Madden 17 Review
As another season is set to launch for the NFL we see the release of the next instalment of EA Sports Madden franchise. People have long groaned about the yearly release of sports games with the worry of few new advancements within each release, making each year feel more like a roster update. Last year it seemed that Madden 16 was a step in the right direction with the major introduction being catch upgrades. However aggressive catch felt like a press button to win inclusion. To be fair there were more upgrades and Madden has continuously tried to improve, question is; has it this year?
I can say the answer is a massive yes this year. Madden 17 has possibly improved more than any other sporting game in memory, and it seems as though this year the additions are for the better. There is a seemingly massive amount of change to Madden, yet all of our favourite core elements remain. So what are these changes you ask? Let me begin with gameplay changes.
This year EA has concentrated on two major components to the game of football, the run game and the defence. After last year’s upgrade to the receiving game I was yearning for a defensive update to level the playing field. Defenders now have much better coverage and there has been the introduction of a swat button to try to battle against the aggressive catch. It makes a contest feel more realistic and gives either player a chance to win out with timing and skill. There are eight new types of zone to play and the inclusion of force defenders who try to keep side line runners inbounds as to keep those seconds ticking, adding more strategy. Players can also have gap assignments to stop the run which will be handy this year as running the ball has received a massive overhaul.
The controls whilst running the ball have been reinvented. When using your backs now gives you a huge opportunity to gain yards, creating a much more varied approach to offense. L2 is now used for finesse moves such a combining with circle (PS4) to spin and triangle to hurdle tacklers. Holding L2 whilst moving right or left performs precision jukes making defenders miss tackles and pushing up or down on the right stick makes the runner tuck the ball giving less chance of fumbles on hard hits. The new system is shown via training mode and makes the game feel more complex, deeper and much more realistic. I found myself yelling “Hi, I’m Emitt” whilst tucking the ball and Within the run game there is also tackle battles, these are based for both offensive and defensive players to compete, again a well-timed button tap can complete or break a tackle charging through defenders, knocking them on their ass and continuing runs many times.
Another aspect that has gained depth is special teams. Faking punts now gives many options and actually works sometimes. On defence you are now able to (apparently as I fail every time) block field goals and punts if timed correctly. These are also shown via training but blocking kicks is extremely hard. There is also an all new kick meter. Well technically it is new, at least to Madden, but if you have played any Tiger Woods games before you will know the meter well. It is a three push system, once to start, once for power and a final time for accuracy. It is a much needed upgrade.
In addition to gameplay upgrades EA has introduced Play the Moment mode. This is possibly the game’s greatest addition and one that is well overdue. You are now able to choose to play games in Play the Moments mode which cuts out all the boring plays and has you play the ones that matter. It is reminiscent of NFL Redzone for those who watch it on a Monday morning, snapping from Touchdown attempts to 3rd down defensive plays. It makes the games fast paced and action packed.
Franchise mode has had a much needed overhaul too. Each week you are given a heads up on what your opponent has been playing like in regards to play style and you can specifically train to attempt to prepare better. There are many more options in regards to player contracts and also attribute building. It feels more complete than ever before and is quite a compelling experience.
MUT or Madden Ultimate Team is back again as is Draft Champions. However Draft Champions has expanded with more variety of challenges and now some require tickets that can be bought or found in packs. Overall MUT seems improved again. Styles this year are replaced with chemistry, get players with the same chemistry and the whole line gets a boost.
The presentation has been upgraded again as has the commentary. Commentators this year are Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis who are known for their College sports broadcasts. Better yet there are frequent updates to install for up to date commentary that make the opinions feel fresh as it evolves with your gameplay. It is more beneficial than anyone would realise making the game feel much more authentic.
Overall Madden 17 is a huge upgrade for the franchise with each of the new features and additions building on what is a solid sports franchise. There are still a few minor hindrances with open receivers still somewhat likely to dropping passes but these are less than ever before. Also being a Colts fan I am appalled at my beloved Andrew Lucks rating. I know he was injured most of last year but damn that is harsh. Madden fans rejoice, as Madden 17 feels as fresh as the L.A. Rams, but much better in game.
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