Title: Madden NFL 22
Developer: EA Tiburon
Release Date: August 20, 2021
Reviewed On: PS5
Publisher: EA Sports
I’m sure I wouldn’t even come close as someone who would provide a Madden video game review, and yet here I am. Yes, the JRPG and visual novel nerd has waited long enough to see himself become the sports jock. I picked up this review as a way to connect with my dad, who loves the sport. Growing up, I was never interested in sports, even though he pretty much signed me up for all of them, so I have some respect for the grind.
With Madden NFL 22, I wanted to use it as a way to sit with my dad, show him what I do during my day-to-day and have him share his knowledge of the game with my knowledge of gaming. Unfortunately, the result was him beating me in a few matches, but Madden NFL 22 has a lot to offer general fans of the series without really offering too much more than what you’ve seen before. However, for a series like this, I’m sure that’s just fine.
Booting up Madden NFL 22 will probably lead you to the solo campaign known as Face of the Franchise. Here, you’re free to create your own character, choose their position and general stats, and start your career. Unlike the previous campaign, the narrative here is pretty straightforward without the drama. There’s not too much backstory on your character or your friends, but good things happen for you quickly, and you’re able to make several choices that shape your career both off and on the field.
However, this mode has some strange inclusions to its narrative that don’t quite make sense in the world of football, such as the draft scene. Further, sometimes the subtitle text would randomly go haywire and show what the people were saying, or their audio would be completely off. I did like how the mode warms you up through some training that shows some high-level tips, but you’re restricted to chances, and if you fail, you’ll simply move on.
Other modes include The Yard, which is a six-on-six match-up on a smaller field with semi-street rules. Imagine playing with your friends in the park, and it’s pretty much that. I actually had a lot of fun in this mode due to the quickness of the plays and arcade-like systems. While there’s an exclusive mode for this, you’ll also encounter it during the campaign, so there’s a variety of modes to keep you engaged.
On the other hand, the most simulated mode is Franchise mode, which allows players to shape their team through RPG-like menus as they craft a player the way they see fit. Training with light and heavy pads, firing staff management, or focusing on perfecting your plays will all affect the game. This is further enhanced by the UI updates this mode received to teach new players how to navigate these menus and what to do.
I enjoyed this mode the most, even though I fear a potential meta in its offerings as most experienced players get into the thick of it. However, it’s fun to engage in the random press conferences and updated scenarios that change after each match. It’s a mode that is said to evolve with the player base and one that I had a good time with. There are options to simply simulate gameplay or only play offense or defense so you can focus on the management systems and not technically have to play much football.
One of the features that need explaining is the new dynamic systems that players will deal with during a game. For example, a meter at the top of the screen is affected by elements such as playing on the home field, completing plays, and playing well. This also provides additional buffs to the team both offensively and defensively. I’m not sure of the overall effect it has on the game, but the idea is that when players are distracted, they may make mistakes.
Graphically, I found Madden NFL 22 to be fine, but you’re still going to encounter those oddities. Multiples of the same character designs, strange animations, and other weird glitches pop up occasionally, but I felt the game was pretty for what it was. I did encounter a glitch that wouldn’t allow me to leave a menu, though, and I was pretty upset about that since I had to replay a match.
In terms of the overall gameplay. This is football, and Madden NFL 22 knows how to deliver the physics and impact of this sport. The sound is great, especially the announcers, and playing the game with friends or against AI is a fun time. If you are experienced with this game, turn up the difficulty because normal, or Pro level is just boringly simple. Regardless, I had fun, and the game often immersed me in the experience.
Madden NFL 22 is meant to deliver a simulated and engaging experience to fans of football. Its animations are great, and you’ll likely only gravitate to one mode that you prefer over the others, but it all acts as a way for fans to connect, and sometimes a rare glitch won’t impact that. There’s a lot of demand for some growth of the series, and this game has a long way to go, it seems, but seeing my dad pick up a gaming controller for the first time in years and can’t be overlooked.
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