10 Best Madden NFL Video Games Ever, Ranked (According To Metacritic)

Another year, another NFL season is upon us. With that, it means another installment of the great Madden franchise. While there’s little doubt that the series has experienced a bit of a downturn over the last decade, the franchise still generates hype with every single yearly release.

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This year, there’s even more excitement due to the promise of it being a special edition, with having the legend himself John Madden grace the cover. Ahead of the release of Madden 23 next month, let’s look back at the franchise. Specifically, let’s take a look back at what games Metacritic considers the best.

10 Madden NFL 07 (84)

The 2007 edition of Madden wasn’t as well received as its predecessors, but it still earned a solid 84/100 on Metacritic, well the PS2 port did anyway. The game, which had running back Shaun Alexander grace the cover, was the first to be released to the Wii and the PS3.

The port to the former was praised for its unique motion controls. While it wouldn’t be the best port released to the next-gen consoles, it still marked an important game for the franchise.

9 Madden NFL 10 (85)

Madden 10 is the most recent edition of the franchise that will appear on this list. In a rare move, the cover of the game featured two players, Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu. The two had previously represented the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers in the previous Super Bowl.

The PS3 and Xbox 360 ports of the game scored an 85 on Metacritic. The 2010 edition of Madden is mostly known for having the beloved Ultimate Team mode for the very first time. While it wasn’t released with too much fanfare in 2010, it’s one of the most played modes today.


8 Madden NFL 09 (85)

Madden 09 was a solid game that did well to build on the foundation that had been set the year previous. The PS3 edition of the game scored an 85 out of 100, and the Xbox 360 port followed right behind it.

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The game wasn’t anything too spectacular but did well at improving the standard gameplay and franchise mode. However, the game is mostly remembered today because of Brett Favre appearing on the cover of the game, despite being a member of the New York Jets.

7 Madden NFL 08 (85)

Madden 08’s Xbox 360 edition earned an 85 score on Metacritic, with the other edition from the PS3 following right behind it. The game didn’t do anything groundbreaking, but there was still a lot of fun in the game. Especially in the fantasy football-esque ‘Fantasy Challenge’ mode.

The cover was graced by then-Pro Bowl quarterback Vince Young, which was an interesting choice. Madden 08 was a historic edition, as it was the last game to be released for the Gamecube in North America. It was also the last entry to be released for PC until Madden 19.

6 Madden NFL 06 (88)

Madden 06 was the first game to be released for the next-gen Xbox 360, but that edition was admittedly a bit rushed. However, the previous gen editions, like the PS2 installment were rated highly, earning an 88 on Metacritic.

The game’s main special feature was the Superstar mode, which was great. A fun fact about this title is that it’s the only one to feature WWE star, Brock Lesnar, as he was signed to the Minnesota Vikings at the time of the release.

5 Madden NFL 05 (91)

The 16th installment of Madden was very well received. With Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis gracing the cover, it was the last edition to be released on the Playstation, and the first to be released for the Nintendo DS.

The edition didn’t release any new modes, but it fine-tuned the gameplay greatly. The PS2 and Xbox ports of the game rated the highest, as they scored a 91 on Metacritic.

4 Madden NFL 2001 (91)

The 2001 edition of Madden featured Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George on the cover. The running back appearing on the cover was historic, as it was the first time in the franchise’s history that didn’t feature John Madden prominently on the cover.

It was one of the most customizable games to date, as fans were able to make plays, create players, and have custom rules for their individual games. For example, if a player wanted, they could give themselves five downs, and their CPU three. Customization was one of the best parts of Madden 01.

3 Madden NFL 2004 (94)

Madden 04 is not just one of the best games in the franchise, it’s one of the best sports games ever. Gracing the cover was quarterback Michael Vick, who’s in the running as one of the most overpowered players ever in the game itself.

The game’s PS2 edition received a 94 on Metacritic, with other ports following right behind. Furthermore, Madden NFL 2004 was named the Game of the Year at the 2003 Video Game Awards.

2 Madden NFL 2002 (94)

The 2002 edition of Madden was the first to be on the Xbox, and it also featured Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper on the cover. However, the highest score from critics went to the PS2 port, with a 94 out of 100.

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Granted, the other ports followed right behind it. A fun piece of trivia for this game was that due to licensing issues, Tom Brady wasn’t available when the game was first released. However, he was in later editions.

1 Madden NFL 2003 (95)

Madden 2003 is the highest-rated game of the franchise on Metacritic. The PS2 edition of the game got an insane 95 out of 100, with other ports of the game on the Xbox and Gamecube following right behind them.

Running back Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk graced the cover of the game. The 2003 edition had many firsts, as it had a special soundtrack with licensed music for the first time. It also featured Al Michaels as a commentator for the first time and the mini-camp mode.

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