Madden 21 PC Impressions
Too Long; Didn’t Read
The king of video game football is getting ready to kick off on August 27, 2020, and it’s going to knock your jock-strap off!
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Despite the global healthcare pandemic, football season is just around the corner and EA Sports is hitting the gridiron with its best-selling football franchise to date: Madden 21. Capped with new features, options, online capabilities, and authentic gameplay that rivals the real thing, Madden 21 is literally and figuratively, one hot ticket.
We had a chance to play the full version of Madden through EA Play, formally known as Origin, over the weekend and came away impressed. So many subtle details about Madden 21 is an improvement over last year’s version. Enhanced features like team blocking and fluid more natural gameplay take this version one step higher. I also enjoyed the ball carrier effects that make controlling the backs more organic. In previous Maddens, controlling a player felt like controlling a truck; you just moved forward barreling your way past defenders. This year, however, there are little slight movements like the shuffling of feet and the off-balanced momentum that make it very realistic and lifelike.
The defense has also gotten an overhaul this year. Cornerbacks now reach in and attempt to slap the ball away from the receivers like a center swatting away a basketball. This animation was already in last year’s version, but this time, it looks more natural. I’ve also seen backs ripping the ball out of the hands of the receiver once they’ve already made the catch. It’s a nice little animation that adds extra realism to the game. However, I’ve seen this too many times already to know it might be too good for its own good. I’ll tinker with the defensive sliders a bit to try and balance it out.
Graphically, Madden 21 looks awesome!
While the core game mechanics are a step up from previous versions, not every feature has taken a step forward.
Taking A Step Back
The AI, for example, is a bit more reactive this year but I wouldn’t say smarter. The defense still plays against the algorithm instead of the play; meaning defenders only react when the ball is thrown and then is picked up by the defender’s line of sight. So as is the case with all the Madden games, you’ll see a back or safety guarding a zone and will only react when the player with the ball crosses that zone. It’s a delayed reaction that looks silly especially when viewed on instant replay. This has been a problem with the Madden series for years, and I can’t fathom why this part of the game cannot be improved on.
Another lingering issue has always been defenders not taking the right angle when bringing down a ball carrier or when going for an interception and linemen getting stuck in their blocking/rushing animations to make a play. Again, I blame this on the scripted AI that just cannot react in real-time to the action going on. In one example, the opponents QB ran out of the pocket but my linemen were stuck in their animation which resulted in the QB gaining 8 yards when he should have been stopped on the line of scrimmage.
Still, I’m definitely enjoying the Madden 21 despite my roller coaster win/loss record. Graphically, the game is top-notch and I am able to run it on Ultra settings with an RTX 2080 without any problems. If you’re having stuttering issues, you may want to consider installing Madden on an SSD or NVme card to minimize the stuttering. I was also told that turning off Bloom and DoF helped with the performance issues.
Madden is just what we need as we self isolate indoors. It’s not perfect, but it does bring us a step closer to the ultimate football game experience. I should have a review of Madden 21 PC soon!
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