One of my fondest memories as a football fan is Chris Johnson’s 2,000-yard season in 2009. As arguably the fastest player the league has ever seen, the running back forever known as CJ2K was a one-man highlight reel, turning would-be six-yard gains into 50+ yard touchdowns all season long. But if you watch those highlights, you’ll find a common theme: Titans wideout Kenny Britt was so often downfield blocking, creating vital running lanes through which CJ would weave with his unrivaled quickness. Britt is an unsung hero of CJ’s historic season. In Madden 24, it’s been great to find players can now enjoy similarly helpful downfield blocking like never before. This fix to the running game is precisely the sort of tangible improvement I hope for with every new Madden game. But examples such as this are overshadowed by a lack of major additions to Madden’s suite of features and modes.
That improvement to blocking has been a minor bullet point of EA’s marketing in the run-up to release and is known as the Tactical Blocking System, essentially referring to an overhaul of how the AI linemen and other blockers target which defenders to remove from the play. This is easily my favorite new toy in Madden as its changes are apparent and make the ground game, or running after the catch, much more lifelike than before. But the publisher didn’t hype up this change as much as others. Instead, EA buried this highlight behind two returning features: minigames and Superstar mode.
In neither case is their return nearly as helpful or interesting as some of the on-field tweaks. In the case of minigames, I find their return to be uneven at best. On one hand, a full Training Camp simulation that gives Franchise players a faster track to player improvements is at least rewarding, but the minigames themselves range from fun and clever to boring and simple. With bronze, silver, and gold medals correlating to XP earned for the player, it’s worth playing for the XP attached to those awards, but some of the minigames are much better or worse than others.
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