Maximum Football will have long-term appeal for 2 types of fans

The Maximum Football open beta is available on Steam. There are two powerful F’s for this: Free and Football. Based on these two things, I highly recommend everyone to try it.

Head over to Steam, search for Maximum Football, and download the open beta if you have access to it. If you played the game during the Doug Flutie era, you will immediately see the improvements across the board.

I played it last night for a while and came away with the title I chose for this article and some key takeaways.

I’m going to list them because that’s how I processed the information after my session.

  • The visuals and animations have improved significantly from their previous state. Player models are no longer an eyesore and physics-based animations have also been improved.
  • These elements are still inferior to Madden 24 and EA’s upcoming soccer games.
  • The game menus take some getting used to, but they offer enough variety to let you execute whatever you want with the controller in hand.
  • The playbooks likely won’t have the depth we’ll see in College Football 25 or Madden, which have likely upped the ante on that front.
  • I don’t know if additional comments and presentations will be added, but as it stands, this is another area where you can see improvements. However, this pales in comparison to EA’s titles.
  • From a customization standpoint, Maximum Football looks set to offer the most expansive suite of options we’ve ever seen in a football game. Due to EA’s licensing constraints, they will likely never be able to keep up in this area. However, College Football’s Team Builder is a big step in the right direction. If EA reveals that Madden also has Team Builder, the gap between it and anything Maximum Football produces in this area narrows.

Based on these takeaways, Maximum Football will only have lasting appeal for two types of football game fans.

Fans who aren’t willing to pay for Madden will be attracted to Maximum Football because it’s free.

It was great for Maximum Football to be a free title.

This removes a ton of development pressure and allows the team time to evolve the game without feeling such an immediate need to justify its price.

By releasing the game for free, the title can be presented as a cohesive work in progress and the community behind it can become invested in its development.

The chances of increasing the hardcore community around the game are high since the developers have committed to incorporating community feedback with every update before and after launch. They also promised that the game would always be free, which is obviously an inviting concept.

If you are a soccer player who is reluctant to spend on games, a free way to play will always be appealing. Even if you play Madden, you’ll probably try free football just to test it out.

Unfortunately, Maximum Football falls far short of College Football 25 or Madden 25 in this area (remember, I’ve played all three), and there’s no reason to believe the gap will close any time soon.

I evaluate games using three very simple but overlapping concepts. I call this the LIT assessment, which stands for Look, Immersion and Touch. How good is the game on your screen?

The Look concept is not exclusive to realistic visuals. Excelling at this simply requires the game to be visually pleasing, regardless of the art style.

Immersion: Based on everything the game offers, how well can it immerse me in its world or help me create an alternate universe? Immersion is the best category in Maximum Football due to its customization suite; I can create my brand of football without as many restrictions as you’ll have in Madden or College Football 25. but I’m less and less convinced that this will provide as much of an advantage over Madden and College Football 25 as it did before. Upcoming versions have been released.

Touch is all about gameplay. Does it feel good to play? Is there an addictive game mechanic that I love playing over and over again?

In MLB The Show, hitting the baseball – especially a Perfect-Perfect connection – is one of the most rewarding individual mechanics in any sports video game. A perfect hit stick or juke is close in EA’s soccer games. Pulling off damaging combinations in EA UFC is this game’s version of an addictive mechanic.

From what I’ve seen in all games, Maximum Football’s Touch value won’t compare. It’s just less LIT than EA’s soccer titles.

Fans who hate EA will be motivated to support and stick to as much football as possible

Pure hatred is sometimes the most powerful fuel. Some gamers passionately hate EA and all of its soccer products.

Some users have YouTube channels whose content is primarily designed to criticize EA’s soccer games and support any title that might provide some semblance of competition to the Madden juggernaut.

I also loved NFL 2K and All-Pro Football 2K8, so I partly understand that feeling. However, I do not consider wise business decisions against businessmen and women.

That said, I hold developers accountable for creating games that uphold LIT values. Madden has been stagnant for almost a decade, and it stings.

Over the past three years, we’ve seen a resurgence and there’s reason to believe Madden 25 will build on recent improvements. If this happens and my enjoyment of the game continues to increase, would I still be willing to play a subpar soccer game to continue my grudge against EA?

The answer is no: I want to play the best soccer game available and I’m willing to pay $100 a year to do it. Other football game fans may feel differently. This group will be even more attached to Maximum Football, visibly improved but still significantly inferior.

I hope Maximum Football continues to improve and become a viable option in the world of virtual football. However, nothing I saw or played in the game made me less excited about the return of college football and the release of Madden 25.