VIDEO GAMING

Game review: Madden NFL 17 is a blast for fans of American football

The 28th edition of the franchise brings new features and old favourites, maintaining the high quality fans have come to expect from this venerable title

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2016, 6:03pm

Madden NFL 17

EA

3.5 stars

Madden NFL 17 is the 28th edition of one of gaming’s most popular sports franchises, one of the most consistent and reliable in gaming history. As expected, this latest edition of Madden is full of upgrades and new features.

Franchise mode in Madden 17 (for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360) has been overhauled – and it is amazing. I love the new Play the Moments option. This allows you to just play the important sections of a game. This became my favourite way to play.

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From kick-off to the final whistle, I was able to complete a game in 12-15 minutes, all without feeling like I missed anything important. Of course you can still play an entire game if you want. Or, you can play just on offence or just on defence. It all depends on your mood and how much time you have.

Franchise mode also has incredible depth. This is due, in part, to new features requested by the Madden community. League commissioners can edit players, keep track of league action through a live score ticker and sign players to a practice squad.

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I particularly enjoy how much more player management I can do if I so choose. As a coach/GM you can focus on the development of certain players, review trade offers or make some of your own, work the cap, scout college prospects, re-sign key players and even prep your offensive and defensive game plan to account for opponents’ tendencies.

There are many other tweaks and refinements that might be hard to notice at first but make a big difference in gameplay. Aside from new ratings-based skill moves, animations and improved ball physics (tipped passes are much more dangerous), players will also notice improvements in how defenders play run gap defence and zone passing coverage.

Other changes are much more noticeable. Kicking is now done with a three-click metre. I found this added more realism, particularly at the higher difficulty settings. The dialogue feels fresh, timely and appropriate to what’s happening on the field. It’s also less repetitive.

While I loved the new features in Franchise mode and many of the game’s upgrades, Madden 17 isn’t without flaws. Draft Champions, a new mode last year, has returned but is basically unchanged.

While Draft Champions remains enjoyable, Madden Ultimate Team took a step backwards. MUT is littered with micro transactions, the returning “chemistry” system doesn’t add anything to the game, and Ultimate Moments, a major feature from last year that let you play big moments in league history, is gone.

Although the absence of Ultimate Moments is a significant loss, Madden 17 is a blast to play. The depth and options in Franchise Mode and the attention to detail EA has put into small yet important factors make it a title I won’t put down anytime soon. If you’re a football fan, you’ll get your money’s worth with this title.