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Madden 21 Gameplay First Impressions

The wait is over for Madden fans wanting to check out the latest installment of the series as Madden 21 released their closed beta to gamers who were provided codes to access the game.

With the beta, players are able to take one of four teams onto the field for some quick games or head-to-head play online. And while seeing how the game looks is a big part for many players, it’s the gameplay that we really want to focus on here with our first impressions.

Madden 21 Gameplay Impressions


Right off the bat you notice that CPU quarterbacks get the ball to the open wide receivers much faster than in previous games. They also make better decisions with their audibles and flipping the plays. When it comes to user-controlled QBs, throwing the ball deep now makes quarterbacks tired. It was also noticed that QBs are able to throw while being in the grasp of the defender, instead of it just being an automatic sack.

With running backs, the way they catch the ball out the backfield feels much more natural, they even have the ability to cut back inside of force defenders. No longer does it appear that your backs get stuck on the lineman on screens which is a definite improvement over year’s passed. One concern, however, is the offensive line and fullback next level path finding is still an issue leading to missing easy blocks.

On the outside, receivers get in and out of their breaks much faster as well as hold on to the ball better in traffic and as they’re getting hit. Possession catches no longer activate instantly and take a second or two to go into the animation. It also feels as though contested tight end catches seem more effective in Madden 21 while defenders aren’t as sure-handed when making plays. That alone will lead to far fewer interceptions in games.

For both receivers and defensive backs, there are also some new new ball-in-air animations to improve the battle between players. And lastly, tackling on defense feels much smoother than in the past.


From a coaching aspect, players have a bit more freedom in what they can do as you have the ability to make offensive and defensive coach adjustments at any time during the game.

There are zone coaching adjustments that are a nice, but they can totally break your coverage if players don’t know what they are doing. It’s something that EA Sports should work on more between the beta and when the game launches in August.

When it comes to the playbooks specifically, those who prefer to run the option will enjoy the Ravens playbook.

Other Gameplay Features

Outside of coaching and on-the-field play, there were some other things noticed with the Madden 21 beta. When players first get into the game, the Madden 21 game plays much faster than it has before.

On the field, there is much more personality with Madden 21. On top of touchdowns, players can celebrate after first downs, big hits, sacks, or tackles for loss. There are more sideline cutscenes, but the sideline remains the same with some repeated players, coaches, and media members.

Madden 21 Abilities Impressions

A lot of abilities have been brought back, albeit tweaked, for Madden 21 in addition to a few new ones.

As far as specific abilities are concerned, the “Juke Box” ability now grants steerable juke animations in the game while “Leap Frog” now prevents fumbling while hurdling a player.

Earl Thomas has a new “Film Study” ability which shows the offensive play after repeated play calls; Lamar Jackson has “Tight Out” which gives consistent catching from tight ends who beat their coverage; Patrick Mahomes has “Comeback” which reduces zone objectives while losing.

Lastly, in the beta, Superstar X-factor defenders have three superstar abilities instead of two.


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