EA Sports is back with another football title in Madden 22. After a harshly criticized installment in Madden 21 — a game that saw a 0.2 user score on Metacritic — the company is back working to make amends with its player base. From updates to the gameplay to franchise mode getting a much-needed feature post-launch, the developers have done quite a bit to improve the game. But will this year’s game be the title that turns things around for the franchise, or will fans once again be left wondering “what if”? Here are ten things you need to know about Madden 22 before you buy it.
Like last year, EA Sports is offering a dual entitlement program for Madden 22 players. Unlike last year, however, it’s not as flexible for those who buy it on a last-gen Xbox One or PlayStation 4 (PS4).
In order to get an upgrade to the PlayStation 5 (PS5) or Xbox Series X|S version of Madden 22, you have to spend extra money. To take advantage of the dual entitlement offer, you’ll have to buy either the MVP Edition that costs $99.99, or the Dynasty Edition that costs $119.99.
Like last year, you have to upgrade to the next console generation of the original platform you play on — PS4 to PS5 or Xbox One to Xbox Series X|S.
As far as what carries over, players in Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) will see everything except competitive mode progress brought over with the upgrade. All progression for both The Yard and Face of the Franchise will carry over. Unfortunately, though, Franchise mode won’t carry over, meaning you’ll have to start anew.
One last catch is that if you want your Madden Rank, Wallet, Avatar look and loadout, player class progression, and Vanity purchases to carry over, you HAVE to upgrade to a next-gen version of Madden 22 within two months of your original purchase. So keep that in mind before you buy Madden 22 for that last-gen console
Next-Gen Only Features
When you load up Madden 22, the platform you play on will make a pretty significant impact on your playing experience. If you have the game on the Xbox Series X|S or PS5, you’ll get the biggest new features being dubbed as “Dynamic Gameday”.
Dynamic Gameday includes new Next Gen Stats Star Driven AI which has AI player behavior determined by real-world NFL stats; Gameday Atmosphere that sees each stadium have a unique element to bring a true home-field advantage into Madden 22; and Next Gen Movement 2.0 which takes the foundation laid by its debut in Madden 21 and adds more natural movement to all 22 players on the field during each play.
PC is Last Gen
If you noticed, I didn’t mention PC as getting the next-gen only features. That’s because it’s not being treated as a next-gen game.
Despite the average PC being on par or better than the new consoles, EA Sports made the decision to keep it at the same level as the last-gen systems. That means features like Gameday Atmosphere, Next Gen Movement 2.0, and Next Gen Stats Star Driven AI won’t be available for PC players.
In response to the criticisms from the community, EA told SGO that it was “something being explored for the future”. The reason given was that because the game was still early in the next-gen transition, the development team is “focused on making the best quality experience on new consoles before looking to upgrade other platforms”.
Luckily, it’s not just the next-gen with gameplay improvements. Madden 22 will see a number of updates to the game’s core gameplay for all players regardless of platform.
One of the biggest changes, according to EA Sports itself, involves tackling. Madden 22 will feature new interactions that are “more appropriate to specific situations”, taking the size and strength of players into consideration. Some of these new tackles include sideline tackles that have defenders using the sideline to their advantage and more organic gang tackles that include 2-4 players.
Other areas of gameplay that EA addressed in the game involve more natural-looking catches that limit things like receivers seemingly slowing down despite having separation on defenders; Blocking utilizes more logic to help linemen make the right read and decision to either protect the quarterback or clear a hole for the running back.
There are more updates to the gameplay in Madden 22 that EA is banking on improving the natural flow of the game, and brings the game to a new level of realism.
No Real Broadcast Changes
Madden 22 is going to see some updates to the presentation in terms of visuals, but there won’t be any real or major changes to the game’s broadcast.
The same broadcast team returns, there’s no update to the overall injury presentation, and the draft experience in Franchise Mode remains the same.
As far as what is changing, there will be an updated Super Bowl presentation for players as well as a new halftime show. But don’t get your hopes up. The halftime show won’t be anything like what fans hoping for an NFL 2K5-like experience want. Instead, it’s going to focus on the current matchup, stats, overall strategy, and halftime adjustments.
Coaching Staff Come To Franchise Mode
A long-wanted feature is finally coming back to the series with the coaching staff in Madden 22. Rather than just have a single head coach with all the responsibilities, Madden 22 introduces three more positions to manage in your franchise.
Players now have to manage a head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators, and the player personnel department. As part of this new management, you’ll be able to hire and fire your staff, as well as build them up using Staff Points.
Staff Points add an RPG-like element to the feature that is only gained by completing objectives and reaching various milestones. No microtransactions here!
Using these points allows you to update your coaches’ talents in various areas to help your team like improving the injury rating for all defensive players, or even getting discounts on certain types of players when looking to make a trade.
Face of the Franchise is Back (For Better or Worse)
Dubbed “United We Rise”, Face of the Franchise is back in Madden 22 with some new features to try and lure players into the mode that helps justify the use of the Frostbite Engine.
The mode starts out this year with a new Road to the Draft segment. You’ll start out as a generational talent heading into the NFL Draft, taking part in various training sessions. From there, you’ll be able to work on your draft stock by playing in the College Football Playoff, interviewing with NFL teams, and even taking part in private pre-draft workouts.
Madden 22 brings class progression into the mode for the first time as well as the ability to play on the defensive side of the ball as a linebacker. There are even side activities to take part in throughout the week that’ll allow you to have a more unique experience within the mode.
It’s shaping up to be a slightly more open-ended offering than past years, but it’s still going to be your sports-themed movie that you’ll either love or hate.
Doubling Down on “The Yard”
The Yard’s debut in Madden 21 was a mixed bag, to say the least. Some fans loved it while others just viewed it as another excuse to ignore Franchise Mode. Well, after seeing The Yard grow over its first year, EA Sports is doubling down on the arcade mode in Madden 22.
This year sees the introduction of a brand new challenge-based Solo or Co-Op campaign.
Divided up into four chapters, The Yard’s campaign features a new set of venues per chapter with a location-specific boss — an NFL superstar — blocking your progression. On top of the boss, each venue comes with its own set of house rules like a defensive touchdown being worth 10 points instead of six. If you beat the boss, you’ll then be able to recruit them to your squad to help you in future games.
One thing of note is that class progression will carry over between The Yard and Face of the Franchise, allowing all of the work put in to not be left behind.
Franchise Gets A Scouting Overhaul
It only took years of begging and it’s not coming until a post-launch update, but the scouting system in Madden is finally getting a facelift in Madden 22.
Rather than rely on points to scout players, the new mechanics rely on your scouts’ level and talent at their job. You’ll be able to have regional or national scouts with each having their own strengths and weaknesses. There’s even the ability to focus on a specific player throughout the year which could lead to teams working to try and keep you from getting the player you want.
Another key element is players will now move up and down the rankings throughout the year. A quarterback you like could start the season on fire, but collapse down the stretch. This could lead to your scout wanting the team to avoid him and have him ranked lower on his big board. It then becomes a decision on trusting your gut or your staff.
Lastly, mock drafts throughout the season will reflect the various rankings within the year. These will help give insight into what players are drawing the most attention and which are flying under the radar.
It’s not coming until sometime in the weeks after the game is available, but when it comes, it’s going to be a welcomed addition to the series. Just know that you’ll have to start your franchise over if you want to take advantage of the update within the mode.
More Franchise Features to Come Post-Launch
If you are still wondering “what else?” before making your decision, EA Sports will be releasing two more major updates to Franchise Mode via what it calls its “Live Service” updates.
There are no real hints of what those other updates will entail, but they are both expected sometime later this year after the scouting update is released. If anything, it’s a sign that EA Sports is actually listening to fans who were so upset with Franchise Mode in Madden 21. Hopefully, it’s a trend that continues in the years moving forward.
Are you excited about Madden 22? Is there more you need to see before you buy Madden 22, or will you be picking it up at launch? Let us know in the comment section below and stick with Sports Gamers Online for more.