It's only natural to expect praise for the annual sports heavyweight. But this year seems especially interesting—it's the game's second year on next-generation consoles and, besides the expected year-to-year improvements, promises upgrades to one of the most beloved modes in the series—franchise.
With our review live, let's step back and take a look at some of the most notable expert reviews out there to get a feel for how Madden NFL 22 stacks up to prior releases.
Anthony J. Nash, Windows Central
While much attention has focused on upgrades to modes like franchise and Face of the Franchise this year, one of the most quiet, albeit bigger changes comes on the field itself.
Madden NFL 22 works overtime to change up how each game feels thanks to features dubbed Gameday Momentum and Gameday Atmosphere.
At Windows Central, Anthony J. Nash had huge praise for the momentum feature in his unscored review:
"Gameday Momentum, much like its name suggests, is an addition that brings with it changes to the ebbs and flows of how you're playing. While homefield advantage has always existed in sports games, Madden NFL 22 tweaks this a bit with the addition of a new Momentum Meter and unlockable perks called M-Factors (Momentum Factors). These M-Factors are similar to how X-Factors exist in the game for specific players, but only for the 32 different stadiums in the NFL. Now, how you play in the game will either add or subtract from the the Momentum tracker that appears above the scoreboard. Each stadium also has its own unique M-Factors, ranging from playart not showing up to the buttons for receivers no longer appearing if you're performing too poorly."
It's not just a fun addition to the gameplay; it's one of those that should make onlookers wonder why it hasn't been done earlier. Fighting an opponent for space on the momentum bar is just another wrinkle to gameplay that makes the overall experience more enjoyable.
Similar story for the complementary atmosphere feature. The advantages given to the home team aren't too powerful, but they are realistic. More importantly, they help each game (especially during a 17-game franchise mode or something) feel different.
Mark Delaney, Games Radar +
As fans have come to expect, Madden NFL 22 continues the tradition of offering up as many game modes as possible to as wide of an audience as possible.
In his review-in-progress at Games Radar +, Mark Delaney offers up a take on those:
"Beyond Franchise, Madden 22 returns the same eclectic suite of modes as last year's game, usually with some appreciable differences, such as more cosmetic rewards in The Yard, a new half-decent story in Face of the Franchise with a new linebacker option, and the everpresent upward ramp of slightly better visuals, commentary, and presentation than the year before. In each case, the changes all feel peripheral to Franchise's focused fixes."
It's a little akin to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being able to re-sign everybody after a title win—an embarrassment of riches.
Over in Face of the Franchise, players can enjoy a single-player campaign with some interesting stories and possibilities. It's not without faults, but it's a fresh-feeling experience. Progress gained by a player's Avatar there gets shared with progress made in The Yard, the quicker, arcade-inspired mode that lets players globe-hop and play a campaign, too.
Then there's the collection-frenzied mode that is Ultimate Team, plus typical staples like online play and, as many fans might suggest as the most important mode of all, franchise.
Brian Shea, Game Informer
After seemingly going largely ignored for years while the game focused on other things like Ultimate Team, fan protests and online movements saw EA Sports start to add in features for franchise during last year's game.
And now EA Sports has kicked it up a notch with new feature additions for the beloved mode.
The additions are a big part of Brian Shea's in-progress review at Game Informer:
"Franchise mode also introduces some noteworthy improvements, including new skill trees for four coaches on your staff. I also like the weekly game planning that grants boosts depending on which strategies and focuses you choose for offense and defense, as well as the ability to decide how intense you want practice to be in the lead up to the game. It's still not the full step that fans wanted going into Madden NFL 21, but with all of the changes from last year's post-launch updates added in, plus a promised scouting update tentatively scheduled for next month, the mode is slowly getting there."
On one hand, the additions don't feel too different from features already present in say, EA Sports' NHL title. On the other, it's certainly nice to see a fan-favorite mode get some serious love.
And the love simply adds more depth and immersion, so it's hard to complain. Giving RPG-lite skill trees to the coaching staff is a fun way for a player to spend time and points. And different game plans on a weekly basis centered on the traits of the upcoming opponent is a nice touch, as is needing to manage the nature of practices (full pads or no), which has an impact on health and in-game stamina.
As Shea says, the mode is slowly on the right path, but it's worth circling the upgrades in red ink as a highlight of this year's game.