Now I know that Clinton Bowman has already done a review of EA’s Madden NFL 16, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have a second set of eyes on a title. The full video review is linked below, and if you are unable to watch it for some reason, I’ve added the whole transcript after it.
Game Name: EA Sports Madden NFL 16
Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Publisher(s): EA Sports
Developer(s): EA Tiburon
Release Date: Available Now
That’s right; it’s time for some FOOTBALL!! The NFL season has officially begun and so has my yearly tradition of waiting for the SuperBowl so I can get drunk before 10am! Also it’s the yearly edition of Madden NFL with its roster updates and changes. Now there’s nothing wrong with that formula, especially when the changes make it better for players of all experiences.
The thing about my experience with Madden are a few games of the Madden 96 game on Super Nintendo, which is downright primitive compared to today’s offerings. I also played NFL Blitz on Playstation One but that’s a completely different set of teeth to knock down Running Back’s throat. I did however; play Madden 25th Anniversary Edition two years ago for a whole week before regretting it due to how complex it seemed to a newbie like me. So the ease of access that is Madden 16 is a very welcome change for me.
Although, the method is which Madden introduces its new changes to the play system, is so amazingly hilarious that I’ve replayed it several times just because I know I’ll never see it in reality. Cardinals vs Steelers in the Superbowl? Give me a break! We all know it’s going to be the might Seahawks returning to the hallowed turf for a third year running; and if all goes right, it’ll be against the Patriots so we can avenge that TERRIBLE final play of Superbowl 49.
But I digress; it’s this amusing scene where you are introduced to the new playmaker mechanic, something that gives you more direct control over how you pass, receive, and defend. Since today’s NFL is more passing based, there has been a bunch of new pass types added to the game. You have the Bullet Pass, Lob, Touch Pass, High throw & Low throw. Each pass has its uses in the game. Bullet, Touch Pass & Low throw are easy for short game, Lob & High throw are the long bombs. Of course on the other end of the pass is the receiver, who has the options of Run after Catch, a tighter Possession Catch, or the amazingly flashy but risky Aggressive Catch. All of these are tied to a single button each, and make the game more fun, and doing things like intercepting the ball or running a tight pick from an unaware receiver all the more accessible.
On the defensive side you have three options too: Play the ball, Play the Receiver, or just tackle the ever loving crap out of whoever has the ball. Playing the ball gives you a chance at an interception, playing the receiver will have you taking down the receiver to spoil the catch, and as usual tackling is so bone crushingly satisfying that you’ll want to go for the QB sack as much as possible.
By now, you’ve probably noticed that this game looks AMAZING. The amount of effort that has been put into the presentation makes this like playing a broadcast on ESPN, complete with Papa John’s Pizza commercials and everything. The players look amazing and will move very realistically, especially when tackled by either a single defender or a group. Sometimes you might notice a leg going to snapping point or the ragdoll happen weirdly, but nothing is perfect. But this game comes close.
Now anyone who has played Madden in the past knows it’s all about the modes; well this game doesn’t disappoint. You have Connected Franchise mode, in which you play as either as a player, coach or owner through a whole season. You also have the option to play online with friends in a private or public league environment. You’ll spend games making specific goals happening per game and over the whole season to gain experience, confidence and other things. I know I’ll be happily playing through the career of new Seahawks QB… Me! During my time with a small private online league with friends. I did find a problem with using the created player in this mode though. It seems that if you don’t find some way to instantly get yourself to an 85-90 overall stat base, you’ll be throwing nothing but interceptions and dropped catches because the AI in the online leagues is brutally punishing to the point of rage quitting.
A new mode this year is Draft Champions mode. In this mode you get to live out your fantasy NFL league. You’ll draft your team through a system of picking from a pool of three players for 15 rounds, and then play as them through a whole season trying to take your team to the Superbowl. Along the way you can make trades and all that stuff. It’s like the stats based online leagues you’ll play on the web but instead of just looking at stats, you get to play the games yourself and have more control over the outcome. This mode looks to appeal to the more knowledgeable NFL fans that know stats and stuff… I do not, so this one is scary for me.
Of course, the main meat mode for this game is Madden Ultimate Teams. This runs a lot like Draft Champions with you getting cards representing players and you create a team with them, then taking the team through a season, earning coins by completing games, practice drills, replaying classic NFL moments and more. You spend the coins you earn on card packs to increase your pool of players, playbooks, coaches, uniforms and stadiums to choose from. Of course you can also buy points to buy the packs with too, and given that you barely make a few hundred coins per achievement you complete, it looks like EA would prefer you to spend actual money on points. The prices of the point aren’t too bad with $2.25 Australian being the price for enough points to buy a pack, but I personally don’t like that type of thing, but a lot of people love it.
You also have an extensive skills drill mode that helps you play better in the game. However it’s not something that needs to be completed in order to play. However I do recommend that you play the “I’m new to Madden” one just to get yourself familiar with the basics and the new mechanics before jumping into the main game modes.
Overall, as someone who has only been an NFL fan for the last few years and a recent newbie to the modern Madden games, I can say that this is probably one of the most accessible versions of the game in recent years. The game feels like every game is a big game and the presentation is top notch. If you’re curious about Madden or were on the fence about dropping full price on another yearly rendition of the game, I suggest you do so. If you’re not an NFL fan, then of course this isn’t going to be for you.
A great game to be sure, but it does punish those that are new the the series even though the level of entry is at it’s best in years.
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