By Patrick Tedder
You are reading the review of a Super Bowl winner. That’s right; I took the Redskins back to glory in the most realistic and best Madden video game that I’ve played yet.
From top to bottom, Madden NFL 17 is next-generation football video gaming. Graphics are predominantly top notch, often good enough to fool someone into thinking they’re watching a televised game if they walked past a flat screen in a store. Rarely do the graphics and flow of the game feel more real than in past years.
Of course, none of this would matter much if the game wasn’t fun to play, and it is. Player movement has advanced from its arcade roots and gives you the feeling that you are in control of a real athlete. If you’re playing as a superstar, you’re going to feel it. If you’re playing with a scrub, unless you have incredible talent, you’re going to have a real uphill battle against an adaptive A.I.
Franchise Mode has been all over the place in terms of quality. This year, it’s nearly perfect, letting you play as a team owner, star player or player / coach / GM. From trade negotiations to running drills that enhance your team, you’re pretty much in control of anything and everything you want this year. EA is looking out for player’s experiences. You can play a 60-minute experience, or just the offensive plays or “big play moments.” Don’t feel like doing that? You can setup your team and simulate games without having to play a down of football. Lastly, every down you play can lead to bonus experience that will upgrade each player on your roster. Do well and you’re rewarded.
If Franchise Mode was all that was included, I’d be a happy camper, but there’s more. Build your “Madden Ultimate Team,” EA’s version of collection trading cards that equate to a virtual team and rewards. Open a pack and get a signature Cam Newton card and like that, you’re playing with your new prized possession, using your collection to take down tests and real game scenarios that have happened in previous years. It’s addictive and a creative way to keep folks playing, not mention giving gamer’s the option to buy packs of virtual cards with real money (something that never seems unfair, but certainly must help out EA a little bit).
So what’s not to like? Not much. The game isn’t without flaws though. Commentary never ceases to get stale, and there are times where it just doesn’t make sense. However, as if anticipating this, at random times when I log on, EA is updating something, whether it be player information or commentary that will help make the dialogue feel more diverse. Any minor issues appear to be getting constant tweaks behind the scenes.
If you don’t like football, then I doubt this will make a difference. It might be a good introduction, but this is at its most fun when you enjoy and know the sport and thankfully it’s currently the best in the business.