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Madden 21 Beta: The Most Positive Takeaways

Madden NFL 21

Madden 21 Beta: The Most Positive Takeaways

What are the most positive takeaways you had after playing the Madden 21 beta?

Josh Houtz: To say I was pleasantly surprised with the Madden 21 beta would be an understatement. Graphically, the game looks fantastic. And the time EA spent to improve presentation does not go unnoticed. Now, players will interact with their teammates and coaches on the sideline. Then, of course, there’s the new celebration system. To my surprise, it is not incredibly over-utilized and only allows players to celebrate at the right moments.

madden 21 beta positives

But for me, the gameplay upgrades stood out most.The right stick finally feels responsive and allows players to cut and move like they should. Playing defensive line feels improved, and the new pass-rush additions make the battle in the trenches a little more critical if you do decide to spend your time usering in that area. Running backs also seemed to wait patiently for a hole to open and felt like their real-life counterparts.

However, my favorite of all of these improvements came in the passing game. Quarterbacks can now make throws while being hit, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Connecting on a crucial pass on third down that in previous games would’ve triggered an animation and resulted in a sack was rewarding. But I also had so many throws go wrong. It all depends on the timing of the hit.

Overall, Madden 21’s beta had more than I expected to like, and from a gameplay perspective I’m more excited now for the August 28 release than I was previously.

madden 21

Kevin Scott: I found a lot to like about the Madden 21 beta. First up, major overhauls like how the new pass rushing mechanics finally give you more control in the trenches to some of the finer details like the way running backs now are able to catch screen passes without losing all of their momentum stood out here.

But to me, the best thing about the beta was the way that the animations have been refined to be more fluid and realistic. There aren’t nearly as many awkward herky-jerky lurches from players or unnatural movements where bodies twist and contort in ways that seem to defy physics, especially during collisions. This improved movement is especially apparent when trying to make moves with ball carriers. Jukes don’t feel like as much of a “now you see me, now you don’t” magic trick as they were in ’20. Instead, they now feel more like a dynamic but organic change of direction.

As a whole, it feels like it’s more integral to use your entire arsenal of moves and also use the right move for the right situation. At the same time, it also feels harder to consistently pull off these moves.

Now thanks to a change in controls, I just have to remember to not hurdle when I’m trying to truck for that extra yard.

TJ Henderson: There were two things that really stood out to me. The first was how interesting it suddenly was to play defensive line. By adding a set number of possible attempts and returning pass rush moves to the right stick, there was an element of intensity there that simply hasn’t existed in a long time. On some downs, it may actually become a viable choice for many players who have been locked on middle linebacker for years.

The second came at the end of my final game where I won with my receiver catching an out route a couple of yards from the end zone. After making the catch, he had the presence of mind to stay in bounds, turn around and get low underneath a tackle as he reached the ball over the goal line to break the plane. It was a ‘wow’ moment.

We’ll have another roundtable later today discussing the biggest negative takeaways we had after playing the beta.


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  1. Good read. End of August can't get here soon enough for Madden 21. Hopefully EA polishes up the tackling & doesn't cave to changing the slower movement & weight feel.
    I agree with a lot of what they are saying. When speaking of the positives, I do agree that the cuts look and feel good as do most movements in the game now. I am a big fan of the locomotion in the game at this point. It's the best Madden has felt since the PS2 days to me and it easily rivals NCAA 14 which I know many here on OS hold as the golden standard for movement in EA games. I think it moves a tad slower than NCAA and players feel like they are grounded more as well, but that is all in a positive manner.
    I also think that the new animations that I spotted look really good. The new tackle animations that I saw were smooth and looked like real football tackles, not a couple of amateurs trying to recreate a tackle like a lot of the animations in the game are like.
    Graphically the game remains impressive, but that is never a worry with EA games. If there is one thing they nail consistently across all of their series, it is the visuals.
    Those are the areas I was the most impressed with. I think the locomotion is so good that it makes me sad the game is surrounded by so many other areas that need work. The same can be said for the animations. If all of the animations in the game were at the level of quality as the brand new animations, Madden would be a very good game to me.
    If you enjoy the series these days still, if you enjoyed 19 and/or 20, then I think you will be happy with 21 based off of what I saw in the beta. You can see there is progress being made in areas for the better. Whether you think the progress year to year is enough is another story, but what has changed on the field has changed for the better in my eyes.
    I had almost the same experience with the wow moment reported about the receiver reaching over the goal line. I had a catch on the sideline and the receiver twisted in midair, layed out, to get around a tackler and dive into the end zone! I admit it was impressive and something I had not seen before. I think I also had something to do with it, as I moved the stick to the left and turned it to try to evade the tackler.
    Player speed and Change of Direction (COD) rating were my tops behind the options to adjust zone depth. The latter will need some adjustments, for one, adjusts either carried over from one Play Now game to another, or they reset to zero randomly.
    I felt the speed and COD assisted in making the game more believable to the eyes by reducing warping and suction effects.
    I thought the zones were a little loose compared to M2M coverage. I don't want zones so tight that passing is a chore. I am fine with looser zones as long as the Matching zones follow logic and don't get glitched out.
    I still noticed CBs turning the wrong way based on safety help and/or positioning. I did like how CBs looped around to catch a hard breaking WR as opposed to trying to stop and change direction.

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