Madden 21: Early Previews for 'Rise to Fame' Mode and More Anticipated Features

Jake RillSenior Writer IAugust 26, 2020

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs out of the backfield against the Tennessee Titans during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press

Last year, college football fans were excited when a select group of schools and the College Football Playoff were implemented into Madden 20's Face of the Franchise mode. And while it's still not a full college football video game, Madden 21 built off those additions in this year's Face of the Franchise: Rise to Fame mode.

It all starts in high school, where your user-created player takes over as the starting quarterback for the football team. From there, users guide their player through national signing day, parts of a college career (for one of the 10 schools included in the game), the NFL Scouting Combine and eventually into the NFL.

There are a lot of exciting components to the mode (albeit the storyline is a bit cheesy at times). This year, it's also possible to switch your player's position to either running back or wide receiver late in your college days, if you don't feel like playing quarterback all the way through your career.

However, IGN.com's David Jagneaux highlighted one of the ways that Face of the Franchise could still improve.

"Playing NCAA games again, albeit briefly and fragmented, was a real treat—except that nothing matters," Jagneaux wrote. "You can intentionally tank every game and not complete a single pass, yet still get drafted because off-screen you lit up the scoreboard."

At this point, there's also no way to change the games from rookie difficulty during the high school and college portions of the mode. Perhaps that will be changed in a patch (EA Sports is planning a day one update when the game is fully released Friday), but as of now, it's easy to put up points and thrash the high school and college competition.

Another new feature in Madden 21 is the addition of a game mode called The Yard. Like MyPark in the NBA 2K series, users can create their own avatar to then take into 6-on-6 backyard football action, either online or against the computer/friends.

Not only is The Yard a fun addition with the NFL Street-type gameplay it brings to Madden, such as trick plays and some unique rules, there's also a ton of customization available for avatars, which should only expand throughout the game's lifespan.

With an 80-yard field, no quarters or time restrictions and no kicking, The Yard is a fun bonus addition to Madden 21.

"The closest comparison would be that it's trying to emulate how you may have played football with friends at school during recess, with fluid rules, lots of movement and everyone lining up on both sides," Jagneaux wrote in his review.

Madden NFL 21 @EAMaddenNFL

Swag out with all the moves in The Yard #Madden21 https://t.co/AkswHzrRkh

There are some gameplay modifications in Madden 21, and although there are no huge feature additions, the changes have made for a smoother overall experience. The pass-rushing mechanics and offensive skill stick are both user-friendly, while animations such as players reaching for the end zone add to the realism. And the user-controlled celebrations are a nice bonus.

One of the biggest negatives of Madden 21, though, is the lack of new additions to franchise mode, which has long been a favorite for fans of the game. If you played franchise in Madden 20, then you should know what to expect this year as it's essentially the same game mode with a slight visual makeover.

All in all, Madden 21 has some strong new features (The Yard, gameplay adjustments). While Face of the Franchise: Rise to Fame has fun moments, it probably doesn't need to be played through more than once to enjoy them.

This year's game should bring plenty of fun with the gameplay and new features, but there are still things fans will want to see added to career and franchise modes to make future editions better.