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A Very British Review of Madden NFL 24 From a Complete Newb’s Perspective

Spoiler: It's a Maddening experience

As a teenager I had this strange fondness for American Football films. I had gone through the entirety of GOAL! and had grown tired of playing PES’s Become a Legend that I needed a new kick. Although certain Football games held a place in my heart, such as PES 2003 (because who could forget that bald head?), what came next was the beginning of a new era of watching men running down the field or dealing with racism and being the underdog. From Invincible to Remember the Titan (which still hits by the way) and The Blind Side which swiftly moved onto Boxing Films, the need to watch men fight whilst dealing with some serious personal issues was apparently really important to my teenage brain at the time. Now being older after moving away from PES and FIFA with the occasional game once in a while, I found myself (due to this fantastic job), playing and reviewing the next best thing – Madden. This is Vincent’s review of Madden NFL 24.

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A Game That Only Pros Can Play

Being a British person, Madden was in a similar lane to NBA; I know of it, I’ve seen my fair share of films about it or sported that iconic Jordan 1s to rep Michael Jordan himself but I never really watched the real games, nor played any video games of either franchise. After previously providing coverage for Madden 23, I felt like it was appropriate to finally pick up the controller and try this American Football franchise out for myself. Unlike other British citizens, I had some semblance of American Football knowledge in my locker in that I knew the basics. I could follow the films with absolute ease and felt that what I learnt by watching fiction could be transferrable into Madden itself. What I learnt however…was absolutely nothing when it came to entering the world of Madden.

Madden 24 is far from being beginner friendly. In fact, it completely strays away from helping you out whatsoever. Instead, only those who have previously played Madden could make sense of what they were seeing on the screen. When the play began I had some semblance of control in that I understood the QB passed the ball by me selecting which player I wanted to receive via X, O, R1 etc. But when the play ended all hope was lost. The choice between which play you wanted to use after every single turn upon being tackled or fumbling the ball was the most intense few seconds of my life and felt as though I had the last few seconds of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? music playing in the background at all times. But thankfully I wasn’t playing online to ruin my opponent’s day.

Even on Rookie (as a complete newbie) I found that there was absolutely no guide on how to play aside from blindly following the ‘Coach’s Tips’. It was only through trial and error that I began to understand what did and did not work but even after realising what worked best, I had long forgotten what the play was unless I wrote it down.

The choices are as follows – Formation, Concept, Play Type, Personnel and Coaching Adjustments. This is only the tip of the iceberg however as you make your first move of the American Football game equivalence of Chess against Garry Kasparov (Googled that). Say you go into Formation which if you played FIFA or PES you, like me, would have an understanding, you then are faced with Tempo, Packages and Singleback. With absolutely no guide as to what any of this means however, I was faced with the dilemma to stick to the long list of available passes which had names I did not understand of course and literally no description to what the play does. Instead, I get neat little circles and squares that will tell me the flow of the play rather than actually breaking it down.

A Bombardment of Information

The Settings for Madden 24 are absolute insanity. Whilst I am all for complete freedom and control in how you want your match to play (Arcade or Realism), the result for those brand new to the game is overwhelming, to put in nicely. Tell me why there are 9 different Game Controls for players to memorize. Each Controller Scheme has its own set of controls, this is all of them:

  • Ballcarrier
  • Passing
  • Preplay Offense
  • Preplay Defense
  • Ball in Air
  • Defensive Engaged
  • Defensive Pursuit
  • Defensive Coverage
  • Blocking
  • Player Locked Receiver

Whilst I do not touch every game imaginable like I used to as a teen as I did not want to visit CEX (the British GameStop) with my 100+ games to only get £1 per game with each one I traded in ever again in my life, my more picky approach to gaming did not result in a lack of gaming awareness, nor lower gaming IQ for understanding the basics. Madden’s basics are incredibly complex to the point that it is impossible to even attempt to master as a new player to the franchise. To compare – my brain has an aneurysm every time I switch from PES controls to FIFA and that’s literally two buttons to remember. The game control is one thing but the overall options to dictate how my team plays, how the CPU plays and then dealing with how real life opposition plays is something that only those who are used to Madden understand.

I found myself asking out loud – “how do I score field goals?”, “what does Tempo do?”, “why am I spending more time staring at squares and terms than playing the game?”. In understanding the basics, I never thought I’d have to go online to seek out a Beginner’s Guide for this game just to be able to play. Whilst I hate hand-holding in video games, just having a basic Tutorial would help out a lot. But maybe that’s just me? With literally no guide on how to play anything between each Game Mode and entering into Franchise with no tutorial on how to play makes for one of the most confusing experiences I have ever had and I understand the entire lore of Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

The Never-ending Sports Game

Although I have nothing to compare Madden 24 to in regard to previous entries in the franchise, my feelings towards it will remain similar to how I feel about PES and FIFA. With PES 2020 collecting dust in my collection, I will never understand the need to purchase the new version of Madden, NBA, FIFA and so on due to the very little difference between each entry. Technology is pretty much at the point where (depending on the Engine being used) it cannot get much better than what we are seeing. Madden and FIFA have looked and felt the same way as they have for many years and with the knowledge that there are some entries that are both iconic and almost flawless in these franchises – why even purchase the next one? There cannot be much new and “improved” stuff being added and the removal or updates are unnecessary and done purely to make the consumer feel like it’s “money well spent”.

It is similar to the purchasing of the new iPhone year-in-year-out, knowing that nothing has changed really but the screen is a little bigger or it has a higher number in the title that makes people jealous from your ‘wealth’. But Madden provides nothing in the case of bringing anything new to the table. Even its FieldSENSE and Sapien Technology is nothing to write home about as the game is filled with awkward, stiff movements that often resulted in a man floating in mid-air as he is surrounded by the opposition. Madden 24 looks no different to 23 and this is not surprising. With the yearly releases and the need to sell anything to make a ton of cash with its Ultimate Team, EA will continue to release the same game over and over with slight adjustments.

On a final note, I had reviewed this on the PS4 and whilst the gameplay played okay most of the time (ignoring the obnoxious soundtrack as I attempted to create my own Madden tutorial in the Practise Mode), it was only okay. It does not warrant the $69.99 pricing and what’s worse is that on PS4 I did not even get the one thing that I was somewhat interested in – Superstar Mode. That is excluded from Xbox One and PS4 which is a lovely touch to pay the same amount of money for a product but miss a whole Game Mode due to perhaps not having the funds to purchase the next gen console.


Madden 24 is a game that can only truly be played and properly reviewed by those who are experts of the franchise. Whilst I am grateful to have been able to cover the game, I feel as though a true fan of the franchise should have got a free copy rather than myself. With its $69.99 price tag, Madden 24 is a repeat of the last but attempts to escape being called a copy with its newfound technology. But with the players stiff movements that still look and feel unnatural whilst stuttering in their movement upon scoring a touchdown or getting tackled to the floor, Madden 24 still experiences classic issues of strange animations, bizarre physics and stale content from a Developer who has been solely creating this game since 2003. Unfortunately for this year’s release, Superstar Mode could not make Madden what it set out to be but failed – super.

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Hadley Vincent
Hadley is a Freelance Writer for Gamer Journalist. They have been with the company since October 2022. With a BSc Honors in Psychology, Hadley focuses their creativity and passion for Video Games by primarily covering Horror, FPS, and anything with a great narrative. You will often find Hadley covering the latest indie horror games or deploying into Call of Duty's DMZ. They love a good story and one that can keep them up at night, be that for its scares or its lore.