Get ready to hit the gridiron in Madden NFL 24, the latest instalment in the long-running football series. Developer EA Tiburon has made plenty of enhancements in key areas of the gameplay formula. Improvements in animation, graphics and player AI offer a greater level of authenticity and realism to each play. Overall, this is the best on field experience the series has to offer, delivering more realistic and immersive football. Madden 24 makes meaningful changes to core gameplay but only incremental gains off the field with minor upgrades to its game modes. In my review of Madden 24, I’ll explore all the new additions, key gameplay changes and more. Let’s open the playbook and discuss all that NFL 24 has to offer.
Madden 24 details
Madden 24 gameplay improvements
This season, Madden 24 has the biggest overhaul where it counts most with moment-to-moment gameplay additions. NFL 24 boasts upgrades to the FieldSENSE system, which enhances the control and realism of throwing, catching, and tackling. Along with this new animation system has been implemented with the SAPIEN skeleton. The all-new SAPIEN technology looks amazing on the field, and I’ve noticed a big difference in how the players look and move. Player models have been redesigned to capture more detail in their appearance and movement. Just keep in mind the core gameplay changes in FieldSENSE and SAPIEN are exclusive to next-gen platforms like the Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC. Overall, in my playtime on the Xbox Series X, I have found the animations are much smoother and more natural.
Madden 24 add more “weight” to hits
The animation system now factors in player size, weight, and strength, resulting in more fluid and dynamic interactions on the field. For example, you can see large defensive players scoop up smaller offensive players by the legs and slam them down, or wide receivers dive for spectacular one-handed catches. There are still animation hitches that crop up the odd time, but animations are greatly improved over NFL 23. This is the best, most natural looking Madden game yet, and it also has more football IQ added in as well.
A deeper playbook
NFL 24 also improves the AI of quarterbacks, ball carriers, blockers, and defenders. This makes them smarter and more responsive to specific situations. I found myself far less frustrated with decisions my CPU teammates were making, they were far more in tune with the play. Many ball running quarterbacks like Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes now closely mirror their real-life counter parts. I found both QBs in Madden 24 react to and run plays like they do in a critical gameday situation.
Madden mini-games return
Madden 24 also includes the return of the beloved mini games. The mode has been on hiatus for 12 years, last appearing in Madden 12. Thankfully they are back with 26 different challenges that test your skills in various aspects of football. These include game types like Target Passing for Quarterbacks, Rushing Attack (for Halfbacks and Fullbacks) and Field Goal Accuracy for Kickers. What’s more is that these also connect to modes like Franchise and Training Camp helping you to upgrade player stats in the league / mode. The mini games can be a lot of fun, but it would have been great to see certain modes not repeat as often. They can get repetitive after running the same task repeatedly. Outside of that, they are a welcome return to the Madden 24 package.
Franchise mode upgrades
Madden 24 introduces some new features and improvements to Franchise Mode. These include an increased amount of trade slots, more cities and uniforms for relocation, and an improved free agency and draft system. To help keep up with trades in the NFL, Madden 24 has doubled trade slots from three to six. You can also customize your coaching staff and assign them different roles and abilities. Franchise mode also has a new scenario engine that generates dynamic events and stories based on your performance and decisions.
The road to 99 in Madden 24
Another mode that makes a comeback in Madden 24 is Superstar mode, where you can create your own player and build your legacy in the NFL. You can choose from five positions: quarterback, halfback, wide receiver, linebacker, or cornerback. The mode also lets you customize your appearance, attributes, skills, and personality. There are two sub-modes to choose from: The League, which is an offline career mode that takes you from the combine to the draft and beyond. There is also the Showdown, which is an online mode that lets you compete with other players in various events and challenges.
Madden 24’s graphics and performance
Madden 24 is powered by Frostbite 3 engine, which delivers stunning graphics and realistic physics. The team has added enhanced lighting, shadows, textures, and weather effects that create a more immersive gameday atmosphere. Snow looks great tracking player’s footprints and other on-field movements in the powder. However, not everything is perfect in Madden 24’s graphics department. The game still suffers from some glitches, bugs, and performance issues that can affect the gameplay experience. It has been improved quite a bit over Madden 23, but some problems persist. I encountered clipping and missing textures during my time with the game. It’s not a dealbreaker by any means, but it does pull you out of the experience time to time. In addition to this, Madden 24 has inexplicably long loading times in the game’s main menus and in play calling selection. Outside of these issues Madden 24 is still the best-looking football game to grace next-gen consoles and PC.
Cross play debuts in Madden 24
This year, a much-requested feature finally arrived in Madden 24 with next generation platform cross play. In NFL 24’s case, cross-play allows you to play online with or against players on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S. It will work with specific modes in online Head-to-Head, Madden Ultimate Team, Superstar KO, and Superstar Showdown. My experience with cross play has been great so far and I was able to connect with players on the PS5 seamlessly. Unfortunately, cross play is not supported on the PS4 and Xbox One currently, so keep this in mind.
The sound of football
Madden 24 has realistic sound effects that capture the intensity and excitement of football. You can hear the crowd cheering or booing depending on the situation. The game also features commentary from Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis, who provide analysis and commentary on the action. It would have been great to have the commentary cast expanded, as lines did start to get recycled often. NFL 24 features a diverse soundtrack that includes songs from various genres and artists. Some of the notable names are Jack Harlow, Wiz Khalifa, Marshmello, and French Fuse. Overall, the audio adds in a positive way to the Madden experience whether in the menus or the environmental sounds on the field.
Final thoughts on Madden 24
Madden 24 has improved gameplay mechanics that make it more realistic and enjoyable over last year’s iteration. In addition to great graphics and new animation mechanics, this is the best-looking Madden football experience yet. However, NFL 24 is not without its flaws. The game still has some technical issues and long loading times that can pull you out of the action. On the upside, there are some new additions to game modes like franchise, but Madden 24 feels like a refined version of last season’s entry rather than a completely new experience. If you’re looking for a football game that will keep you entertained for hours with solid football fundamentals, Madden 24 will tick all those boxes. NFL 24 scored a touchdown with gameplay refinements this year, but it would be ideal to see more in the way of expanding upon different modes. Overall, I can recommend Madden 24 if you are looking for a football fix this season.
Overall Assessment of Madden 24
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 3/5