Madden has been a staple of my gaming experience for YEARS now. I was honored to visit the EA headquarters in California this year (you can read that here). During that time I heard a lot about what we could expect from Madden NFL 24 and beyond. While some of the things they talked about are present and exciting, there are some issues that need to be addressed. Let’s begin this journey!
Let’s start with the good. A lot of the changes that fans wanted to see in Franchise Mode happened in Madden NFL 24. You can relocate as a Coach or an Owner which allows you to use one of many team designs for your team, relocating them to places like Paris, Melbourne, Tokyo, Memphis, and more. Trades have become more in depth as you can add up to six trade objects: up to three players and up to six draft picks, trading up to three years worth of picks compared to two last year. This makes those big splash trades more accessible if you’re trying for a player like Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Donald, Tyreek Hill, etc. On the player side, you’re able to restructure contracts to follow along the lines of Aaron Rodgers with the Jets this year. The scouting and drafting process has become easier with a feature to move to the next player without backing out and scrolling down again. These are all positive changes for Franchise Mode that makes the experience more realistic and enjoyable for players.
One of the biggest things that I loved about Madden NFL 24 is the inclusion of the mini-games. I’ve actually played more mini-games than I’ve played MUT and Showdown. They’re thought out, nostalgic, and help you grow your game and team! There are so many different mini-games that even the special teamers are represented with kicking and punting games. My favorite one for the XP points is Passing Skeleton – Outmanned. I got so many XP boosts for my QBs just by doing these mini-games in the focus area of the weekly strategy. These Mini-Games add a feeling of more to do in Franchise Mode than just playing games and moving around players. I think this is the best inclusion and part of Madden NFL 24.
During my time with Franchise Mode, I did something I’ve never done before on a Madden game: I didn’t start as the Miami Dolphins (fins-up). I decided, instead, to use the features provided in Madden NFL 24 by taking the LA Rams and moving them to Australia and becoming the Condors of Melbourne. I then traded Aaron Donald for a 1st round pick, 2nd round pick, late round picks, and George Pickens to the Steelers, traded Cooper Kupp for a first round pick and Tee Higgins to the Bengals, and Matthew Stafford for a second round pick and AJ Dillon to the Green Bay Packers. From the management angle, this was a lot of fun for me this year. Having the opportunity to get big paydays for trading good players, while finding gems to trade for made putting together a squad quite enjoyable. In a weak NFC, I went 12-5 and lost in the first round of the playoffs, and led in the season by an impressive running attack and intense defense. After that, the real scouting began as I had a total of four first round picks and two second round picks. I found my targets and thankfully never traded around. I got a new LE, RE, HB, and TE in the first round (no QB was graded higher than second round) then grabbed my QB of the future in the second round and we were off to the races. Franchise Mode, while glitchy, is still fun to play through. However, we need to talk about the glitches…
Madden has had issues with glitches for a while now. However, Madden NFL 24 really pushes it a bit further than Madden NFL 23 did for me. Things like TY Hilton’s hair not being on his head when updating his stats, QB’s hiking the ball and not moving while the team is moving, running backs getting caught on a lineman and running in place for the entire play, linebackers still able to see through the back of their heads during interceptions, rain games getting announced and then no rain while the next week no rain game announced and then rain happens, players looking gaunt while in specific sunset lighting, the “i’s” missing on Dolphin uniforms, I can keep going… Some of these things are things that the team talked about working on such as transparent heads, while others like the QB situation are brand new. These all seem like things that happen when you run out of time, and that is where we’ll head next.
Creating games, while easier in some ways these days, is also more intense. Graphics are better, AI is better, programming is harder, expectations are higher, the consoles themselves are bigger and better than ever. With that comes the need for time to be put into a game before release. So many of my complaints with Madden NFL 24 seem like they could be solved if the team had more time to implement everything. Realistically, the team spends two to three months fixing the old game, seven to nine months making the new game, leaving them one to two months to get the game fully ready. It’s not realistic. While I’m not sure what the solution is beyond making Madden bi-annual, with every other year being DLC roster updates, putting out games year after year that aren’t fully ready puts the creators, designers, and entire team in the crosshairs of angry fans who just desperately want a fully functioning game.
That being said, they stepped up graphics and movement with their new Sapien Technology. The players LOOK better from the ground up. No more linemen so off that their girlfriends are Tweeting at EA to fix the look of their boyfriends like in Madden NFL 23; the amount of work put in to make the players seem more realistic is appreciated. I just wish that we could be more excited about it without the visible glitches..
Moving forward with those things in mind, we come to Superstar Mode: The League. Madden NFL 24 has brought back the Superstar Mode where you can go from the combine to the draft to the NFL. This time, you can choose from the list of QB, HB, WR, MLB, and CB but have different character designs for each one. This means you don’t have to use your 5’11” QB build for your MLB character. Just a tad more control. However, this mode raises a few main concerns when playing through it as a QB being drafted to the Commanders. The game in this mode seems excessively laggy. Moving between different tasks I felt like the game could crash at any moment (which it did twice). Again, this seems like something that could have been fixed if there was more time available. While playing Superstar is quite fun, the amount of lag and glitches makes me want to play Franchise Mode more than Superstar which is quite a shame.
The next part of Superstar Mode is Showdown. This is 3 vs 3 backyard football. Like we saw last year, this mode is fun with friends as many shenanigans can come from people making amazing plays or boneheaded mistakes. While I’ve noticed that some people in the community would rather it go back to the 6 v 6 of last year, I think that the smaller field and more focused gameplay adds a lot to the fun.
Finally, MUT is MUT. Madden Ultimate Team had a rough launch as servers were down for a lot of the time I was trying to participate (this was after the Friday Launch). On top of all the glitches in other areas, there were plenty of glitches in the menus for MUT alone. I did get in and laid the groundwork for my MUT team, but the more I messed around with it, the more I got annoyed by the feeling that I needed to pay for cards to be competitive. Even with the Deluxe Edition of the game and free packs, I still felt way behind those who were able to get more packs than I could. There simply isn’t enough time in the day to do enough solo missions to get to the same level money can get you.
From a gameplay perspective, the linemen have gotten better at blocking as the Madden NFL 24 told us they would. Running the ball has never been better since the early 2010’s. The fullback on the other hand has not gotten the same treatment. I run a lot of power running schemes and I have found the fullback just running to random people, not following the play. This was what the linemen did last year, so I assume the fullback could get a similar treatment (#JusticeforFullbacks). The WR’s and CB’s play have all been revamped leading to so many cool catch animations and ridiculous CB interceptions. But then again, as I said before, linebackers didn’t seem to get the same love and they have the same old animation where they can see out the back of their heads. The attention to detail was there for some, clearly, but seems like not there for others.
Madden NFL 24 is a hit or miss parade with things like Mini-Games, Franchise Mode updates, and a fun opening to The League are the hits. The number of glitches, lack of attention to detail, and the buy to win MUT model are all misses for me. Hopefully, the team at Madden NFL 24 are given the time they need to make all their ideas come to life. Madden NFL 24 is available on XBOX Series X/S, PS5, and PC.
Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, Mass Effect, NFL Football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.
Madden NFL 24
After seeing so much change in Franchise Mode from Madden NFL 22 to 23, expectations were high for Madden NFL 24. While some things are what fans wanted from the Madden franchise in 24, it seems like time was truly against the game as glitches are more rampant than last year and things simply seem half finished. While we assume that things will get fixed as the year goes by, it might be time for Madden to look at trying to complete a game before putting out another one.