Madden 24 Review – Don’t Forget You’re Here Forever

Madden 24 on PS5

When August rolls around, that means it’s officially time to dust off those playbooks, shamelessly fixate over your favorite NFL team in public once again, and return to the virtual gridiron for the latest entry into the long-running EA Sports Madden franchise. We are creatures of habit, after all. If there is a Madden title to play, we are going to play it. But should we? As in, should we even have that option every year around this time? Or is it time for a break?

Now contrary to what you may be thinking, I don’t pose these questions simply to shoot down this latest installment. It is not some sort of elaborate setup to dunk on a game that I can only describe as remarkably adequate. But it is something I’ve been thinking about a lot while experiencing all Madden 24 has to offer this past week.

In April, EA Sports released a PGA Tour title for the first time since 2015, and it was genuinely enjoyable. Dare I say, it was great. Next summer, the expectation currently remains that EA Sports will be releasing its first College Football title since 2013. For what it’s worth, I am choosing to be cautiously optimistic. Now all of that is not a long way of saying Madden needs to take a decade-long break to rejuvenate itself. I understand that much like FIFA the soon-to-be-released EA FC, the machine needs to keep turning. There is money to be made and players are still lining up to play.

But what if we all agreed to take a slightly longer break? What if we all came to the conscious decision that a yearly release of this game — or really any sports title to be quite honest — was unnecessary? These are the moments I dream of. That said, there are instances in which a better game seems possible only to get bogged down by the same set of issues that have plagued previous entries. Much like FIFA 23, you’re likely to get out of this what you wish to.

Superstar Mode Begins Anew

Madden 24 PS5 Review
Image Source: EA Sports via Twinfinite

If my review of previous sports titles such as NBA 2K23 taught us one thing, it’s that I appreciate Career Mode. Even when the dialogue is half-baked and your character sounds like they’re phoning in their performance, Superstar Mode is a win on the surface for Madden 24. And unsurprisingly, everything that’s connected to football and the NFL rather than all this nonsense about building your brand is where it flourishes. Imagine that.

So strip away the try-hard dialogue. Kick that obnoxious grind-set attitude to the curb. Instead, focus all of your energy on becoming the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver, linebacker, or cornerback you can be.

Madden 24’s Superstar Mode begins at the NFL Combine, where you compete for the chance to become a Top 10 draft pick. Perform poorly, however, and you may find yourself on the outside of the First Round looking in.

Another Superstar Mode element Madden 24 has going for it is the fact that the trials do not end after the drills. The game also give you the option to participate in an interview consisting of 10 multiple choice questions focusing on football history and the Madden series as a whole. The more you answer correctly, the higher your draft stock rises. Just be careful; while you’re ale to redo drills, the same does not apply to the 10-question quiz.

That said, there is an element to the revamped Superstar Mode that leaves a somewhat bittersweet taste in your mouth. Every week, players have an opportunity to key attributes for that weekend’s game, earn Cred, attend workouts, or practice specific drills. While the drills are playable, the optional attribute-boosting activities are not. It’d be fun to have the option, considering your participation in Combine drills, but for whatever reason it wasn’t included.

Oh, and just one other puzzling moment to report thus far. On the one hand, I truly do appreciate that the default setting does not force players to pick the team they wish to end up on. It is an option, but it is not the default. And as far as I can tell, there is no ‘Automatic Starter’ setting to trigger either when you do get drafted. Fast forward, and the New York Jets wound up selecting me 13th overall. Fair enough. They did just trade for four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers this past offseason, but he is 39 years old. Sooner than later, odds are they’ll need to have his replacement ready.

And yet, you’ll never guess what happened. The Jets decided to trade Rodgers in order to start me right away. For that, we’re deducting points due to a lack of logic. On the other hand, it was really, really funny. So maybe it cancels out. In any case, this would never, ever happen.

A Franchise Needs a Face

Franchise Mode Madden 24 Review
Image Source: EA Sports via Twinfinite

It seems there is a lot to like in Franchise Mode this time around. And on the surface, it’s difficult to argue against that sentiment. There are additional trade slots available, up from three to six, which can make engaging with the CPU a little more fun. You even get an extra year of draft picks from the start in order to balance the additional trade slots.

Tweaks have been made to Draft Generators, Fantasy Drafts, Free Agent Negotiations, Progression/Regression Sliders, and even more Draft Day elements. And yet, I cannot say Franchise Mode grabs me. For all of the tuning, it doesn’t feel like it adds up to much. Perhaps this will be an area to revisit once I’ve got more seasons under my belt.

For the time being, there are improvements to point to but I want more. It’s fun that you can relocate as an Owner or Coach in Madden 24, but there is too much emphasis on adding more cities and not enough emphasis (read: none) on restoring the long-lost Create a Team feature.

And this doesn’t apply solely to Franchise Mode, so we’ll touch on it more later, but my gosh the commentary.

MUT Is What You Make Of It

MUT Madden 24 Review
Image Source: EA Sports via Twinfinite

Now I realize I am part of the problem here. I cannot tell you how many hours I have put into FIFA Ultimate Team in the past. And I will not even begin to imagine how many more hours I am going to sink into EA FC’s version of Ultimate Team later this year. And yet, Madden Ultimate Team just does not have that same pull. For me, it never has.

Like all Ultimate Team modes, though, there is enough to keep you busy here. From daily challenges to season-specific objectives, Season 1 presents a staggering 61 Levels to conquer. XP for days! Rewards ranging from uncommon-to-rarer card packs as well as coins and player-specific collectible tokens. But at the end of the day, even if you work hard to ignore the microtransactions, you will not be able to ignore the microtransactions. They are everywhere.

Obviously you have the power to prevent yourself from spending anymore real currency on this game. We implore that you do resist the urge to spend. But it becomes clearer and clearer every year what these sports titles put their focus into. It’s why we run into the same gameplay obstacles. Or the sometimes silly AI logic (rather, lack thereof). Maybe it’s why commentary doesn’t seem to be much of a focus either.

Whatever the case may be, MUT will continue to flourish. There are solo battles to step up to, for one. Additionally, who doesn’t love defeating another human being in an online match? And when it comes to opening card packs, that next one might be the one. It all comes down to chance, and if my past Ultimate Team luck is anything to go on, the odds are not in your favor.

Loose Ends & Wishful Thinking

Madden 2025 Wishlist Madden 24 Review
Image Source: EA Sports via Twinfinite

Every year, I want to be excited for the newest Madden entry. And every year, I know at the end of the day I’m going to end up playing it. And truth be told, it’s completely fine. I stand by my previous assessment of this game being remarkably adequate. Even still, it feels like shortcuts are constantly being taken. There are foundations in place within Superstar and Franchise Mode, but a misguided focus at times. But are shortcuts to blame, or is there a lack of time in between releases?

Some people may point to the graphics of Madden 24 and lament that they are no better than last year. Personally, I couldn’t care less about graphics. It’s 2023; most games are going to look good up to a point by default. Sports titles try so hard to convey some sort of ultra-realism with each passing year, and all it does is make the game look less interesting. They want to be simulations so badly, but feel more arcade-like than ever. I don’t want graphic enhancements, I want more immersive commentary (shout out to PGA Tour again).

Being able to relocate to one of 34 cities — especially Chicago (the Bears still exist, right?) — doesn’t interest me either. You know what does? Creating a fully custom team and replacing the Jacksonville Jaguars with them. Remember those Cupcake squads? Or the team low on talent but high on youth and potential? While we’re at it, pour one out for Madden NFL 12.

For all of the tweaks and tuning; for all of the enhancements, I cannot remember the last time it felt like I was playing a different Madden game. So much feels the same. Like it’s been painted over and over so many times, just with a different color.

There is even more text on the screen pre-snap than ever before. The CPU still calls a timeout with 1:01 remaining in the second and fourth quarters. Linebackers are as capable as defensive backs. And, I still would much rather simulate season after season than play game after game — even though I’m given the choice to only play Key Moments. That can’t be the goal, right?

When it comes right down to it, I’m just not getting what I used to out of Madden. It doesn’t do much for me, and issues that I’ve had for several years are still there. That’s why I suggested a break at the beginning of this review. Something tells me it wouldn’t spell the end of the world. And yet, something else tells me dreaming of such a thing is wishful at best.

Madden NFL 24

Reviewer: Shaun Ranft