Make Madden Great Again

 Every year we get excited about a new edition of Madden. Presented with a new player on the cover, a new list of rookies, and a ‘new’ franchise mode. With all of these new features, it’s inevitable that the game is rated five stars and labeled as ‘The best Madden yet’. I hope it’s the best one yet because it’s brand new! The graphics have improved through the years and the true player movements for the athletes have made the game feel very realistic. (That might be the nicest thing I say about Madden in this article)

This game can make an individual go mentally insane. Me. I am that individual. I am also a liar, because every year I say I’m done with Madden and won’t play the next season – fast forward 6 months and I’m glued to the TV playing it. It’s just part of it at this point. I have reached a point with the game that I would like to express my frustration with the gameplay. I honestly believe that these recommendations can make the game a lot more enjoyable and even more realistic for Madden gamers. 

Player Field Awareness: 

My first recommendation is to incorporate a field awareness for the players. Not just when they have the ball. The players should understand where they are on the field. If they are catching the ball in the flat, why is the player catching the ball and running straight out of bounds? Where half the time the pass is now incomplete and you’re annoyed. I would rather the player catch the ball, break down on their stride, chop their feet and head upfield. More examples are with players being near the sideline and running directly out of bounds then coming back in to catch it. Why is the player even stepping out of bounds at that point? This is especially frustrating in the red zone. Allow players to react to the sideline but still have the correct footwork and stability in tighter situations. I would also like to see players reaching the ball over the goal line or the first-down marker if they are close. Show them making an effort to get the ball across for points or for another set of downs. With either one or two hands, depending on the situation, player and area on the field. 

Receiving animations: 

We have all experienced it, your receiver is running a corner route, they have space to the sideline with the defender beat. You tap their icon to throw the ball. Instead of continuing to run and catch it, they jump and extend for the ball and you watch it get batted out of their hands. It doesn’t make sense and you lose a down. In that situation, you are forced to press ‘aggressive catch ‘and that’s the result. You hardly see it go your way, even with an X-factor receiver. I would much rather press ‘possession catch’ and have my receiver jump up and allow the ball to come into his body to secure the catch and fall or absorb contact knowing YAC isn’t an option. That ‘possession catch’ animation could be used for receivers catching a slant or inside route across the field. Instead of catching the ball away from their body, taking a big hit, and dropping it. 

A ‘possession catch’ could be viable to the Madden experience and be incorporated in the ‘aggressive catch’ animation. Not every aggressive catch should be jumping up and catching the ball away from their body and fully extending for the jump ball. This results in a defender coming in and somehow knocking the receiver’s legs out from under them and the ball floating in the air to be intercepted as another defender is running towards the play. I would like to see several new animation movements of ‘receiving’ ‘aggressive’ and ‘possession’ catches. 

Computer and Player Defensive awareness: 

We have all experienced it. You have a receiver WIDE open. By the time the ball reaches the defender, the defense has 3 players there to break up the pass. The one that drives me insane is when a defender has their back to an underneath route, you throw to a receiver coming out of their break and you expect them to make the catch, but the defender instead magically knows the ball has been thrown, turns around and pick 6. -_- 

It would be more beneficial for you to throw a deep ball to a receiver in a 1 on 1 situation and allow them to battle for it, instead it turns into a 2 or 3 on 1 and you don’t stand a chance. Then when roles are reversed for you to be playing defense, it seems like your defensive backs don’t even know where receivers are or can play man defense. 

Ball Placement: 

Open up the field for the ball to be thrown to every aspect of the field. It is so frustrating that deep balls are under thrown when there is 15 more yards for the ball to be placed. But no, the defender makes a better play on the ball than the receiver. The same goes for corner routes, there is so much field for the ball to be placed and its under thrown and the receiver has to turn around to catch it or the defender is in a perfect position to intercept it.

When I say open up the field, I mean for deep balls to be overthrown, fade routes to be thrown to the corner, and go over the top That’s the big one, allow the ball to be dropped in the breadbasket down the field. Allow a throw to be perfect. Also, why is it when you hold L2 for a low pass the accuracy just goes away? Also, the sound effect for every throw is super annoying and so is the amount of time it takes the quarterback to windup his throw. There is no reason the windup should take so long that he gets sacked in the middle of it.

Other annoying factors of the game: 

Receivers playing defense

When you throw to a receiver, you switch to them to make the catch and they instead go in defensive mode to prevent an interception, they are not even aggressive enough to attempt a catch. They automatically go into defensive mode. I’ve seen the computer defensive backs make a better catch on the ball than my own receivers.

Disengaging blocks

The defensive line timing to disengage the block or to finesse/power past the lineman. Half the time you are not given an option until the ball carrier has passed you or the ball is being thrown. Just take that out of the game entirely. Please.

Weird animations/Tackling/Hurry up offense

Automatic animations that take you out of the game are so frustrating. Whether it’s a player tripping and missing an open-field tackle or when your receiver is frustrated they didn’t make the catch – the ball is batted up and an off-ball defender is running back the interception. Also, what’s up with the juke move? Why does my player need to make this giant leap for a juke at times? Which slows them down so much that they break a tackle but the play results in a 2 yard loss because the acceleration is gone. The tackling is getting old, not every tackle is straight on at the shoulders and you get planted on your back. Let’s mix that up again and see some proper tackling form, Madden. Not every hit needs to be super loud. The last is when you are trying to do a hurry-up offense but the quarterback goes through their normal animated routine of lifting their leg and looking both ways. I would rather see the realistic aspect of them hurrying to get the snap.

I will play madden 21 of course, but I would really like to see a huge upgrade to the gameplay mentioned in this article. It’s the only option we have for a football game, so why does it feel like they focus on things that take away from the gameplay? Madden 21 is set to release on August 25th, 2020 and I’m sure it’s going to be the best one yet. 

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