Almost half a year later, the NFL is back and American Football found around the world are ready to cheer on some of their favorite teams. After an interesting preseason, NFL fans will be glued to their seats for the following four months. Just two weeks into the 2023-2024 season, some wild and unpredictable things have already transpired. Although many humans wouldn’t predict some of these occurrences, one game continues to predict some of the most outlandish moments with unbelievable accuracy. Yes, we are talking about the Madden franchise. With a new football season comes a new Madden; so how does Madden 24 hold up? Let’s discuss EA Sports Madden 24.
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
Platforms: PC (Steam), Epic Game Store, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S
Release Date: August 18th, 2023
Players: 1 to 4 local, multiple online
Before Diving In
After losing the F.I.F.A license earlier this year, EA Sports is looking to hold on for dear life and not lose another franchise title. With the franchise on the line, EA Tiburon looks to kick off the new Madden that everyone knows up a notch with the introduction of precision passing and the return of the training camp mini-games. On the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, Madden 24 supposedly utilizes “Sapien Technology”, but when playing this new “technology” isn’t really noticeable; that goes in hand with the “Field Sense” improvements.
Each year, I want to give Madden a chance. I want to be able to relive the nail-biting moments of my teenage years where a single play could make or break the game and the thrill of competition ran wild. Now, Madden 24 just feels like a copy-paste rendition of its prior self living in the shadow of its glory days. Nothing about the game feels fresh or unique. Yes, the rosters have been updated and the stadiums and logo changes have been implemented, but there is nothing that screams, “This is a fresh football experience.” Yes, you can play Madden 24 against PlayStation and PC users, but is that really a massive selling point?
Nothing about the game feels truly noteworthy outside of the precision passing and the graphics still feel the same as the PS2 and Xbox 360 days. Yes, they have been updated but the change isn’t really that impressive. Hell, for this review I booted up my PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 and put in copies of Madden 2006 and Madden 2012 to see how they compared. The sad reality is, that the Madden franchise is stagnant and is just getting by thanks to people wanting updated rosters and people wanting to be able to play with their friends.
Madden 24 offers players the option to choose between Madden Ultimate Team, Franchise, Superstar, Training Camp, and Quickplay. In Quickplay, players can just jump right in and have a match of their choosing; the game suggests either playing weekly matchups or playing a match of your own choice. If you choose to create your own matchup, the game will default you to your favorite team, but that is easily swappable.
Madden Ultimate Team (MUT)is still in the game and is Madden‘s Gacha system; in fact, it is their primary way to make money with players able to trade real-life currency for in-game currency to buy packs and individual cards. At the start of the game, Madden 24 attempts to put you into MUT. Yes, it does give you a brief rundown of how the game mode works, but from the very beginning, it is created with the purpose of enticing players.
With each pack you open, there is a special animation to accompany the pack’s theme. The game takes a while to render the animation and it is easier to scroll to the next card to see what you actually unlocked. Thankfully, MUT does allow you to select an option for you to generate your best possible team rather than shifting through each player’s card.
Once you are done setting your lineup, you can either face other MUT players or compete in local challenges; these local challenges give you the chance to earn coins and other cards/packs. After selecting your challenge, you can then choose one of six difficulties (Rookie, Pro, Veteran, All-Star, MVP, and Legend); these difficulties do not align with the gameplay difficulty and are just milestone markers that you have to reach based on your performance.
In Superstar mode, players can become their own NFL player and choose between five positions. The five positions are Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver, Linebackers, and Cornerback. These are the same five positions that have been in the game since the early 2000s and the concept of it has not changed. After selecting your position, you can design your character. Most of the options feel rather limited at first but once you select one you can modify it to get your character closer to how you want to look.
Superstar Mode is the game mode for those who want a story in Madden and want to live out their dream of being an NFL star. The only downside to this game mode is its mediocre drills, weird camera angles, and sometimes the mercy of the game itself. While playing Quarterback, you are locked into this weird camera angle that limits your field of vision. Yes, it does provide a more realistic experience but if you have played the regular game, it is a drastic change. What makes matters worse is that you can’t change the field of view.
Bugs & Annoying Features
Like any other game, Madden 24 is not exempt from bugs. While you are completing some challenges, the game will not always recognize that you have completed the challenge and you will be forced to restart it. Characters will walk through one another; this primarily happens during the in-between reset but there have been a few occasions where a player has literally run through another and the game hasn’t registered it. On top of that, the AI will sometimes just stand around like they are lost in a daze despite the ball carrier literally running right at them. What makes matters worse, the game makes it harder to switch characters in Madden 24 and when you do, there is a slight delay on when you can move them from their position.
The game has some other annoying features that make it an awful experience. The momentum meter is still a predominant part of the game and can cause issues with its motion blur and swaying when an opponent is ahead. While playing, there are way too many times where the game will randomly strobe for no reason like it forgot to render something and is quickly loading it in. Additionally, if you want to stream the game, you will need to turn off the game’s soundtrack. Finding the soundtrack is not an easy task. Honestly, I was so happy to find a way to turn off the songs since a majority of the game’s songs are rap; there is no real variety.
Each year, I want to give Madden a chance and the benefit of the doubt. Each year since 2014 it has continued to disappoint me and feels like it is only getting worse. The game has become stagnant and outside of updated rosters and minor improvements to the graphics, Madden has done the bare minimum to stay relevant. Madden 24 tries to revitalize the franchise with a new precision throwing system, new celebrations, cross-platform gameplay, and the return of the training camp minigames, but at the end of the day, it is EA Sports putting a fresh coat of paint on something and calling it new.
If you like Madden, you will ultimately buy Madden 24 and there is nothing we can do to sway your opinion. If you are looking for a game that will provide a realistic fantasy experience, then pick up Starfield, Baulder’s Gate 3, or even the upcoming Cyberpunk DLC. The only time this game is even remotely worth is when it is on sale during Black Friday for $30 and even then it is a questionable choice.
Madden 24 was reviewed on an Xbox Series X using a copy provided by EA Sports. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Madden 24 was released on August 18th, 2023 on PC (Steam), Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S