Madden NFL 22 initial impression: EA Sports comes up short yet again

Madden NFL 22 is just the latest in a long line of disappointments from EA.

Image via EA Sports

With the start of every football season, there is hope. Whether it’s hope that your favorite football team will build upon recent successes or hope the newest rookies will be part of a legendary draft class that will bring the a Lombardi Trophy back to your city. And there is also hope that EA Sports’ latest iteration in the Madden NFL series make improvements the franchise has so badly needed over the past decade.

Unfortunately, fans of professional football who want a great video game to accompany the start of the NFL season will need to wait until next year. Madden NFL 22 is yet another copy-and-paste title in a long line of bad football games from EA. Madden left its place as the best football game on the market long ago, opting to water down its offline experience while making billions on virtual trading cards via Madden Ultimate Team.

Gameplay

Madden NFL 22’s gameplay feels the exact same as Madden NFL 21. The game is as animation-based as it was when the game was released on the Playstation 2. Physics, height and weight of the colliding players, and momentum do not matter to Madden NFL 22. The game’s animations dictate the results of plays, which makes plays feel cheesy, cheap, and like the CPU is straight-up cheating. 

Face of the Franchise

While not as bad or unbelievable as Madden NFL 21’s version of Face of the Franchise, this year’s story is still very inauthentic. Starting off, your player arrives at Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon to train with the best players in the NFL. While that scenario is not inherently unbelievable on its own, the players are in full pads just weeks after the NFL’s season ends. To top it off, the training lasts six weeks with two sessions a day. NFL players such as Odell Beckham, Jr. and Saquon Barkley voluntarily going through two-a-days at Nike Headquarters for six consecutive weeks is one of the least believable football stories. Additionally, the entire story feels like an advertisement for Nike as the game shoves the swoosh in your face at every given opportunity. 

Franchise Mode

The scouting upgrades are not currently live and are coming in a future update, according to EA. That being said, Franchise Mode is essentially a carbon copy of last year’s mode with coaching staff and skill trees from NCAA Football 14 sprinkled in, as well as a different menu design. Franchise has been neglected for years to the point where players can’t even replicate real life within the mode. Seriously, Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year, $503 million deal cannot be signed in Madden NFL 22. 

Madden Ultimate Team

Madden Ultimate Team is where EA Sports spends a majority of its time and effort, and for good reason. Ultimate Team brought in nearly $1.5 billion in revenue for 2020. Unfortunately for fans of simulation football, MUT is always going to be the cash cow for EA Sports and franchise mode will continue to be neglected while Ultimate Team is bringing in that type of revenue. 

The Yard/Superstar KO

Both of these modes remained untouched with no real incentive to play. It appears The Yard remains in the game to entice young players to spend real money on their players’ outfits, but beyond that, there is no depth. 


Overall, Madden NFL 22 is exactly what its predecessors were: a vehicle to sell virtual trading cards in order to make billions of dollars. EA Sports does not care about making a good football game. Generating revenue from players via live service updates is undoubtedly more important than creating a respectable representation of the NFL.