Another year and another iteration of Madden NFL Football. Every year Madden fans wait in anticipation for the end of August so that they can get their hands on EA sports newest Madden release, hoping that this will be the year Madden will finally provide the complete package that we so desperately crave. Madden NFL 16 was a huge strive forward towards this goal and Madden 17 really hits the mark as a complete football game. Madden 17 improves on all of the gameplay enhancements from Madden 16 and adds in additional tweaks that really add to its realism.
If you played Madden 16 the big improvements came by way of the passing game. Finally, receivers were able to choose how they would catch the ball and they would make more realistic adjustments to the football when it was in the air. Although this was a huge enhancement, there were still tweaks that needed to be made. Madden 17 makes these adjustments while refining the running game at the same time. Firstly, receivers now finally adjust properly when they are running a route and approaching the sideline. You can now throw the ball to a receiver who is approaching the sideline and be confident they won’t misplay it because they aren’t aware of where they are on the field. Secondly, receivers will now come back to the ball and attempt to get open after running their initial route. This is something that greatly improves the realism of the game. Constantly in the NFL quarterbacks buy time because their receivers were unable to get open on their initial routes. They wait until they find a hole in the defense to target their receiver. You can now do this in Madden and fans will really enjoy this gameplay addition.
The second big gameplay improvement comes from the running game. You now have to strategically pick your holes on running plays, as well be patient before using the turbo button. This meaning you can’t hold turbo the entire time during a running play like you used to do in older Madden’s. Now it is imperative to potentially watch the play develop and then burst through the holes the offensive line creates for you. It is much more realistic to the actual real life game. On top of that, there is a new special moves system that allows you to do certain moves such as spinning, juking or trucking the opponent to keep the play alive and fight for those extra yards. They have also made the running game feel unique for each team. For example, run heavy teams such as the Minnesota Vikings, will give you a much different feeling in the run game than a pass heavy team.
EA also didn’t forget about the defense in Madden 17. There are a plethora of small defensive refinements that were made. A few of the key ones that really improve the defensive side of the ball are defensive gap assignments and an overhaul of your defensive AI. The defensive gap assignments really help in playing the run. Now your linemen and linebackers are assigned to certain gaps to stop the run. This means they don’t all run to the ball carrier when the ball is snapped but rather survey their gap and watch for the runner to switch direction. Secondly, your AI defensive players now actually will adjust to the offense that is shown. Previously, when you select a play they stayed glued to their pre-set position but now they will adjust to the best position based off of what the offense shows at the line of scrimmage.
There are a few nagging annoying parts of the gameplay that can’t be overlooked. Firstly, Receivers still drop the ball far too often. This can be fixed by adjusting the gameplay sliders, but out of the box, it is frustrating. Secondly, quarterbacks will fumble the ball when being sacked all the time. Many times it looks like it shouldn’t be a fumble because the quarterback looks like he was making a throwing motion. This is something I believe needs to be looked at and fixed in a future update.
Madden 17 offers all the game modes that we know and love with nice improvements to the franchise mode. Franchise mode is more enjoyable than ever. Franchise mode allows you to take your favourite team and control that team on the field, the business operations, or both. What really enhances the Franchise mode this year is the improved XP and training system, and the choices you have when playing each game. Before each game, you get to choose drills that your team does in order to gain XP and improve your players. These drills are usually based off of your game plan and the strategy you will employ against your upcoming opponent. The drills are quick but fun and you see how the XP improves your player’s skills. In previous Madden’s I would just skip over these drills but now I play them because I can see and feel the results on the field.
The play the moment’s feature is a great addition in the way that you play each game each week. Instead of playing the entire game you can choose to just play the key moments such as a red zone possession.
Madden 17 brings nice improvements to the on-field presentation. There are a bunch of little things that are welcomed additions such as a score ticker when playing franchise games. The ticker lets you keep an eye on what’s going on around your league. They also improved the player interactions on the field and the statistical overlays during the games. However, by far the best part of Madden 17’s improved presentation is the new commentary team of Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis. Finally, we have a commentary team that makes relevant commentary on the events occurring within the game. They bring insightful information based off of previous statistics or previous games, and it is really refreshing. The commentary is also updated weekly so every week you will hear references to real life events that occur in the actual NFL.
Quite simply, Madden NFL 17 is the best Madden game to date. The adjustments in the offensive and defensive gameplay mechanics really improve the realism and enjoyment of the game. The revamped presentation gives you an authentic feeling of a Sunday NFL matchup. If you are new to Madden this is a great year to jump in, and if you are a veteran you will really appreciate this year’s iteration.
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