‘Madden 21’: Everything You Need To Know

Are you ready for some football? The latest version of the NFL’s official video game is better than ever.

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Credit: EA Sports

Another year, another Madden. Madden NFL 21 is here, and it delivers the most reliable NFL experience the world may get this year. As uncertainty swirls around the NFL season (and Fantasy Football, by extension) the hyper-realistic gridiron simulator brings back the meticulously-detailed gameplay everyone needs. 

Madden 21 also heaps on new approaches with a revamped Face of the Franchise Mode, a helping of College Football and, most importantly, a brand new arcade-style 6v6 option in The Yard for fans of a faster game. Here’s everything you need to know about Madden 21’s debut:

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Starting with what’s shiny and new, The Yard is a 6v6 experience that blends the fast-paced gameplay of NFL Blitz with a lighter version of Madden’s familiar play-calling and control schemes. The result truly does feel like schoolyard football, complete with a blitzing countdown (one Mississippi, two Mississippi), teams filled out with superstars from across the league and a highly customizable personal player that continues to pump up as you win challenges and earn XP across the playgrounds and backlots of America’s greatest football cities. There’s also the potential to play The Yard online with up to six friends.

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While The Yard’s arcade stylings are certainly an innovative addition and has a lot of depth despite its lighter gameplay, the fact remains that fans come back to Madden year after year for the realism that’s been a signature of the series all along. As a reintroduction to that gameplay (and maybe to scratch an NCAA itch) Madden 21 has an even more robust Face of the Franchise mode. 

Now offering the ability to choose a role as QB, RB or WR, Face of the Franchise begins with a high school players and follows his career through two seasons of college and all the drama of entering the NFL as a pro. It’s a cinematic way to get psyched for football’s return, pick up on new control tweaks and maybe catch a cameo or two along the way.

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Speaking of new controls, it’s worth spending time learning the nuts and bolts of the gameplay upgrades in Madden 21 before embarking on Ultimate Team, Franchise or trying out online play. Beyond the new skill-stick, where the right analog stick becomes an all-purpose multi-tool whether on offense or defense, there’s also an injection of razzle dazzle with X-Factors and Superstar Abilities, where individual standout players from each team can bust out gamebreaking moves once they “get in the zone.”

Credit: EA Sports

Confidence in those abilities on the stick usually translates to wins and that’s when it’s time to move on to Madden signature competitive modes. Madden Ultimate Team, Franchise, Superstar KO and, of course, online play all return in very familiar iterations, though all benefit from some spit and polish that adds extra authenticity and highlights over its predecessor. 

According to EA, will continue evolving through the year since they’re approaching the Madden franchise as an ongoing service as well as a yearly installment. In a year where new consoles are scheduled to arrive in time for the holidays, this also means free upgrades to the Xbox Series X and PS5 versions of Madden for owners of it on the current gen consoles. Madden NFL 21 is available now on PS4 and Xbox One. It will be available on the next generation of consoles when they arrive later this year. 

Madden NFL 21 is available now on PS4 and Xbox One.