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‘Madden NFL 24’ Review

As the autumn winds begin to swirl and September nears, so does football season—and with it, the annual release of the Madden video game series.


Unfortunately, various issues plagued the early release of Madden NFL 24 on Monday night, which caused many to express their frustration on social media, including NFL stars such as Breece Hall and Marquise Brown:





But now that the servers have stabilized and gamers have been able to dive in, there are definite positives to point to. That said, our review is always fair and coming from the perspective of hardcore NFL fans, so we certainly won’t ignore the negatives with constructive criticism that we can only hope EA Sports will consider for the future.




Based on the strides that have been made over the past two years, “FieldSENSE” should be considered a successful gameplay system after it first was included in Madden 23—when the primary change was “Skill Based Passing” mechanics that created much more freedom to place throws to spots/locations like a real-life quarterback can.


In Madden 24, the top FieldSENSE update that inches us towards a more realistic overall gameplay experience is “Hit Everything 2.0”—which has been implemented on offense to create “more intelligent” blockers in the running game. Basically, the holes develop better, the pacing feels smoother, and teammates now have the awareness to make key blocks in space to spring runs at the second level.


My one concern is it being overpowered for those with a high understanding of how to read blockers, so Franchise players in particular might end up needing to tweak the sliders if running the ball becomes too dominant.


From the perspective of having a more realistic experience, another immediate positive I noticed was playbooks being updated compared to previous years. For example, there is a play that includes a new route where the slot receiver—as the primary read—will start with a drag/cross before angling downfield towards the goal post (it’s a included in the Eagles playbook as a route that A.J. Brown ran in 2022); in general, the spacing of everything feels updated and a bit more diversity from formation to formation.


So, the gameplay still has a long way to go for it to be “simulation” football, but it’s definitely been improved with passing as the focus in Madden 23 and running/blocking as the focus in Madden 24, which brings us to…




Now, EA needs to have presentation catch up if they want to reach their goal of “[blurring] the lines between our game and the real-life game.” On the bright side, it can be an easy fix.


Right now, the scoreboard—which was updated this year and feels too small (in terms of text) and cluttered—is a generic EA visual, and every game has a generic EA presentation. But with all the partnerships and deals the NFL has with media companies, why can they not have CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, and Amazon graphics in Madden?


Thursday night games should be on Amazon. Sunday early afternoon and late afternoon games should be on CBS and FOX. Sunday night games should be on NBC. And Monday night games should be on ESPN. Just as is the case in real life.


We don’t even need different broadcast teams (though it’d be nice), as I’m sure everyone would be fine with Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis calling every game while updating the presentation packages (and using the iconic theme songs for each network?) depending on the channel it should be airing based on kickoff time.


Realistic dynamic weather (ex: accumulating snow) and a better “feel” for holiday games or the time of year—particularly in Franchise Mode—are other factors that would help blur the lines between real life and the virtual gridiron.


Franchise Mode


The changes for Franchise Mode are welcome, but unfortunately don’t make a significant dent in the damage that has been done from years of neglect. The positives compared to previous games include expanded trade slots, the ability to restructure contracts, and fifth-year options for first-round picks—all simple things that should have already been in the game.


Unfortunately, the “big” improvements that are being sold don’t mean much for those seeking a simulation experience.


Training Camp was the headlining change for Franchise Mode, but I don’t think the ability to play mini game really moves the needle—especially for anyone that follows the league closely and doesn’t need a virtual position battle to decide who they’ll be starting when the regular season begins.


Another substantial change was revamped Relocation—giving us 15 new cities and a bunch of new uniforms to choose from. I like the new options, but what if you just want to play out a franchise as realistically as possible with 32 NFL teams as they currently stand? Not much of a game-changer.


Or better yet, why can’t we have added customization for uniforms, or a full team rebrand? I understand the NFL might not want to allow gamers to get too crazy or stray too far from “the brand” of actual teams, but it doesn’t hurt anyone to change the Washington Commanders to the Washington Wolves (something that could happen in real life) and allowing users to have full control of uniform design.


Finally, the overhaul of offensive and defensive coordinators falls flat, as we are still dealing with a CPU-generated roster of OCs/DCs—limiting the realism of the offseason when you might try to hire a real-life up-and-coming coordinator to be head coach.


In the future, I would love to see a complete redesign of Franchise Mode where you can be the general manager rather than either an owner, coach, or player.


Ultimate Team


The biggest—and most lucrative—mode in Madden continues to be Ultimate Team, but they have unfortunately gone the opposite direction of what I’d hoped by watering down all the overalls at launch (ex: the best core elite card is 86 overall). I’m convinced the game would be much better and have increased longevity if EA instead made the base cards have ratings based on their “regular” in-game ratings (ex: Justin Jefferson being a 99 overall).


Now, that would require a new development team coming in to create player ratings because the current system is frankly terrible, but it’d improve both MUT and Madden as a whole. And it’d also reward those who pay attention to real-life NFL games by creating investment opportunities on players you think might have their ratings increase by breaking out. (Isn’t getting eyes on actual NFL games the main objective for the league?)


Also, the ratings system should be based on a historical scale, as Tom Brady, Jerry Rice, Lawrence Taylor, and maybe a couple of others should be the baseline 99, but there could be other 99-overall cards throughout the year for certain versions of players. For example, Aaron Rodgers might have his 84-overall core elite (higher if the ratings were overhauled), but a 99-overall based on one of his MVP campaigns.


For the current system in Ultimate Team (which is going to be more extreme based on launch ratings), we have to wait until around the Super Bowl for 99 overalls to be released. At that point, many have checked out of the game because out-of-position players and similar cards become too ridiculous by the end of December (I’ll hold judgement because maybe content will change from previous years, but don’t even get me started on a Daniel Faalele running back or whatever other crazy game-breaking—in a bad way—stuff EA comes up with).


Again, the different versions of cards are all watered down right, which is unfortunate. The top example to use based on my early play is Jalen Hurts being the “Ultimate Preseason Player” at 80 overall, compared to his core elite being an 84 overall. I know there is a better version of Hurts out there that simply has boosted ratings across the board, so why not make the lower-overall versions of a player be a “Rookie” card instead?


Maybe I’m alone, but I’d feel a lot better about using a Rookie card of a player—that could have different ratings, traits, and abilities based on how they performed as a real-life rookie—rather than a “lesser” version of the 2023 card for a player; even psychologically, it’d be better.


Also, it’s frustrating to have players from Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas promos be “outdated” just weeks after getting them, so an overhaul would allow there to be highly rated 95+ cards for every holiday/promo that can stay in lineups all year long.


To conclude the Ultimate Team section (and this is also a point for the entire game), the positional designations for players need to be updated to account for different schemes and roles—particularly on defense. For example, if I run a 3-4 front and want to have Nick Bosa (listed as a RE) on my squad, I should be able to switch him to a ROLB for my scheme. The simple fix would be to label players as Edge Defenders (LE/RE in 4-3; LOLB/ROLB in 3-4), Defensive Linemen (all DT in 4-3; LE/RE in 3-4), and Inside Linebackers (LOLB/MLB/ROLB in 4-3; all MLB in 3-4).


At the very least, there should be a backend system in place where ratings don’t drop for playing a star pass rusher like Bosa as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. It makes no sense and makes it seem as if EA has a lack of football knowledge.




Overall, Madden NFL 24 has welcome improvements to run blocking and playbooks, but there are plenty of changes that need to be made in future games to create a more enjoyable and realistic simulation experience.


Final score: 6.4/10