Do you feel that in the air? It’s that time of year. Summer is winding down and it is getting cooler outside. That can only be one thing. It’s the start of football season! Before the season officially begins tonight, let’s talk about this year’s iteration of EA’s signature franchise in Madden NFL 24. Is this year’s entry a new standard for the only football game on the market or is it just more of the same? To be fair, it seems like this year’s entry falls into improved version of formula rather than something truly new and exciting.
First, let’s talk about what many will notice right away when playing Madden NFL 24. The game looks the best it has ever looked. It’s always crazy to me how much better the players look with each new game. This year, that looks to be due to the game featuring EA’s new SAPIEN Technology. This tech has allowed them to make players look and play as realistically as they can with enhanced animations. Then there’s the addition of something everyone has been clamoring for for years with the addition of crossplay. This finally allows you to play with any of your no matter what platform they are playing on. However, all is not well on the crossplay front as the feature is limited to current generation consoles of the Xbox Series S|X and PlayStation 5 as well as PC. Thus, if you’re playing on last gen hardware still, crossplay is unavailable to you.
The biggest improvement that Madden NFL 24 brings to the table is the updated FieldSENSE mechanics. Dubbed the 2.0s, the Hit Everything and Skill Based Passing mechanics allows so much more variety in playmaking to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. With Hit Everything 2.0, EA has stated they’ve added or updated over 1,700 animations that make tackling feel more impactful and different based on which player you’re controlling and how you hit the player who has the ball.
On the offensive side, Skill Based Passing 2.0 allows for the ability to increase catching abilities of the receivers for harder to catch balls like one that may be out of reach. There’s even new passing additions for the superstar Quarterbacks in the game like jump and dive passes. The game even opens up allowing you to choose between which of the passing styles you want to whether that be one of the two new Skill Based styles or the classic Madden passing system. However, even with all the new additions and mechanics the 2.0s bring, the game still feels like you’re playing the same Madden game it’s always been.
Elsewhere, classic modes such as Franchise and Ultimate Team return with some slight improvements to both modes. The biggest addition to Franchise is the return of the classic training camp modes the predates the season. As with older entries in the series, this mode allows for the improvements of players prior to the season starting. However, even with the return of training camps and the other minor additions, Franchise mode doesn’t feel as compelling as it should for how iconic it is. On the Ultimate Team side, the developers have made the most hardcore mode more beginner friendly thanks to a new intro that helps explain certain aspects and systems present in Ultimate Team. They’ve also added two more seasons to the mode bringing it up to seven seasons total for you to play through. Crossplay is also available here as well, so you can bring your created team to face off against anyone playing anywhere (aside from last gen consoles).
Overall, Madden NFL 24 is more of an iterative improvement than a giant step forward for the franchise. The visual upgrades and slightly updated mechanics are nice, but, even with those improvements, it still just feels like more of the same game Madden has always been. That’s not to say Madden NFL 24 is a bad game in any sense. It’s still the same game that millions of people love and play every year. But, that’s where my issues with the game lie. It’s still just Madden. EA has had the exclusive license for the NFL for nearly two decades now, and I still feel like I’m basically playing the same game I was almost 20 years ago. Thus, if you’re a fan of the franchise you’ll most likely enjoy this one too especially if you’re the kind of fan that doesn’t buy the game every year. However, if you’re someone looking for EA to massively improve the Madden formula, this year’s entry may not be for you.
Score: 7 out of 10
Reviewed on PlayStation 5