Madden NFL 21 Review Roundup

Critics have weighed in on the latest gridiron action in EA's annual series, and the general consensus is mixed.


Madden NFL 21 is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The latest game in EA's annual football series introduces a few new game mechanics, including an all-new Skill Stick that allows for enhanced precision on both sides of the ball. There's also Face of the Franchise: Rise to Fame, a documentary-style career mode that takes you through high school, college, and the NFL, while The Yard introduces a new way to play. The question is, is it worth your time and money?

GameSpot's Madden NFL 21 review is now available, and it praises the game's new mode, The Yard, while criticizing the lack of changes in other areas of the game.

Other reviews are also rolling in and we've rounded up a selection for you to read below. Critical consensus is varied so far, with the game receiving mostly mixed reviews on GameSpot sister site Metacritic. The gist of Madden NFL 21's reception is that the core gameplay is arguably the best in the series so far, but attempts to add variety are flawed and underwhelming, and the long-standing Franchise Mode continues to be neglected.

  • Game: Madden NFL 21
  • Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Developer: EA Tiburon
  • Release date: August 28
  • Price: $60 / £50 / $80 AUD

GameSpot -- 6/10

"As the PS5 and Xbox Series X loom--PS4 and Xbox One editions come with free upgrades to next-gen--Madden has reached a crossroads. One side of the road is freshly paved and inspired thanks to the shenanigans featured in The Yard, while the other is beaten down and filled with potholes. With far more technical issues than normal and large chunks of recycled content, Madden NFL 21 feels more like an update than a brand-new game." - Steven Petite [Full Review]

Attack of the Fanboy -- 4/5

"Madden 21 as a whole may feel like a bit of a letdown compared to the past few years in some areas, but The Yard definitely helps to make it worth it for players that are interested in trying something a little different. With the free upgrade to the next generation version and the promise of treating Franchise like a live service as the season goes on, Madden 21 is likely still going to be well worth the purchase in the long run, even if you may be left a little dissatisfied at this point." - Dean James [Full Review]

IGN -- 6/10

"Madden NFL 21 is a great example of why competition breeding innovation is a good thing. Without a comparable NFL experience on the market, EA has allowed its marquee sports franchise to fall behind in almost every significant way. In a world where its contemporary sports games continually evolve with innovative new game modes like NBA 2K20's Neighborhood, deep franchise options like MyCareer, MyTeam, and MyLeague in the NBA 2K series, or even the cinematic story mode from EA's own Fight Night Champion--a boxing game from 2011--Madden’s lack of innovation has reached a tipping point. There is no excuse for Madden's stagnation. I appreciate the tweaks to the core gameplay and the chaotic novelty of The Yard, but that isn't enough to make me want to sing its praises." David Jagneaux [Full Review]

TheGamer -- 3.5/5

"Last year's Madden release was one of the best in recent memory, so--at least in my eyes--Madden 21 had a lot to live up to. For the most part, it did so. Madden traditionalists will enjoy familiar game modes (which are all par for the course in their own right) with improved control mechanics, while The Yard adds an exciting element for those looking for something new. The Yard still has room to improve, but, personally, I'm excited to see where the game mode goes and how its long-term placement in the game (and competitive esports scene) plays out." - Sam Watanuki [Full Review]

Game Informer -- 7.75/10

"Those looking for a huge step forward in the EA Sports' football franchise won’t find it with Madden NFL 21. However, despite its lack of major upgrades, Madden NFL 21 is still a mechanically sound and fun football game." - Brian Shea [Full Review]

GamesRadar+ -- 3/5

"This year's game features six distinct modes spanning Exhibition, Franchise, Face of the Franchise, Superstar KO, Ultimate Team, and The Yard, but the breadth of a half-dozen game modes veils a lack of improvements in half of them. Last year, I said Madden was in a rebuilding year, showing promise but not a contender quite yet. With Madden NFL 21, like the perennially doomed Browns, Lions, and Jets, forever seeking consistency in their staffs and stars, it feels like the Madden team needs to hit reset once more." - Mark Delaney [Full Review]

USgamer -- 3/5

"Madden 21's gameplay takes some appreciable steps forward as the generation comes to a close, with The Yard providing some casual fun. The experience is marred by an abnormal number of bugs though, and the single-player modes remain a major sore point. Ultimately, it's able to pick up a few yards on the way to the next generation of consoles, but just a few." - Kat Bailey [Full Review]

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