Is Madden 17 special, or is it just a roster update? Check out our Madden 17 Review.
Electronic Sports released Madden 17 a few weeks ago and now its time to dig in and give you our view of the most popular football game in the world.
Madden has always been a powerhouse of a game for decades. It always seems to do a great job with adding new features each year without compromising on what has made it a great game over the years. If a feature didn’t work out, they scrap it the following year. If it works out, it becomes a permanent feature for years down the road. Lets dig in and see if this years game is something special, or if it’s just a roster update.
Madden 17 has always been pretty good visually. This year is no different. And when I say it’s no different, I mean it’s no different. Madden 17 looks the same as last years game. Granted, the players have helmets on most of the time, you can still see the faces under the helmets. Some players look great, but others look nothing like the real person. In my opinion, technology has come way to far to not go the extra mile. 2K has facial scans for almost every player in the NBA 2K franchise. Madden should have taken a page out of that book.
I have spent most of my time so far playing Franchise Mode. Starting out in this mode, I elected to fire the current coach and replace him with a created coach. I have done this every year and every year is not much different from the last. There is nothing better than seeing your created coach pace the sidelines during the game. Sadly, you will soon find out that your created coach looks like everyone else. There are customizable options, however, the options are pretty minimal. You select from a hand full of faces, body types, and skin colors and you’re on your way.
One place where customization shines is for the players themselves. From helmets to towel placement, Madden 17 has got you covered. While I didn’t spend much time customizing my players, I do tend to customize my top draft pick. Got to keep them looking fresh when making the big plays right?
I know I spent most of this time talking customization but if you enjoyed Madden 16, you will have no issues with Madden 17. Me on the other hand, would have liked to see more customization as well as more activity from the fans. Fans holding up signs and going crazy in the stands would have been a great start. This was one of the things where the NCAA franchise shined. Seeing the stands shaking during the game, watching the jets fly over the stadium during the National Anthem are what makes the experience feel more real. I think that Madden missed the boat when it came to these little details. In fact, the same Super Bowl cut scene is the same as Madden 16. That’s complete laziness as far as I’m concerned. Each game should have its own unique cut-scenes, especially the Super Bowl celebration.
What Madden lacked graphically, was made up on the gameplay side. EA Sports did a great job making sure the players themselves played like the real person. In last years version of Madden, every player was able to jump up and grab a Odell Beckham one-handed catch. In Madden 17, players play to their actual strengths. For instance, Alshon Jeffery uses his height to catch a lot of his passes while Ty Hilton uses his speed. If your offensive line isn’t up to snuff, your running back will have a long day as well as your QB.
One of the first things you will have to do when attempting to play Madden 17 is to adjust the settings. The default settings are flat-out horrible. I have never seen so many dropped passes by wide open receivers. At first I thought that the receivers were dropping passes because I was playing with the Bears (no disrespect). I switched over to Antonio Brown and Larry Fitzgerald and it appeared to be no different. Quarterbacks also have it rough, They tend to fumble the ball every other hit, even when its clear that the hand is going forward when throwing the ball. I’m sure a patch of some sort could be implemented to resolve some of these issue.
EA Sports did a great job with Franchise mode this year. We appear to have more features that puts us in the heart of it all. Decision making is welcome addition when it comes to bringing a player back early or weighing your options between cutting a player and adding him to the practice squad. Madden 17 also puts more of an emphasis on player progression. Instead of progressions being an option you can venture into after or before the game, its right in your face after the game. You can still bypass it but why would you want to. You also have to simulate or play the training mode before you can play a game. The great part about it is that you would not need to replay the training if you are satisfied with the medal achieved.
Madden 17 also introduced Play The Moment feature. With this feature you can play the key moments of the game, play only on offense, or play only on defense. It cuts the gameplay in half. If you enjoy managing the team more than actually playing the games, this is a great feature to have. I ran a few games with Play the Moment and it ran beautifully. You can jump in and play the game at any point you feel that things are getting out of hand.
Madden implemented a new play system that calls out the buttons you should be mashing to perform a move at the right time. So instead of playing the guessing game on whether to spin or juke, Madden 17 will give you the best option to maximize your gain on the play. It’s a great addition to the running game. Blocking kicks and punts are similar but a little harder to pull off, and that’s a good thing. It at least keeps players engaged knowing there’s a chance they could come away with a big play. In my gameplay, I was able to block a field goal and return it for a touchdown. It absolutely made my day.
And of course, there is commentary. It’s no secret that commentary has been awful for at least the last decade. No duo has seem to come close to getting it right since John Madden himself. EA Sports has tried changing up the commentators every few years to find the right balance and has never seemed to get it right; Until now. Gone are Phil Sims and Jim Nantz. Now we get a fresh take from Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis. Right off the back, these two appear to have pretty good chemistry.
Speaking of fresh, this years commentary will also get updates as the real season goes on. While you will still get a lot of repeats, its nice to know that you may receive some new content every few weeks to break the repetition.
On the down side, you still get treated with commentary that sometimes doesn’t match the situation. I found multiple times that the crew would talk about things that didn’t happen, such as, when a team starts a new drive, the commentator would talk about how the team went for it on 4th down on the last possession, but team clearly punted the ball away. Madden 17 could have made things better by adding the created player names to the commentary vocabulary. There is also no side line commentator this year. It would be nice to know during the game how banged up my injured player was. So while the commentary is much improved, it still has a way to go.
While a lot of things have stayed the same, Madden 17 introduced a few new things to keep gamers engaged. I have been playing Madden since 1999 and I have to admit that this may be the best version since the hit stick was introduced in 2005. This years Madden game found a way to be great for beginners without compromising what long time fans enjoy. It’s not a perfect game by any stretch of the imagination, but for the first time, in a long time, I feel good about the future of the franchise.