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Madden 21 Face of the Franchise Review - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Madden 21 Face Of The Franchise Review

Madden NFL 21

Madden 21 Face of the Franchise Review - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

When I first heard that EA was going to re-implement a single-player RPG-style game mode a couple years back, the first thing I said to myself was “what took them so long?” The truth is that for many years NBA 2K and, to a greater extent, MLB The Show have successfully created single-player story modes with a ton of RPG elements bolted onto them. 2K leans into the story more than The Show, but the point is both provide hours and hours of content.

Madden started slowly with Longshot and Face of the Franchise: QB1. I would say these were not quite what many had hoped. Longshot was all story more or less, and it was a decent first attempt, but the second year was worse in general. QB1 started off really strong to me, but then it faded very quickly. However, what the hope was here for me was that a foundation was built for the future of Madden. So, how would the Face of the Franchise this year?

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly of Madden 21‘s Face of the Franchise mode.

(Warning: This article may contain light spoilers.)

Madden 21 Face Of The Franchise Review

The Good


Like most NFL draft prospects, it’s not about the players they are in the present, but what they can become with the right coaching and development. That’s the same way I feel about Madden 21‘s Face of the Franchise.

To have the option to create your player and work his way from a high school prospect to NFL superstar seems like a winning formula. EA must now continue to implement new and exciting ways to keep folks engaged.

Allowing players the opportunity to change positions this year is a much-needed change. And the additional storylines added are excellent as well. However, I would eventually like to see each position trigger its unique storylines and objectives.

High School

Last year, users were thrown right into the action at the collegiate level. In Madden 21, EA is going back a little further in your player’s development, starting with your prospect’s early years in high school.

Players can name their high school whatever name they’d like, which is a double-edged sword as you might imagine. Nevertheless, being able to start your career in HS is nice. This also allows players to pad their stats on rookie difficulty.

40-Yard Dash And Press Conferences

It seemed odd that EA wouldn’t find a way to add the most prestigious drill at the combine into last year’s game, but we were forced to wait. Well, the wait is officially over. Now, your created player can try to break John Ross’s record and show a team like the Raiders you belong in the NFL. Hopefully, we’ll see a few more combine drills added in the next generation of Madden.

There’s also a pivotal press conference that will help NFL teams get a better feel for what type of player you are off the field. All of this is an excellent addition.

The Bad

College Football

Without another NCAA game on the horizon, EA continues to keep players guessing with their use of collegiate teams in Madden 21. But what remains most frustrating is that they have failed to implement even a basic version of the NCAA here.

I mean, there are already NCAA teams in the game. Why stop at just a few games at the collegiate level? Why not expand and give gamers a bit more time to make an impact at a respected university before making the jump to the NFL?


When playing Face of the Franchise, the primary objective is to create a legacy for your create-a-player. So, as you’d expect, having good options to make an accurate representation of yourself is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, this is one area where EA falls exceptionally flat.

Not only are most of these models the same ones that have been regurgitated for many installments, but most of the options fall flat and left me yearning for more.

It also doesn’t help that there’s not a single long hair style in the game. And for someone that has long, flowing locks like Troy Polamalu, this is a letdown.

Here’s to hoping EA adds more layers and an inevitable face scan (one day Game Face will return) in the future.

The Ugly


There were many issues with QB1 last season, but one of my biggest gripes with the new game mode is the story. Yes, I understand there needs to be a story to keep gamers interested, but adding a tragic health risk is probably not the way to go about things.

Madden 21 Face Of The Franchise Review

Truth is, I would probably prefer a story mode where a promising young prospect embraces the competition of becoming the team’s starting QB. I also think giving users the opportunity to befriend teammates and make more decisions both on and off the field that impact the outcome would be welcomed additions here.

Again, I think there are some positive things to build on. But overall, EA’s attempt at a football story mode has left me and many others wishing for more.

Classic Franchise Mode

I know EA received a ton of backlash for the lack of time spent on “classic” franchise mode this year. But as I see now with Face of the Franchise, once you make it to the NFL the mode quickly shifts from a “meh” story mode to a franchise-lite mode.

Could this change as Madden gradually churns out updates to franchise mode? Maybe. But for now, Face of the Franchise appears to be nothing more than “classic franchise” mode with a decision-riddled prequel.

There has to be a foundation for Madden’s single-player game mode. However, I would like to see it stand out on its own and become more like NHL’s Be A Pro or MLB’s Road to the Show.

Madden 21 Face Of The Franchise Review – Bottom Line

I wanted to feel differently about Face of the Franchise. There were times when I’d put the game down or start over in an attempt to take a new approach. But at the end of the day, this mode missed its mark wide right once again.

Someday I believe it will all come together for Face of the Franchise. But for now, it’s nothing more than a late-round prospect with tons of warts and room for improvement.


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  1. Completely agree. The story is awful and not really engaging. Playing high school and college on rookie difficulty doesn't make any sense at all. The story which is supposed to be branching and shaped by your decisions is surprisingly linear.
    Sent from my LM-G820 using Tapatalk
    I know everybody likes different things, but I have never understood the appeal of these modes. Just watch a crappy C version straight to DVD movie instead.
    Honestly, I’m enjoying it. The story is truly laughable but I like I can jump on for an hour, super sim defense and run through a game or two and be halfway through a season. Playing 2-4 games a season has been fun for me. There could be tremendous improvements though.
    The author of the write up was extremely generous.
    While most of the parts I agreed on him with the section he labels as "The good" really are laughable.
    I think it just a very poor job. There couldn't have been panel reviewing or QA
    The glitches/hangs in cutscenses, to the horrifically terrible story line, & finally to scenarios that really don't make sense nor do they create a truly long-lasting immersive experience. Its a let down and slap in fast when looking at the progress of other sports title RpG's
    The gameplay results don't effect story scripts that in itself already is a complete immersion killer.
    Seen a video where a guy had his team at 14 wins and they had a "win & your in" scenario he lost and his team missed the playoffs at 14-2...
    Agree also with the CAP editor. I have a major gripe with no long hair features on create a player when 35-40% of the league has hair outside of the helmet and most presumably dreadlocks like myself.
    And when looking at all the years of Longshot and FoF all its elements 3-4 years they really haven't met any standard expectations. But if they were all added together which out some features being alienated.. then possibly we would of had a decent game.
    Add those elements into franchise would have made the mode a trillion times deeper and gave it a solid foundation goin into new gen.
    Things like
    : Draft day presentation
    : a playable combine (as a player) watchable as a coach
    : film study for preseason and training camp
    : NfL awards skill comp (air force base passing game in NFL environment)
    :college and high school back stories for prospects combo cutscenes & scenario engine
    : Locker room talks for wins& losses or player turmoils or pep talks (scenario engine tie ins)
    Just how the outcome options for your paths in FoF they should have the same thing for actual contract negotiations (Up - offer/ask for more money, (left - want/willing to counter) Right - stand ground on offer)
    Down - accept contract
    But EA literally makes the thinnest least involved game possible while abandoning as many concepts that they can while monetizing the license.
    We are way way to lenient on a company that has been making the same simulation game for 25 years+
    They absolutely do the bare minimum and its been 15 years since we even got a complete on par with the market sport sim from them.
    Sent from my SM-G965U using Operation Sports mobile app
    FOTF is broken in my game
    The skip cutscene button disappears often and i'm stuck on one game because it won't let me SIM because it's missing from the playbook UI
    I didn't play Madden 21(waiting until next gen) but I watched a lot of videos since I assumed next gen version would be the same. As someone who likes career modes, the approach Madden has taken since Madden 18 isn't the way to go. The interactive movie approach isn't something people want. It's trying to take a similar approach to 2k. But the storyline in MyCareer isn't what makes the mode popular. It's the online aspect of the mode that makes it popular. Since 2k18, the primary story mainly just lasts until the player gets to the NBA. They don't have to take the predictable cliche story. I still feel if they took the PS2 Superstar mode approach, that'll be better. They just have to find a good online aspect to make it popular.
    After watching a lot of videos, I just don't care for the storyline. I feel that when these sports games that takes a heavily scripted story line, your actions don't really matter. I don't really care for the condensed NFL career. Storyline seems so scripted at times that it negates realism and what actually happened in season
    If FoTF is the same format for next gen, I won't even bother with it

I like video games and the miami dolphins.

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