Hands on With Madden NFL 21 The Yard – Childhood Remembered

We have been lacing up the cleats for a week with Madden NFL 21, and while the review coverage drops Friday, we will let yall peak inside The Yard. A brand new, 6v6 mode that you can play with friends, or all by yourself against the CPU.

 

 

The Yard is a brand-new backyard football-inspired mode in Madden NFL 21 where wild gameplay moments, house rules, and a fearless attitude are the name of the game. You play on an 80 X 40 yard field where it’s 1st and 20 on your first snap and first downs are a long ways off.

 

Getting Busy in The Yard

The Yard pits two teams of six on the field with each team controlled by either one, two, or three users. Players control their one-of-a-kind avatar plus the NFL superstars who team up with them on the field. The Yard is a small-sided 6v6 experience where you can play solo or co-op with up to two friends against other users (1v1, 2v2 or 3v3) or AI. Mind-blowing gameplay highlights in The Yard are generated by new trick play animations – behind the back throws, multiple passes, the ability to snap the ball to anyone on the field, and more, make the gameplay unlike any seen in Madden before. You’ll be playing both offense and defense with your squad.

Everyone is a 2-Way Player in The Yard

When you first jump into The Yard, you’ll have to make some decisions to determine what Prototype of player you are going to be. Do you want to focus on throwing, running, scrambling, maybe defense? You’ll have to remember that in The Yard, you’ll be on defense just as much as you are on offense. If you only focus on your offensive prowess, the opposing offense may rip you to shreds. You may end up swapping out your style as you learn the ins and outs of the new mode, so don’t get too locked in to the first one you try, as others may get you a little more balance.

Playbooks are for Noobs

While on offense or defense, you’ll have the exact same playbook as your opponent, but honestly, the playbook is only good for about 3 seconds, or whatever the Blitz Timer is at. Growing up we played a lot of backyard football and with no offensive line to protect whoever the QB happened to be, your rusher (we usually only had one) had to count three or four Mississippis, out loud for all to hear, before he could rush in for the sack. In The Yard, this is represented by the Rush Line, and it’s red until the timer counts down, and then someone can rush whoever is behind the line. This is where the real plays start.

QBs can take the snap, or not, totally up to you, while the WR takes off downfield, trailed by your HB. Long bomb to your WR who, right before getting smashed tosses the ball back to the HB, who then jukes and spins his way to the endzone for a TD. You can also play around behind the line for some razzle dazzle and points, so quick strikes may not win you the game. The Yard has a special scoring system for those that can master the mechanics

  • Touchdowns are worth the traditional six points, but…
    • Score a touchdown with a double pass or lateral – two bonus points
    • Score a touchdown longer than 40 yards – one bonus point
  • Interceptions earn you one bonus point.
  • Extra Points are up to you. You can choose to try one, two, or three-point conversions that get progressively further away from the goal line and kicking is never an option.

Where You Play is How You Play

There are four locations currently available (once you unlock them by playing) and each location has some unique rules and events to complete. The four locations at launch are F.O.B Nico, Miami Port, Brandenburg Football Festival, and Lambeau Tailgate. More locations will be added throughout the year. F.O.B. Nico is literally boot camp and is a great place to start and learn the intricacies of The Yard. They have a boot camp for both offense and defense, and in squad boot camp, you’ll get to choose your teammates. It’s a great way to get busy and learn the system.

 

Madden Mobile and The Yard

If you have a newish smart phone, you can download Madden Mobile and connect and login to your EA account to seamlessly swap from your solo The Yard: Underground experience on mobile to The Yard in Madden NFL 21. As long as you’re logged in, you’ll have access to your Avatar and inventory of earned rewards (Cred), progression (Rep, Madden Rank), and gear collection. It’s a fun way to take The Yard on the bus, train, or car ride, and you’ll have access to all your cool gear you’ve bought or earned.

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Madden NFL 21‘s The Yard is truly a throwback to our childhood. It reminds us of Fall Sundays, either waiting for an NFL kickoff, maybe a half time break 10-minute game, or even a postgame replay of the NFL game we just watched, played out in our own backyard with childhood friends. This could have been a stand-alone title, and we would have gladly forked over the cash for it.

Well done EA Sports.

Stay tuned for our full review of Madden NFL 21 tomorrow.

For even more on this game mode, head on over to the Gridiron Notes: The Yard

 


Madden NFL 21 review code provided by publisher and previewed on a PS4 Pro.