what I had hoped for.
A new characteristic is progressive tiredness. It’s a concept that’s had an instant effect on franchises since its inception. As the head coach, you must determine how hard to push your team at practice each week. If you push them too hard, weariness will set in throughout the course of the season, and you may even sustain an injury on a weekly basis. If you give them too much time off, their abilities and output will decrease.
The new features serve to improve the realism of franchise mode, and although there are still some new additions that need to be made, this year seems like a fresh start – which is a welcome relief.
If you’re a football lover in general (like me), your passion is likely to extend beyond the pitch. While the on-field action will always take precedence, the roar of the crowd, the halftime show, tailgating, fan bonding, and the spectacle of each weekend all contribute to why I fell in love with the sport in the first place.
EA has finally prioritized in-game presentation, and although the improvements made this year aren’t genre-defining, they are, as you would expect, a step in the right way.
So, what makes this year different? For starters, you’ll notice a lot more crowd sequences in any franchise or exhibition game today, and some of these moments capture what EA refers to as superfans. People who put cheese on their heads, paint their faces, or dress up as though they’re participating in the game.
The presentation package also contains some fantastic new views from outside the stadiums, in addition to the new dynamic crowd scenes that make the stadium seem more vivid and alive.
When you watch a game at Soldier Field, the beautiful Chicago cityscape serves as a supporting actor in the backdrop. When you play in the New Orleans Saints’ famous Superdome, you’ll get a glimpse outside of the dome of the surrounding city, which is pretty spectacular at night. Each team has its own own flavor of familiarity, and although some are more spectacular and detailed than others, they all contribute to the overall impression of a high-level presentation.
Some of the improvements go beyond what can be seen inside and outside of each stadium, such as a new graphics package for the Next-Gen Stats overlay(s), richer commentary with more game and player-specific conversation, and a somewhat improved halftime show.
The improvements and additions are nice, and they help the game move away from a gimmicky or stale presentation approach.
There’s certainly a lot that could be improved here, such as a longer halftime show, referees on the field, in-game clips of previous games, and, perhaps, the return of the Sam Spence NFL library, or at the very least, the option to contribute our own music.
For a one-year development cycle, the presentation is a great improvement, and let’s hope it stays a focus for the next few revisions until we have a completely integrated broadcast package.
What I Don’t Like About Madden 22
The Franchise’s Face
If you’ve played any of the previous Madden games, you’ll be acquainted with the “MyPlayer” option, which allows you to play as an up-and-coming athlete before guiding his route to the NFL.
Face of the Franchise is returning in Madden 22, and if you’ve played the previous edition, this year’s version will seem remarkably identical in most ways.
Face of the Franchise enables you to choose a position, your talents, and the abilities that will allow your player to flourish. I picked quarterback because it provided me with the greatest opportunity to make an immediate impact in both college and the NFL.
As many of you are aware, your character begins as a five-star high school recruit, and the game enables you to choose from a list of schools that are interested in you. This list is the same as in Madden 21, but you still have high-caliber colleges like Clemson, Oklahoma, LSU, and others to choose from.
The college element of this mode has always appealed to me, but even so, it seems a little slapped on and artificial, and the appeal stems from the fact that we as digital football fans were robbed of any real collegiate experience when the NCAA Football series was removed.
Face of the Franchise seems boring and dull to me at this point, having gone through the whole mode long into my NFL career. My main criticism is that it concentrates on a narrative mode that lacks depth and makes me feel like I’m simply along for the trip. (I’m also trying to leave specifics out of this to avoid spoiling the experience for others.)
My problems don’t end there, as I decided to be a quarterback and was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars, of all clubs. The same club that endured a dreadful 2020 season to earn the opportunity to choose former Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence as their star quarterback of the future.
Given the circumstances, it makes no sense that the same club that selected Lawrence and Etienne in the first round of last year’s draft would choose me as a quarterback in the first round this year. So, either the Jacksonville braintrust of Khan, Baalke, and Meyer has some very damaging information on Lawrence that they are unwilling to share, or this makes no sense in the NFL.
Situations like this obliterate my immersion, and I’m worried it will obliterate the immersion of many others as well. In the end, the mode felt like I was watching a series of cutscenes and participating in a narrative that I had seen play out before.
Thankfully, instead of rushing to write a review, I waited until the first patch was released to address the secondary problems. I say fortunately because the words I wrote before the patch were of a kind I’d never used in a review before.
I’ve seen some improvements since the patch, particularly in the cover 2 formation post-patch, but not everything is great. There are still times when I see my cornerbacks and safety confused and sluggish to respond, as well as times when they don’t grasp their defensive responsibilities at all.
I wish I could blame low ratings, inconsistency in play owing to youth or inexperience, or poor playcalling on my side for all of this. The most obvious explanation is that it is due to bad programming or genuinely favoring the CPU’s chances.
I say this because I spent hours watching replays of how the CPU defense responds, and if my defense was as active and constant as the CPU defense, the secondary would be one of the things I loved in this review.
I appreciate how quickly the development team responded and addressed the secondary problems, and the patch has been helpful. Hopefully, they can continue to improve and fix this before the real season begins. I say this because, as I said earlier, playing defense in Madden 22 has been a lot of fun while utilizing the front seven.
Bugs, glitches, and errors, oh my!
Glitches may be found everywhere in Madden 22, from early access to the final retail edition. These little discrepancies and problems were evident throughout my time with the game, from presentation to on-field gameplay.
Players changing jerseys in the midst of a play, offensive players with the ball attempting to tackle the defense, distorted logos, and final scores that aren’t representative of the actual final result
I wish it would stop there, but it doesn’t, as I’ve seen supporters carrying placards for rival teams, spectators clad in t-shirts and shorts during snowstorms, and whole teams vanish from the screen as if the rapture had just occurred.
Madden 22 doesn’t have any graphics problems. It’s simply that the sheer number of insects may be overpowering at times. These are perplexing problems that I’m not convinced the patching procedure can resolve in a single cycle.
Many of the problems I encountered aren’t game-breaking, but as they pile up, they start to detract from the overall on-field experience and significantly diminish the amount of depth they were attempting to achieve with the newly introduced Dynamic Gameday feature.
At times, my passion for Madden 22 seemed more like a poisonous relationship. I want to love it, and it wants to love me, but all we can seem to agree on is who should do the dishes.
This year’s Madden 22 has several problems, and the development staff is obviously working as quickly as it can to minimize or eliminate each of them. What’s more troubling is that this game passed quality control and the powers that be decided it was OK to distribute it in this condition.
Worse, I’m hooked to the enjoyment that the game offers. Make no mistake: Madden 22’s addictiveness isn’t due to a honeymoon period. With the new animations, player weight, and momentum, the game seems re-energized on the field. The creators have taken a boring product and given it a much-needed injection of energy thanks to these improvements.
True, many of the updates and enhancements aren’t what most people would consider “standard” features. With Madden 22 and what I’d call “under the hood” changes, the improvements are more modest, but I embrace that approach with open arms.
When the further franchise improvements are released in September, the entire experience will be much better (I hope). New scouting choices, positional scouting, scouting assignments, regional emphasis, and a dynamic “big board” that will show how the top players’ power rankings change as the scouting season continues.
Madden 22 seems to be the cornerstone of this new approach once again. This fundamental shift may be credited with on-field enhancements, more realistic animations, more lively stadiums, and gameplay that reflects how each team plays in real life.
My hope is that the developers will address the problems in time for next year’s release, and that they will continue to steer clear of additional modes in order to focus on improving and strengthening the core gameplay while still bolstering franchise mode with fresh features.
Madden 22 is, simply stated, a lot of fun to play at times, but it has a few flaws that will require more than a single patch to fix. That’s something I’ve accepted, and Madden 22 now seems like a game I’ll be playing throughout the NFL season.
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