Game: Madden NFL 17
Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Tiburon
The current-gen of gaming seems to finally be settling into a comfortable groove. Past franchises that have enjoyed a wealth of success and notoriety are now making their way onto more powerful machines. The only football simulator that matters, Madden NFL, is just one of those trusted IP’s. The series has seen a huge jump visually and it’s gradually gotten boosted in quality over the past few years. Madden NFL 16 managed to make great strides towards improving the passing game, doing a much better job with its presentation and rectifying legacy modes. We have arrived back on the field with Madden NFL 17, which is continuing the job of progressing the gridiron action to new heights.
What’s immediately noticeable when you step onto the field is the great adjustments made to the running action. The passing mechanics are still reliable, but now casual players and the more hardcore Madden NFL audience have more opportunities to gain even more yards. Depending on the type of player who’s in control of the ball, you’ll gain a bunch of trick maneuvers that will help get the defense off your back. It feels amazing to employ the swift footwork of a smaller back and employ the types of jukes and spins that destroy the competition.
On top of that new move selection is the visual ball carrier meter. This path assist tool does a great job of predicting your continued movement on the field. When a defensive rival grabs ahold of you, you’re given the option to tap on the designated button that will give you a better chance of wiggling your way out of a tackle. What makes the on-field action even better is the fact that it’s easier to block field goals now. These gameplay additions help build upon the already great features from Madden NFL 16.
All of the modes that have been a part of the current Madden NFL package are still present and accounted for. It’s easy to see that the most attention has been paid to Franchise Mode. The development team definitely took what its loyal players have requested since their suggestions are here. You have access to a free agent agency full of college football players who’re ready to join your practice squad. As the weeks progress, you’ll utilize these players during playable practice drill sessions.
Picking the right approach to the offensive/defensive options for the next team on your schedule adds more strategy to your full season playthrough. When it’s time to actively participate in a season game, you no longer have to play a full hour of football. You have the choice to play nothing but the offensive, defense or big game moment situations. The shorted time length of these season games helps move Franchise Mode along at a faster and more satisfying pace. Also having the power to edit your players and make huge contract signing decisions are some of the other great additions to this mode.
The overall presentation hasn’t taken a dip in quality. It’s pretty damn cool to finally hear a new set of lines from the commentary team of Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis. The Ultimate Team structure is still strong and a joy to make your way through. The solo challenges, online multiplayer matchups and constant custom team building are all still a joy. Draft Champions Mode hasn’t received the same amount of attention and care the other modes have received, though. It remains the same as it was during its last go-round in Madden NFL 16, which isn’t so much a complaint but a slight disappointment. The randomized player pick structure sounds good in theory, but it’s still not a concept that leads to an experience worth playing a ton of. The Fantasy Football features works a lot better with MUT.
It’s easy for longtime sports simulator franchises to dip in quality during an annual run. Madden NFL has managed to stay on a quality level and this ’17 edition is proof of that. The new ball carrier maneuvers, active player path assist options, the higher chance of blocking field goals etc. better the on-field action. Franchise Mode has gotten even stronger and is the most involving mode within this year’s mode lineup. Presentation wise, Madden NFL 17 remains first-rate. Draft Champions doesn’t do enough to improve upon itself and make it worth keeping within the Madden NFL package. Besides that minor con, the pro’s for Madden NFL 17 make it better than expected.
- The new ball carrier maneuvers and path assist makes running down the field way more involving
- The tackle battles add even more intensity to ball movement
- Franchise Mode’s additional features make it more of a complete experience
- Draft Champions hasn’t been improved as much as the game’s other modes