EA Sports is back at it again with another installment in the Madden series. This time around the title has listened to the community by finally delivering on features long promised, rebalancing special teams, and return of Ultimate Team and Draft Champions. For the third straight year, Madden NFL 17 is a blast to play.
Franchise Mode Is The Best It Has Ever Been
With enhancements in presentation, dramatic improvements have been made to Franchise mode, where players have the ability to take over a team, coach the sidelines or dominate the field as your personal created player. Franchise mode has cleaned up some of the bugs featured in last year’s installment, making it easier to maximize your team’s cap space, while constructing the best team that suits your play style. This extends to the NFL draft where teams are now drafting out of need, instead by base overall. If you’re a small market team that can’t afford to sign marquee free agents, this is where your regular season will season record will live or die based on how you draft in the first three rounds.
Franchise mode has incredible depth. This is due, in part, to new features requested by the Madden community. League commissioners can finally edit players; keep track of league action through a live score ticker and sign players to a practice squad. You have the freedom to build your dynasty and go on that road to your first Super Bowl. It gives you the chance to build a bond with your customized team, by participating in team scrimmages that game plan for upcoming games on your schedule (a feature that was in previous installments, but now more intrigued into the experience).
The Recommit Towards Special Teams
One of the biggest improvements is EA sports focus on the third phase of the game, special teams. Playmakers now have the ability to shoot the gap in the open field when returning a punt or kickoff. Before this phase of the game was often neglected with special teams due to players not providing enough space to break a big plane. This often resulted in me going for 4th down and not worrying about losing field position. But now that’s changed for the better.
These advancements have made their way to the run game, making it the most accessible Madden in recent years. On offense and defense, EA Sports has made an effort to teach players what play styles work, or won’t against. This is a great tool to teach players how to read formations jumping out of the huddle, and knowing when to make your bets on the defensive end of the ball. It might seem like small feature, but it will new players to jump into title’s esports community.
The aggressive catch wide receiver feature in last year’s installment it back again, how this time its been scale back to give defenses a chance. On the defensive side of the ball there have been a ton of tweaks and refinements that improve zone defensive, and how aggressive they’re playing run gap defense. Cornerbacks and safeties will make every attempt to tip passes, which instantly causes an incompletion. Throwing a pass now into double coverage more often results in a pick 6 going the other way with the momentum shifting towards your team.
New Team, Same Problems
Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis are first time commentators for the Madden brand. While it’s fresh to hear new voices enter the booth, the pairing have zero chemistry between each other and lines tend to become repetitive after the third game. It mutes the realism and it becomes distracting from what’s going in the game. Making matters worse is that majority of the writing from Madden NFL 16 is still present. The game even references this by referencing Jim Nantz trademark when a game is getting out of hand, which is a nice Tongue-in-cheek moment, but it doesn’t make up for the lazy overall effort.
Madden NFL 17 gives fans what they have been asking for and more, including an expanded Franchise Mode and smarter more accurate AI. This is a love letter to any die-hard football fan.The gameplay is solid and more accessible. Sports games have never come this close to making you feel like you were running on the field.