Madden has become soulless. Routine. Flaccid. It’s to a point where the minor, niggling issues that remain each subsequent year – even with leniency allowed for pandemic-era development – pile on. There’s the listless, indifferent career “story” that’s a distressing waste of time. There’s an identity crisis where Madden cannot decide between arcade flourishes and simulation honesty; the number of glowing neon icons, scattered X-Factor alerts, momentum bars, and other screen garbage mirror NFL Blitz more than the NFL’s premier console product.
The irritating presentation wanders between the typical broadcast mimicry and total dishonesty. Why, for instance, is the crowd so audible when the virtual camera pans a section in close-up? Stupid, minor, but grating errors like that continue to dilute the Madden lineage. Madden 22’s cover is split between Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, a proper choice that represents the Madden crossroads. Either it’s a ground-up revamp like Mahomes or the yearly iterations like Brady – dependable, familiar, stable, but also expected.