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Madden NFL 17 Review – A Step in the Right Direction
It has taken EA Sports a few years but the improvements made to Madden NFL franchise are praiseworthy. Madden NFL 17 manages to deliver a breath of freshness while keeping the things that fans so dearly love intact. The game is a proof of EA’s continued dedication to making small improvements to Madden NFL franchise.
This year’s iteration brings forth some brand new features, new moves, better animations, and on top of everything – a new commentary team.
Spin moves, hurdles, jukes, etc. have significantly better animations which feel more realistic when compared to earlier iterations. Moreover, there is this huge emphasis on the ground game as opposed to Madden NFL 16 – which is further strengthened by consistent button-pressing mini-game.
Madden NFL 17 Review
Another change is the kick meter. While not too tough to master, this certainly makes kicking a tad difficult to execute. However, with everything else, you will eventually get used to it.
However, if you are looking forward to major improvements, you are in for a letdown. The game looks, plays, and feels largely the same. There are indeed some minor tweaks; but passing game, visuals, play calling remain similar to Madden NFL 16 at large. This is not to say that these minor changes can easily be neglected.
The defense, arguably, has seen the most improvements. Not only the man defense is a tad tighter, the zone defense has improved as well.
You will immediately notice players covering their zones in an improved fashion and catching the ball is not as easy as it used to be in Madden NFL 16. The AI is a whole lot smarter now and anyone going with a zone-based defense will find plenty of options at their disposal.
Another thing that Madden NFL 17 does right is running game and changes made to it. There are not only skill moves, but also a new addition for newcomers in the form of run path assist. While newcomers will find it to be a welcome addition, veterans may find it a mere distraction at best.
As for running back skill moves, they are again a nice little addition. However, unless you are prepared for automatic skill moves performed by running back, there is no point in going for it.
The popular Draft Champions and Madden Ultimate Team are back and feel similar to Madden NFL 16. I can go out and say that there are absolutely no changes to Draft Champions. There is, however, chemistry feature in Madden Ultimate Team.
In all honesty, the Draft Champions did not require any noticeable changes to begin with – which is why I am content with the way it is. The Franchise Mode, on the other hand, has received noteworthy additions.
Those of you who like to rush through the season will absolutely love the ability to only play key moments using Play the Moments feature. You will basically get pop-up notifications when its time for you to hop in.
The circumstances can vary, but this is a good option for anyone who just wants to go through the game as quickly as possible. It, however, goes without saying that this is not the way the Franchise Mode is meant to be played, but then again, each to his own.
There are some community-requested features that made it into the game as well. Some of these include practice squads, player editing, score ticker inside the game, etc. You will no longer have to search player upgrade option in Weekly Tasks.
There is this addition of 10-man practice squad. Moreover, teams can also sign players away from other practice squads into 53-man roster. AI teams have received some love as well! These teams not only make better draft-day trades, but also draft while keeping their needs into account. Gone are the days when you will see a decent quarter-back drafted just for the sake of it.
As mentioned earlier, there is this new commentary team of Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis. While the duo is a minor improvement over Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. Despite high expectations, the voiceover becomes monotonous after a couple of games.
There are a few player-specific lines that are thrown into the mix and some bland one-liners are often fail to force a chuckle. All in all, there were high expectations from the new commentary duo – thanks to past football experience – which somewhat failed to deliver.
Those of you who constantly like to go against other players and hone their skills can try out online play. I am happy to break it to you that online play works really well.
Similar to previous iterations, the matchmaking works really good and the entire experience is as lag-free as possible. The online play , is however, in dire need of fixing random disconnections. Hopefully, this will be fixed when the game launches in a few days time.
Another little disappointment that I have from the game is EA’s poor choice of music. You will not be able to find even a handful of decent sound tracks and will be forced to rely on your own music library.
Despite a handful of minor letdowns here and there, Madden NFL 17 is a proof of EA’s dedication to bringing Madden NFL as a franchise close to an original NFL experience.
Newcomers and veterans will not only get to enjoy everything they loved about Madden NFL 16, but with some much-needed changes that make Madden NFL 17 a unique experience. Suffice to say that the franchise is headed in right direction.
Madden NFL 17 is scheduled to release on Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 on Aug. 23, 2016.
The Xbox One digital review code was provided by the publisher.