Madden NFL 21
"Gameplay? Who cares. Franchise Mode? Who cares. Career Mode? WHO CARES!?"— SOFTDRINKTV in the "Ultimate Team RUINED Madden" Video
"I hope the NFL will one day demand a better product from EA."
Madden NFL 21 is an American football video game based on the National Football League (NFL), developed by EA Tiburon and published by EA Sports. It is an installment of the long-running Madden NFL series. This page mainly covers the already released versions for the 8th generation consoles.
Why It Sucks
- Many glitches, such as slow menus, long loading times, missing or rainbow textures and many more bugs were reported by many players at launch, likely because due to being developed remotely.
- One infamous display glitch has the Houston Texans use the Tennessee Titans' logo, and the Titans used the Minnesota Vikings' logo. Similar glitches include the names of two players being mixed and presented as if it was a single player in one of the Franchise mode prompts and some players who have been in the NFL franchise for multiple years being registered as rookies for reward purposes. Also, the Seattle Seahawks' name was incorrectly displayed as SEA ACKS.
- Also, some Superstar X-Factor arts, such as some New England Patriots players and former New York Jets/current Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams' art having photoshopped jerseys.
- The main cause for the team logo glitch was most likely as a result of the Washington Redskins retiring their controversial nickname, which led to EA having to update Washington's NFL team's uniform, stadium and logo to reflect on the change from the Redskins.
- Terrible hip hop/rap only soundtrack that is worse than the previous years' soundtracks with only 18 songs (plus one added in the September 2020 update), mainly from no-name rappers. Also, actual NFL players such as Baltimore Ravens safety DeShon Elliott (with a reply from quarterback/cover athlete Lamar Jackson), Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson and Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst tweeted their dislike for the soundtrack.
- However, you can mute this entire playlist by unchecking all songs in EA Trax and sideloading Spotify.
- Franchise Mode has little to no updates and is called Classic Franchise in-game.
- Ultimate Team is where most of the effort is going to, as EA mostly earns their money from players buying the premium Points currency, and using the points to buy packs, which many gamers continue to do as they are desperate on getting the best MUT cards.
- Face of the Franchise is even worse than the previous year.
- The voice acting is extremely cheesy.
- You play four college matches in Face of the Franchise.
- Bad story.
- Due to the aforementioned glitches, this game feels rushed as EA had to develop this game while working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic and release it before the start of the 2020 NFL Season, which also caused the early end of the previous season's MUT content.
- In some earlier versions of the game, some players had the incorrect headshots such as the cover athlete Lamar Jackson not using his actual portrait in the beta version of the game.
- Some players were rated a bit too high or low, with Pittsburgh Steelers edge linebacker T.J. Watt, or Tampa Bay Buccaneers edge linebacker Shaquil Barrett, despite having great 2019 seasons, should actually be at least 90 OVR instead of the mid-high 80s.
- Unlike in previous recent Madden years, the achievements for earning legacy points as a created player/coach is now restricted to Face of the Franchise, likely to prevent simulating and using a roster that boosts all the players in one team to 99 OVR to farm Xbox Gamerscore/PlayStation Trophies.
- The Yard is also infested with cosmetic microtransactions.
- The cover art in every edition is very ugly, likely due to EA being unable to do a proper cover photoshoot with Lamar Jackson due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And it feel like it came from r/crappydesign.
- Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback added in the September 2020 update as a Free Agent, was given an 81 OVR rating, which is overrated as he was out of the league for 4 years. It is also evident that he was added as a source of pandering due to the movement that is going on in the United States.
- The Level Packs, unlike previous years, which had coin purchasable packs for a selectable lower OVR card, are now only a single premium pack that can only be bought with the premium Points currency, therefore, making the Level Packs more of a money vacuum.
- A recent update in late November 2020 increased the prices of the premium level packs to balance the economy, like the Level 61 and 66 premium packs being increased to 900 Points, encouraging players to spend more money on Points.
- The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions are not much of an upgrade, with the only notable new features being "Next Gen Stats" and yet stuff like graphics and simulation speed have not significantly improved.
- Team Diamonds, which were featured in Madden NFL 20's Ultimate Team, returned to MUT 21, with fan favorite past players from each team being seen for the first time in Madden since their retirement. Also, the Team of the Week program now features legends as TOTW Heroes and The 50 (a promo similar to the NFL 100 program from last year), which features past NFL players who influenced the Madden franchise.
- If you run a theme team, the level master (WR Andre Johnson), MUT Master (Sam Mills), team diamond master (Barry Sanders) and all the 4 team captains get team chemistry for all the 32 NFL teams instead of the just the teams they actually played on.
On June 16, 2020 (originally intended for June 1, 2020, but delayed due to the George Floyd protests), the trailer for Madden NFL 21 was released and panned by reviewers and gamers, who noted no new apparent changes to previous installments and called the game "a $60 roster update". A few days later on June 30, 2020, EA announced some new features to the franchise mode, which were also lamented. Users claim that no changes have been made to the franchise mode in recent years, and took to Twitter to express their frustration. The hashtag "#FixMaddenFranchise" became the most-viewed on Twitter in the United States on July 1, 2020, with over 100,000 tweets in 24 hours.
Upon release, the game received an overwhelmingly negative response from Metacritic users, who review bombed the game's entry. Screen Rant wrote that players were "upset with the lack of changes, the continued gaming bugs that weren't fixed from past installments, and EA's repeated use of microtransactions." Madden NFL 21 currently holds the worst Metacritic user score of all time with a 0.2/10 for the PlayStation 4 version, while the Xbox One version has a score of 0.4/10. Several days after the game's release, the hashtag "#NFLdropEA" was trending on Twitter, with users calling for the NFL to opt-out of its exclusive rights deal with EA Sports. Fox News sports columnist Ryan Gaydos covered the widespread negative player response to the game, writing "The main hitch for gamers was the lack of an in-depth franchise mode, which was beloved in the earlier versions of the game. The “Madden” team had promised future updates to the mode, but the initial release appeared to have fallen flat with fans."
Madden 21 was reported to have sold even worse than Madden 20.