Madden NFL 17 Review
Madden NFL 17 is the new iteration of Madden and like all the Madden games before it is a video game version of the sport so many of us love. The game starts with another version of Madden’s opening scene this time with the player playing as the newly moved Los Angeles Rams pushing the team to their first victory in the Wild Card Round of the playoffs. This is yet another pointless opening scene, much like the various versions of the Cardinals vs Steelers Super Bowl where you actually just have to play though it once to get to the actual game. It is kind of dumb and serves no real point.
As for the game the first thing you notice is the commentators. Much commotion has been made about the switch from Phil Simms and Jim Nantz making it the second commentary change in less than 5 years. That said the new commentators are a breath of fresh air. Brandon Gaudin, a Georgia Tech play by play guy, and Charles Davis, a Fox Sports analyst, take over the commentating and for the most part are fantastic. They actually talk about the game going on in front of them and the situations, and as of a week after the launch at least one new strain of commentary has been adding highlighting Madden’s attempt to add new commentary each week to the game to keep it fresh.
Most notably I noticed to interesting bits of commentary the first when Cam Newton fumbled the ball and the commentators talked about the notable moment in the Super Bowl where he failed to dive on a fumble that could have lost the Panthers the game, and a more recent piece where during a Ravens game the commentators talked about how the Ravens stopped during a preseason game as the whole stadium watched Michael Phelps, a Baltimore native, fight for gold in the Olympics. This is the sort of stuff that is not really seen in games today, and it is a vital change to the game.
Beyond the commentary there is some new gameplay elements. The most notable being the new tackle battles. These are basically quick time events where a running back runs into a tackler and the two fight, the running back to break free and the tackler to make the tackle. The player(s) is prompted to quickly hit one of the four symbol buttons to quickly break or make the tackle. It is an interesting change that puts the tackle in the hands of the player, and allows you to break or make more tackles.
The other notable change is the return of blocks on field goals and punts, and the more variety of ways to fake field goals and punts. These two really go hand in hand as the fakes are used to counter act the blocks as it were, it is still really unlikely that you can get a block against a friend or a computer, but it enables you to have three options to run at a kicker and try to get the block. In easy mode it is relatively easy to do so, but on the harder difficulties it is somewhat of a stretch to get a block. For the offense there are a lot of new fake options including tosses both back and forward to the kicker, to run or to pass, and a sweep pitch option. This makes it easier to fake, or to surprise the defense with a fake, but the success rate is still not too much of a difference from the real NFL.
There have also been some minor tweaks to the game, the running game has been revamped allowing players to run easier and better than they have in years, pass defense has been changed so that the offense is not favored as much. There is also changes to the kick off games with the onside kick mode changed to allow the kicker to aim, though the onside kick is still hardly successful, the kickoff allows for squib kicks, with punts and kickoffs allowing you to sky the ball and punts allowing backspin to avoid touchbacks. Also the kick meter has changed from a right stick pushing game back to the hit the x at the right spot on the meter mode, which changes it a little, but is basically the system that was prevalent on old maddens.
For those that are looking for a platinum the platinum is relatively easy, it is a little bit time consuming. For the most part all of the trophies are attainable within maybe 10 hours of gaming. At the time of writing I am one short of the platinum, but the final trophy I need will be easier to obtain once players and throwback players are added to the draft champions mode. All of the other trophies are relatively easy to obtain if you know what you are doing.
Madden 17 in the end is probably a better game than Madden 16 with the game moving towards a more realistic style with the offensive and defensive battles being aligned more to how the game mechanically works in real life. As a whole it is still not perfect, but does a much better job than other recent iterations. 8.9 out of 10.