Madden NFL 22 Review — Momentum Shift

Seattle Seahawks fans have caused minor earthquakes in the past, such is the raucousness of the aptly named 12th Man. The crowd at CenturyLink Field has also earned two Guinness World Records for the loudest roar recorded at a sports stadium, once registering a deafening 137.6 decibels back in 2014. Of course, Seattle isn’t the only city known for its boisterous fans and intimidating atmosphere, and this is reflected throughout the various stadiums in Madden NFL 22. After criticism that last year’s game was light on new content–particularly as it relates to Franchise mode–developer EA Tiburon has introduced a number of sweeping changes this time around, with the crowd being the most prominent right out of the gate.

The new Gameday Atmosphere feature brings crowds to life with new animations and remastered fan recordings that more accurately replicate what you’re likely to see and hear on any given Sunday. It also extends beyond the cosmetic side, too, as the ball will fly further in Denver’s high altitude, while the wind will play havoc with your field goal team in Chicago. On top of this, the intensity of the home fans will have an impact on the way games can play out. This feature is called Gameday Momentum, and it introduces a momentum meter to the top of the screen that will shift back and forth like a tug-of-war depending on the performance of each team. If momentum is on your side–because of a big sack or crucial touchdown, for instance–you’ll gain access to various bonuses (called M-Factors) that give your team an edge in certain situations. This works in tandem with Gameday Atmosphere to ratchet up the significance of home field advantage, especially when playing in front of crowds known for their vociferousness.

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The aforementioned 12th Man of the Seattle Seahawks will cause the opposing team’s pre-snap play art to be distorted on 3rd and 4th down, turning each receiver’s route into a squiggly mess. Elsewhere, Vikings players will gain a small speed boost in the red zone when the “Skol” chant reverberates around the U.S. Bank Stadium. It looks and sounds a tad gamified on the surface, but Gameday Momentum and Atmosphere are crucial additions that capture the unique fandom of each team and accurately reflect the wild swings in momentum that can occur during the course of a heated football game. It gives rivalries that big game feel and intensifies those drives where the home fans are fervently working against you. The impact of home field advantage in the NFL is tangible, and can often be the difference between winning and losing, yet Madden 22 marks the first time the series has truly emulated such an integral part of the sport.

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