Madden NFL 22: the inevitable downfall of a franchise

Year after year, at the end of summer, the release of a new Madden is awaited by many sports game enthusiasts and the annual meeting is a tradition before the start of the NFL regular season.

Image credits: EA Sports
Played on PlayStation 5 for criticism

In 2020, Madden was among the top five best-selling console games in North America. This is always the case with each edition of the franchise.

The problem may be there.

Year after year, we fall into the trap of criticizing the game by pointing out that it only brings minor improvements to an already effective formula. Madden 21, for example, was the last on the older generation of consoles and was almost forgiven for its laziness when it came to new things.

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Madden 22, with promises of big changes and an official leap to the next generation, doesn’t deserve this weariness. On the contrary. For its first real foray into the new generation of consoles, players were entitled to expect and receive an improved game and significantly superior to previous editions. Especially considering the increasing price of games every year.

Not only is EA Sports, once again, content with a cosmetic and lazy update to its franchise, but the flawed little details of past editions are still found in this new edition in addition to new technical issues making the playability not possible in some cases.

This is problematic and very distressing for longtime fans of the series.

EA’s unwillingness

Madden generates over $ 1 billion in revenue annually from micro-transactions and the purchase price of the game. We’re talking about a hugely lucrative monster here for EA Sports.

Except that the greed, it seems, prevents changes from operating on the game since the logic of the wallet is simple: why change a paid formula?

If EA Sports is recognized every year for giving gamers soulless, effortless play, why do more? The monopoly favors the company and the great popularity of the NFL ensures a pool of amateurs without even worrying about the quality aspect.

What is important, basically, is to have new things to offer to promote the game.

For Madden 22, it was additions to Franchise mode and the little facelift of the individual scenario mode (Face of the Franchise).

When we dig deeper than EA’s sales advertisements, on the other hand, we quickly go around the supposed novelties to realize that it is only the wind.

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False appearances

Yes, each team now has a unique advantage on the pitch. But after three games played, we realize that these “Home Field Advantages” have no real impact on playability.

It’s cosmetic, nothing more.

In fact, it’s just one more addition to the too many icons on the field when trying to control player action. With the skills, the options, the stats and all the rest of it, we feel less and less of playing football. EA Sports owns the exclusive rights to the realistic simulation of NFL games and Madden 22 increasingly offers us a product worthy of the arcades of the 90s.

We quickly lose the thread.

So how do you assess a game that simply ignores its issues and redirects our attention to new shiny objects added without really knowing why?

The grumbling rises

A week after the release of Madden 22, refunds are multiplying as Sony and Microsoft offer its players to reverse the purchase without asking too many questions.

A mass of content creators, on Twitch and YouTube in particular, are encouraging their audiences to sign a petition for the NFL to remove the rights from EA Sports pending a real effort from the publisher.

This isn’t the first time that a Madden game has received a rather lukewarm reception in the community, but the proportions this year are exponentially greater than last year.

We played Madden 22 on the PS5 and the experience was similar to Madden 21. The Madden 21 experience was also similar to Madden 20 and we can go back to Madden 18. The frustration on PS4, for example, must be palpable when the price of the game is not reduced even if the “Old Gen” version does not include all the new features offered by Madden 22.

You have to do it anyway.

EA delivers an incomplete game riddled with problems, but the price is set in stone. Madden 22 should be paid on a par with other premium console games when it is far from the case.

If at least we were sold the whole thing as an update of the machine, it would already be more honest. EA Sport’s grand masquerade is less and less fun for gamers, and even the die-hard ones will be tempted to skip a round this year.

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The verdict

So, do we buy Madden 22 or not?

The logical answer we want to recommend to you is NO, we skip our turn and let EA know that it would take more than that to get our hard-earned pennies.

The catch is, there are no alternatives. If you want to play an NFL simulation with this year’s new players, there’s only Madden 22. It’s sad, because playing football is basically fun and Madden 22 is fun. despite everything, is a fun game.

But it’s a lazy production and, for once, we would like to get our money’s worth.

Madden 22 is the edition of too many without major changes. Soon, fans will be calling for a paradigm shift and perhaps a « free to play » dynamic if EA insists on tweaking only the « pay to win » portions of its game. Because right now, players who ignore Ultimate Team mode receive absolutely nothing of interest, other than a nice handful of eye candy.

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