EA Sports Madden NFL 22 Review- Focus on Franchise

The NFL season is rapidly approaching and that means it’s time for another Madden NFL release. Is Madden NFL 22 ready for prime time, or should you just save your cash and stick to last seasons release?

 

Read on to find out

 

 

From an Amtrak train ride in 1984, and onto the behemoth it is today, EA Sports Madden NFL 22 is the only real NFL simulation game on the market. This could lead to complacency for some developers, but EA Sports isn’t one of them. They’ve been bringing us a new release of Madden NFL for a generation, and they continue to add bells and whistles and improvements that fans have asked for, and some they haven’t.

Whats New in Franchise? A Bunch!

 

Last year’s release didn’t bring with it many changes to Franchise mode, and folks were a little unhappy about that. EA Sports decided to listen this time around, and they created a Franchise mode that is not only deep, but fully fleshed out as well. You can take a deep dive with their Gridiron Notes here, and we can honestly say we are impressed. The game is basically a full on RPG when it comes to coach and player development, with a scouting system that is a game in and of itself. Each coach has their own Talent Tree system that can reduce recovery time for injured players, or even multiply XP increases for players, among other things, and improve your overall Franchise team immensely. Madden NFL 22 Franchise mode just took a giant leap forward.

Face of the Franchise

Last year’s Face of the Franchise mode had a decent storyline, but it really felt forced, and the antagonist/frenemy dynamic with the second QB in the story just didn’t feel real. This year’s release makes the story all about you and your character, with a sidekick friend and a young and eager agent ready to take on the world. The story follows your character as he prepares for the draft, and is invited to Nike’s headquarters to train and study with some of the great minds of the NFL, and some of the great players. The mode lets you shape your story as a quarterback, wide receiver, running back or, for the first time, a linebacker striving to reach NFL superstardom. EA Sports did a great Gridiron Notes segment on it here, and again, the developer took a good mode and made it great. Your Face of the Franchise Superstar will also be used in The Yard, so keep that in mind as you go through the creator process. Your character’s progress is also shared across both modes.

Dynamic Gameday, Homefield Advantage, and Momentum

In real life NFL games, Big Mo (also known as momentum) plays a big part of how well a team can perform at any given moment. We see this all the time in big games, where maybe the crowd gets behind their home team and rails on the visitors, getting so loud that audibles have to be given in sign language (that’s not in the game but you know what we mean). To replicate these moments in Madden NFL 22, a team on a roll will have their momentum meter filled up, causing detrimental things to happen to the opposing squad, who’s meter is tied to yours. Think of it as a pendulum swinging one way or the other, based on who is playing better.

If you are playing at home, you’ll also have a Homefield Advantage, with each team having its own unique advantage based off of historic things like the high altitude in Denver causing the visitors to have lower stamina or the 12th man in Seattle being so loud that the visitor’s play art is distorted by the decibel level. It is an intriguing addition that will play into every facet of the game, so you may want to study those images above, to decide what homefield might best suit you, fandom be damned.

[Gridiron Notes]

Player Animations and Next Gen Stats

Player animations have been updated for Madden NFL 22, and the game looks and runs smoother because of that. EA is calling this Next Gen Player Movement 2.0, and includes improvements on catching, running, tackling, sideline interactions like precise toe dragging for a catch, and touch tackles for when you need to back off of a QB to avoid that damn roughing the passer penalty. The Next Gen Stat animations are a real nice addition and we put together a montage of a few of them below.

MUT Strategy Cards

Strategy items streamline the existing chemistry system. Gone are the days when you had to painstakingly add chemistries to each of the individual players on your team. We have removed most of the chemistries from individual players and created a new type of item that can be built up to have the power of a fully chemistried team. With multiple Strategy slots, you can mix and match different combinations to better suit your needs. Since you can change your entire team’s chemistry makeup with just a couple button presses, you are able to easily change your strategy from game to game.

Each Strategy Item may include multiple attribute boosts that can have an impact on one individual on your team, or an entire group. You’ll spend less time managing all the chemistries on individual players, and instead get to focus on building out a strategy that maximizes the potential of your Ultimate Team.

Strategy Items can be acquired in most of the same ways you collect Player Items. Once you have a Strategy Item, all you have to do is go to the Strategy Tab on your Lineup and slot it into the appropriate slot. That’s it. No more going into 11 players on your offense and equipping them all with the same chemistry.

The core set of Strategy Items each have a specific set of attributes that it boosts. Rarer strategy items have more attributes on them, for an even greater impact to your team. You can level them up using the Power Up system to increase their effectiveness. There are also exchange sets available where you can trade up to a better rarity level. EA Sports will continue to release new types of Strategy Items throughout the year to shake up the current meta of the mode, challenging you to think in new ways to think about building your Ultimate Team. There will even be special Strategy Items tied directly to some programs to keep things interesting.

[Source]

MUT Accumulative Stats

In years past, you really had no idea how much you used any given Madden Ultimate Team player card because there was no way to track their stats. In Madden NFL 22, that is no longer the case. TDs, catches, receiving yards, rushing yards, sacks, pancake blocks. Want to know how may yards after a catch you are getting from Jerry Rice? You can now find out by visiting their card in your binder and heading to the Next Gen Stats tab. Offense, defense, and special teams are covered,  including the historic stats of anyone who owned that specific card before you if you picked it up in the market.

The stat system seems to have a few bugs here and there, though, where guys that have never played an offensive snap in their life only has blocking stats (DeMarcus Lawrence with zero pancake blocks is not surprising since he’s a defensive beast) and Power Up cards not showing  stats if you previously used the Core Elite card before adding it to the Power Up card, but these are minor issues that should be easily worked out.

EA Sports and developer EA Tiburon have been bringing us Madden NFL games for a really long time, and while it may not seem like a big difference between editions in some years, EA Sports Madden NFL 22 adds quite a bit to an already deep game. Franchise players will be thrilled with all of the changes, while Madden Ultimate Team fans will love the new stat tracking and strategy cards. The face of the Franchise mode also brings with it some welcome changes, and allows you to play defense this year.

While the game does have some growing pains and early glitches, it’s still a solid title worthy of your hard earn cash.

9


EA Sports Madden NFL 22 review code provided by publisher and reviewed on a PS5. For more information on scoring, please read What our review scores really mean.