16 Sep 2021 12:49 PM +00:00

Madden 22 Review: Are Franchise Changes a Touchdown or Fumble?

Madden 22 is now live, so that means it's time for our review of the new game.

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So, find out how Madden 22 shakes up with current gen features across Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch below, along with the latest MUT 22 TOTW.

LATEST - MUT 22 TOTW 1 revealed

MUT 22 Team of the Week Myles Garrett LTD card
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EDGE OF YOUR SEATS: Myles Garrett presents an exciting and dangerous edge threat in Madden 22 Ultimate Team

The best card to feature in MUT 22 TOTW 1 is a 92 OVR Myles Garrett card.

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This card, like all LTDs, is only available for a very limited time. That means you'll want to go for it as soon as possible or pick it up on the MUT 22 Auction House if you miss it.

To check out the rest of the Madden 22 Ultimate Team TOTW 1 lineup, head here.

The Good

Madden 22 on current gen features a range of massive improvements that will reach all Madden players regardless of your game mode of choice.

New Gameplay AI makes for much more realistic action

Madden 22 makes huge strides in general gameplay, making it feel much more like the real thing.

Madden 22 Russell Wilson
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TAKE CHARGE: In Madden 22, you can rely on AI to more reliably mimic the real thing

This comes down to improved QB AI (which makes for better decisions), improved tackling and momentum physics (which improves on the frustrating tackle animations of Maddens past), and better defensive awareness (which ends up in fewer misplay headaches).

While these features are enhanced even further on next gen with next gen stats tailoring AI to real player tendencies, current gen gets enough of the good stuff to make for a big improvement all around.

New Franchise Mode features move the chains in a big way

EA made a commitment after the #FixMaddenFranchise movement to build Franchise Mode to new heights in coming years. There were some improvements over the lifespan of Madden 21, but it was really Madden 22 Franchise Mode that was set to be the level up.

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Madden 22 staff management coordinators coaches talent trees
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OFF THE FIELD: Madden 22 Franchise Mode extends team building to putting together your coaching core

So how do things compare to EA's original roadmap?

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Madden 22 Franchise Mode includes some new features for current gen gamers with Staff Management introducing coordinators with skill trees, improved Weekly Strategy input, game plans, and more.

The new Staff Management especially is a move in the right direction and adds a new layer to building your team to be champions. With the extra strategic planning to do each week, your franchise feels more in your hands than in previous years.

While these more measured additions add some depth, other new additions, like new player demands and conversation events, can really derail things in an unfun way. For example, some players in Madden 22 Franchise Mode are approaching to retire from the very start, or to retire because of losses despite undefeated seasons. Worse, these are often players that are far from hanging up their pads in real life.

The improvements in Madden 22 Franchise Mode give us hope that the post-launch scouting update and next steps afterward will continue to improve the game mode further. But putting off its biggest improvements (scouting update) as a post launch patch that won't be applied to previous saves leaves a sour taste. This combined with some rough edges leaves us with a positive impression of Franchise Mode, but there's still room to grow and clean things up post-launch.

Madden 22 Ultimate Team (MUT 22) is a much more approachable and satisfying journey

Madden Ultimate Team can at times be hard to track with complicated menus and program structures - but Madden 22 does a great job addressing this with some new tweaks.

Madden 22 tackle jets colts
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IT'S A HIT: MUT 22 has some nice tweaks and improvements so far

For starters, the menu layout is much more approachable and lets players keep up with their goals without digging for them. Along with this, the introductory process gives players a great head start and teaches important details that will come back up throughout your MUT 22 journey.

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The 32-player pack many players got for preordering Madden 22 MVP and Dynasty Editions hasn't felt too out of line in terms of power online, and offered a nice range of choices for which style of players at which position to bring onto your team as its first star.

READ MORE: Madden 22 Soundtrack: Playlist, Reveals, Swae Lee, Jack Harlow & more

The Bad

While there's plenty of good things to talk about with Madden 22, there's still plenty of room for the game to grow - and these are some soft spots.

Next Gen features are sorely missed

Madden 22 is an entirely different game on next gen, offering tons of its biggest new features exclusively for the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. These include Dynamic Gameday features that give different home stadium advantages for a whole new depth to the game as well as the next gen stat integration with improvements to how players behave.

Madden 22 dynamic gameday kansas city chiefs arrowhead stadium
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FEEL THE PRESSURE: Madden 22 Dynamic Gameday brings crowds to life

These massive features being next gen exclusives really put a damper on the current gen experience knowing what lies just out of reach.

The first major update needs to clean up bugs

No game can be bug free, but we've already seen a few in our time with Madden 22 so far. This includes player model freakouts that we've come to know from the series, players freezing in place during play, and plenty of other classics.

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Madden 22 playbook sidelines coach franchise browns
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GAMEPLAN: EA should plan to tackle plenty of bugs in the Madden 22 day one update

A whole other group of bugs are also plaguing online play in Madden 22, including crashing and server issues when trying to progress in MUT (for some platforms more than others).

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There are more patches on the way to fix some of these issues, you can read about those here!

In the meantime, players can help this process along by reporting bugs directly to EA here.

Post launch support can't be used as an excuse

When paying full price for a game from a premiere series like Madden, players expect to get all of its features, even in a world of early access and betas lasting years.

Madden 22 Franchise Mode Scouting Update New Features
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THE POTENTIAL: The upcoming Madden 22 Franchise Mode scouting rework will be massive, but players will have to wait

EA's new development schedule has pushed off some of the biggest features players wanted to see in Madden 22 for post-launch updates, and it's especially apparent for Franchise Mode with the scouting rework still to come.

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This is in line with EA's dedication to Franchise Mode as a live service, but it's hard to ask players to wait, especially in the case of the Scouting rework, which will require players to start new Franchise Mode saves and won't be retroactively applied to old saves.

This practice is actively punishing players for putting the time in on Madden 22 on launch, rather than waiting for the "complete" experience to be released in post-launch updates (long after they paid the "complete" price).

Post-launch support can't continue to excuse missing features and will continue to draw the ire of players who have to work around rough edges to even try these new features on release.

Verdict

Madden 22 is clearly a better game than Madden 21 in many ways. While EA isn't reaching the full potential of this series still, this year was a hurdle in the right direction.

With so many new additions, there's plenty to explore regardless of your favorite game mode, and it makes for the most well-rounded Madden game we've seen in some time.

There are things to dislike, and many will nitpick these to oblivion, but in the end, Madden 22 is a good showing for the series.

RealSport Rating: 3.75 stars (out of 5)

While we continue to explore Madden 22, follow along with our coverage here, and our Madden 22 next gen review here.