For sport and video game fanatics, the release of Madden NFL and NBA 2K sparks a wave of excitement each year. This year, MSU sports fans specifically have an extra reason to be enticed.
Madden NFL 21 and NBA 2K21 have both incorporated MSU into their “Face of the Franchise” and “MyCAREER” modes. For each game, you can create your own player and have him play as a Spartan during their college career.
“My favorite mode, like a lot of people, is the MyCAREER mode,” junior Laith Mihyar said about NBA 2K21. “One of the really big factors for me for this game was the ability to play as MSU, and I’m sure a lot of other Spartan fans are really excited about that too.”
Michigan State joins UConn, Florida, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, UCLA, Villanova and West Virginia in NBA 2K21 for the choices players can choose from to play at during their time in college.
Madden 21’s list of college teams you can choose from includes MSU, Texas, LSU, Florida, Oklahoma, Clemson, USC, Oregon, Miami and Nebraska.
While some Spartan fans are ecstatic that they can play as their favorite team, the game has also left some longing for what once was.
For sophomore Aaron Embrey, though, just because you can play as one of these teams doesn’t make the game any more enjoyable. Embrey, like many others long for NCAA sports games back, the last of which was NCAA 14. The college football game still has a cult following in 2020 and gained more attention as Barstool's Big Cat decided to create a coach on the game and stream it throughout quarantine.
“It’s not what we want pretty much, as people who play sports video games,” he said.
Embrey said he’d rather have a recreation of an NCAA football video game than to play as college teams in Madden 21.
“NCAA 14 a lot of people really like, and the Madden games nowadays people don’t really get on board with,” he said.
And the reviews speak for themselves. For Madden 21, most of the 10,578 Google users who reviewed this game gave it one out of five stars. Metacritic gave it a 63% approval rating, and Imagine Games Network (IGN) gave it a 6/10 approval rating.
David Jagneaux of IGN wrote in his review for Madden 21, “Incremental changes and a flashy new mode can’t hide a stagnant transition year.”
NBA 2K21 has faced similar scrutiny. Of it’s 3,282 Google respondents, the majority also gave it one star, while Metacritic gave it a 69% approval rating, and IGN gave it a 6/10 approval rating.
For both games, reviewers cited glitches with the gameplay and too many similarities with previous year’s versions as reasons why their scores this year weren’t higher.
Mihyar said he was disappointed in how NBA 2K21 misled its audience in thinking that this year’s version of the game would be different from previous year’s games.
“For the price they were charging and to rebrand it as a whole new game, it really didn’t live up to those expectations,” he said.
Madden 21 was released on Aug. 28, and NBA 2K21 was released on Sept. 4. According to each game’s website, both range between $60 to $100 to buy.
Despite the added gameplay and college experience, the games have left players, once again longing for more.
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