Madden 24 review: The franchise takes another sack

Chris Studley
Josh Allen in Madden 20Electronic Arts

Madden 24 is out worldwide, bringing with it Superstar Mode and a number of changes to the gameplay engine. However, does the latest installment touchdown to new heights or miss the mark entirely?

Last year’s installment of the Madden franchise turned out to be a massive disappointment. Between bugs in Madden Ultimate Team that didn’t track stats to a major glitch that corrupted the save files of online franchises, EA Sports needed Madden 24 to be a hit in order to get the franchise back on track.

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Now that Madden 24 is out, we’ve had a chance to see what EA really did to shake up the franchise. While there are some new features in the game, the reality is that this version of Madden could use some more work on the field.

Madden 24 – Key Details

  • Price: $59.99 (PS4, Xbox One), $69.99 (PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PC)
  • Developer: EA Tiburon
  • Release Date: August 18, 2023
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Madden 24 trailer

Gameplay and visuals continue to frustrate

During the summer of 2023, EA Sports revealed its plans for Madden 24’s gameplay. The Madden team offered a plethora of changes, which included new animations to allow defenders to branch into mid-air catch tackles, hundreds of new catch animations — one of which included the return of the “dive catch” — and what it stated would be “overhauled” open blocking.

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EA expanded on what it changed earlier this month when the developers showed off gameplay. In that showcase, the developers indicated that the high pass meta would be shaken up and not as overpowered as in years past.

That much is true, as receivers don’t reel in high passes at a high frequency any longer. Knock-outs are much more pronounced in the gameplay, which isn’t a bad thing. On the other hand, there’s plenty to gripe about.

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For one, I saw way too many instances in which receivers would just randomly drop passes out in the open. I understand that this will happen on occasion, but let’s be mindful that these are NFL receivers — the best of the best. 

And like in prior years, AI awareness when it comes to blocking is an issue. Whether it be a receiver or running back not picking up a man, there have been far too many instances of blown blocks on higher difficulties.

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Another issue with Madden 24 is the visuals. Look, I’m not someone who gets caught up onn graphics too much — really, all I want is strong gameplay. However, when character model bugs and random camera drift occur, it’s when things really start to sting.

Skin bug in Madden 24Electronic Arts
Notice the glitched out skin of the coach.

It’s also worth pointing out that EA is also behind on updating visuals. For example, here’s what Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts looks like in Madden 24, compared with what it looks like now after a massive renovation of the stadium.

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A comparison of Gillette Stadium in Madden 24Electronic Arts
A look at Gillette Stadium in Madden 24, as compared to real life.

MUT turned into a dud

Madden Ultimate Team (MUT) has become the marquee game mode of the Madden franchise. This year, it just feels void of a lot of features.

At the start of the game, very few in the way of Challenges were made available to MUT players. Only a handful of Headliners challenges and several Legends were available as of August 19. 

Legends Tokens in Madden 24Electronic Arts
Challenges yield rewards in Madden 24, but there’s not many of them in MUT.

It’s a far cry from past MUT titles, which had many different single-player challenges like The Gauntlet.

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Realistically, the only way to find action in MUT is by way of the game’s competitive modes: Solo Battles, Head-to-Head Seasons, and MUT Champions. Unless one started — or at least was supposed to, given the slow rollout — with a plethora of Rookie Premieres, building a team on the cheap just isn’t going to be easy.

Couple this with missing Tokens for upgradeable players, missing House Rules rewards, and a very limited content schedule, and it’s hard to get excited about Madden Ultimate Team.

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Superstar Mode shows promise but still has holes

EA Sports added Superstar Mode to the Madden franchise in the mid-2000s. The Mode lasted for several years before EA ditched it, and then tried to replicate it with a new twist in Face of the Franchise. However, Face of the Franchise never became a hit.

Now, Superstar Mode is back for Madden 24.

Superstar Mode in Madden 24Electronic Arts
Endorsements are available for Superstar Mode, but there are many problems.

Individuals can create a custom avatar from one of five positions (QB, HB, WR, LB, CB) and grind it to 99 OVR. Madden players can unlock X-Factors, power up stats with Skill Points, and also use their avatar in online play through Superstar Showdown. There are a few things in here that I like.

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The NFL Combine is a lot of fun. It can take a little bit of time to get a handle on the controls for the 40-yard dash and such. But, not only does it add immersion, it gives the player control of their destiny.

I did also enjoy the NFL Combine interview questions, although I would have liked it to be focused strictly on the ins and outs of football and less on the Madden franchise. But like the other modes in Madden 24, this one too has its shortcomings.

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Superstar Mode bug in Madden 24Electronic Arts
Notice the fake field goal that went for a touchdown in the game log? The sim engine takes the ball out of the player’s hands on fourth downs.

One major issue is that it’s basically impossible to personally attempt a fourth down in this mode. In a lot of instances, I’ve seen my team get a first down on a fourth — or even a touchdown in which I was involved, but never get a chance to actually play through it. Instead, the sim engine will just automate it or let special teams go for a fake field goal.

Another problem in Superstar Mode — and quite frankly, all of Madden 24 — is the tremendously slow menus. This has been a problem for years in Madden and is still present on current-gen consoles. When it takes a long time to go through the different menus and simulate challenges, it can really take out the fun.

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However, what makes this mode truly frustrating is that there isn’t much that differentiates it from the old Face of the Franchise mode. Sure, the NFL Combine and training mini-games do add something, but when looking back at the old Madden games that had Superstar Mode, players had access to a gene pool of desired parents and an Ego meter.

I don’t like to compare Madden 24 to past games, but it’s important to note how much substance Superstar Mode now lacks when compared to the past. To me, it’s bare bones at the moment.

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But at the same time, one can see the potential that’s there. What I would like to see moving forward is a number of things, like having the coach auto-call plays and a better Superstar Mode builder, where players can determine what specific stats they specialize in and can ultimately grow to max potential.

Verdict — 2/5

EA Sports pushed hard in its marketing campaign that this would be a different game, but in reality, Madden 24 comes off as nothing more than an unpolished game that needs an overhaul. Sure, there’s been some improvements to the gameplay. However, the disappointing content in Madden Ultimate Team and the accompanying modes, along with glitches strewn around the title makes this game a tough sell.

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About The Author

Chris is a gaming writer for Dexerto who has covered the sports and gaming scenes for over five years.