Madden 24 Superstar Mode Review - A Yard Short (2024)

Madden NFL 24

Madden 24 Superstar Mode Review - A Yard Short (1)

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Josh Houtz

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Madden 24 has been out for a few weeks now, and as always, the opinion of this year’s game will fluctuate depending on who you ask. I’ve enjoyed my time with the game, and I believe it looks and feels as good as any we’ve seen in years. However, whether or not I continue to allocate my free time to play Madden depends on how detailed the individual game modes are. And for me, no game mode has piqued my interest more over the last several years than EA’s attempt at a story mode. And, to be clear, this is not because I have loved what EA has done with the mode the last several years — because I have not. I’m talking about the potential.

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So, when I heard that EA was bringing back Superstar mode, I knew it would be one of the first things I’d try out — hoping to finally get a football single-player mode like we’ve seen in other popular sports video games. With that in mind, here are my impressions of Madden 24’s Superstar mode.

(This article contains spoilers)

What I Like

The Build To The Draft

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Introduction To Madden 24’s Superstar Mode

The first thing you do in Superstar mode is create your character’s name, select a position, and appearance. Next, you’ll be introduced to the brand new Madden Cast, which reminds me of the old Tony Bruno Show I once loved. Instead of a radio show, this is more like a talk show with a cast featuring Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder, and Fred Taylor. Superstar mode begins with the trio discussing your prospect and what they must accomplish at this weekend’s combine. Crowder is not a fan of your character, which they will refer to from time to time as Cap.

Next, you’ll see your character walking around the lobby, where you bump into your agent. She says she wants to help build your brand, but what you do and say on and off the field will ultimately impact your draft status. You then go into your hotel room, which will have several different tabs where you can keep track of your superstar’s attributes and upcoming tasks. There’s even a social media feed with clips and videos about forthcoming events on the right side. Here, they showed an outside shot of Lucas Oil Stadium during the combine. It was neat, but as you’ve seen, the franchise ticker can be wild, to say the least.

This is all done exceptionally well, and I’d like to see more of it in future iterations.

The NFL Combine Is Back And More Realistic Than Ever

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The last thing you’ll need to do in Indy is participate in the NFL Combine. But before you begin your on-the-field drills, your character bumps into the official Madden rating adjuster, Chad Ocho Cinco, who asks how you’re feeling and what your rookie rating will be. Here, you can guess between three different options, which will trigger a response from Ocho. I predicted a 75 overall, and he laughed it off. But he let my character know he’ll be keeping close tabs on him throughout the weekend. And that with the proper workout, I could enhance my player’s rating.

The NFL Combine was my favorite thing that stood out to me in Superstar mode. Yes, we’ve seen it before in sports video games, but something about how EA returned to re-invent many of the drills adds a real sense of realism. No, I’m not sprinting during the 40-yard dash, but having the back triggers (L2 & R2) act as your legs as you try to run gracefully in stride or when trying to do the bench press is fun and challenging. Thankfully, EA lets you retry as many times as you’d like. I definitely used it a few times in the long jump and bench press.

For those wondering, the combine drills appear to be the same for every position. The only difference is the on-field drills. These will vary between each position but look no different than some of the mini-games. Here’s a list of the five different drills your create-a-superstar will have to participate in with a brief description.

Bench Press

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This one took a few tries, but I admittedly tried to do it with a sleeping baby, and when you’re trying to push the L1 and R1 triggers simultaneously, it’s a lost cause. Again, kudos to EA for implementing these different drills and making them feel as immersive as possible. But come to think of it, they can probably take it even one step further with the PS5’s controller.

Broad Jump

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With broad jump, you mash the X button to build up power, and then, when prompted, you flick the left analog stick in the precise direction. It’s similar to what you’ll see in the 20-yard dash but may take a few times to master. Tez White nearly jumped off the page, so I was happy. It’s a minor gripe, but I wish they would’ve added the high jump, especially for wide receivers.

40-Yard Dash

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We all know how important this is regardless of what position you’re scouting, and it’s no different in Madden 24. This may take a few tries to master, but basically, rotating between R2 and L2 acts as running, and then when you get towards the end, you hit X to dig deep. Speed kills in football, and doing well in the 40 will mean a lot towards your draft stock.

20-Yard Shuttle

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The 20-yard dash is easy to do — unless you’re like me and used the wrong joystick to change direction. So, as with all of these drills, make sure you thoroughly read the instructions. In this case, the task is to press the right button rapidly and then, when prompted, flick the LEFT stick in a specific direction. And remember, it’s completely normal if it takes a few tries.

On-Field Drills

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The 40-yard dash and other drills are nice, but the on-field drills make or break a prospect, and that’s how it feels in Superstar mode. These are mini-games that test your superstar’s strengths at their specific position. Being a quarterback was a breeze compared to trying to run the perfect route as a running back or wide receiver. Overall, these drills are awesome, and like the mini-games, are perfect when you just want to jump on and mess around with the game for a few minutes.

Getting Drafted On The Big Stage

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After the NFL Combine, your agent will ask if you want to participate in media day, but they assured me it would not hurt my draft stock if I said no. I chose yes, and I have to be honest, some of these multiple-choice questions made you think and weren’t easy to do on the spot with a timer slowly starting to wither away.

Questions ranged from where the ball gets placed after a touchback to trying to figure out math like what is the number of points awarded for a field goal + the number of teams that make the playoffs. Or a touchdown + 2-point conversion + field goal. A few others were even more difficult, but I thought it was a nice added touch. I got 8 out of 10, and based on the few different superstars I’ve created, I believe it impacts your draft stock and where you will get drafted.

Lastly, you’re in the green room with your agent, who tells you she has connections to Coach Prime. Deion Sanders says he’ll help you throughout the season. You’re then asked what you want to work on during the season, becoming a “specialty player” or more of a “well-rounded” talent. I chose well-rounded and then later specialty, but I’m not entirely sure how that impacts your player throughout your career. After deciding what type of player I wanted to strive to be, you’re drafted. The phone call finally comes as you sit next to your agent and Coach Prime, followed by a cool montage that shows some clips of you walking out on stage, posing for photos, visiting with the media, boarding a plane, meeting the coaches, and then, of course, signing your rookie contract.

Superstar Showdown

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As someone who enjoyed playing The Yard (when I had the time), I think the way EA implemented it into Superstar mode was the right approach. And whether you’re looking to hop online and play three vs. three or solo against the computer, there’s plenty to do in Showdown mode to build your superstar up. There’s also special equipment and abilities you can find in the store to make your player stand out. If you’re looking to pay to win, there’s that option, too, but that’s not wise after you just dropped $70 on the game. Still, I could see myself doing this in my spare time and especially with friends.

Regardless, we just want a new NFL Street game.

What I Dislike

Welcome To The Big Leagues

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Game Flow And Other Minor Gripes

I thoroughly enjoyed playing as a wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs in my second go-through as Tez White. But one gripe I had was the game flow. I’d run six or seven plays, and the opposing team would have the ball for at most one minute when simmed. Even if they scored, it seemed like the play clock needed to be tweaked to keep things realistic. Additionally, there were also a boatload of interceptions — some of which were probably my fault for calling for a pass, but four or five weren’t. Tone this down and figure out a better way to simulate the time when you’re not on the field, and there’s potential.

Replay Factor

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This may sound bad, but while I love the combine and everything leading up to the draft, playing through Superstar mode can be frustrating and lose its charm quickly. As Chase discussed in a recent article, Connected Franchise still leaves much to be desired. Mini-games give the mode a little bit more replay factor, but for the most part, everything becomes repetitive after a few seasons. Each week is the same repetitive thing where you try to build your brand with pointless tasks. Now and then, you’re asked questions or tasked with something else to do, but when playing through Superstar mode, the goal to land in the 99 overall club seems further and further away.

Lack Of Customization

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I’m not even sure if it’s worth pointing this out anymore, but every year I feel let down by the lack of customization options in Madden 24. It always seems like the same hairstyles and faces when trying to figure out the perfect look for your character. There’s usually nothing new outside of the equipment you can wear, and even that is becoming stale. I wish they would implement some type of face scan like we’ve seen in other sports games or an adequate creation suite.

Bottom Line

The return of Superstar mode has been bittersweet. On one hand, I like what EA did with the NFL Combine and how realistic the on-field drills can feel. Even answering questions at the podium was challenging and added a unique dynamic. Unfortunately, after you’re drafted and start the “franchise mode” portion of Superstar mode, everything reverts to what has frustrated gamers for the last several years — Connected Franchise. Superstar Showdown is a nice touch and a welcomed change of pace, but I still want more when trying to build my player’s legacy.

There’s still work to be done, but for Madden fans who have craved a single-player game mode that could rival those we see in other games like Road to the Show and Be a Pro, Madden 24’s Superstar mode takes a step in the right direction by re-imagining the NFL Combine. Unfortunately, once your pre-draft story is complete, everything feels much of the same.

A yard too short.

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About the author

Madden 24 Superstar Mode Review - A Yard Short (22)

Josh Houtz

I like video games and the miami dolphins.

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