Fool me once, I’m mad. Fool me twice, how could you? Fool me three times, you’re officially “that guy”. – Jontron
Oh man, EA. I am simultaneously upset and amazed at your newest installment of Madden. You guys sure did pull off another mediocre game in a now stagnant and dead series. Can you guys not take a hint on how to make a good sports game from 2k? The NBA 2k series is one of the most continuously fun game series I’ve played, despite some Freqish blunders along the way. But for football fans, you get this. Madden 17. How can a football game get so bland? It’s football! You don’t need to jazz it up to make it interesting to football fans!
Ugh, but anyway. Let’s have a look at the latest and greatest from EA, Madden 17.
It’s a short list honestly.
Most of the things that I would consider “good” about Madden 17 are just things they ripped off the dead bodies of previous Madden games, duct taped to their latest Frankenstein, and said, “Wow, what an innovative new feature!” One of the first things I noticed was that you can edit your coach more in-depth. No more t-shirts and khakis on your avatar anymore! Now you can have hoodies, khakis, zip ups, sweatpants (what?), or dress pants. I will admit that this is a nice step-up from the bland coaches of the previous Madden games, but I have to ask, “Why the hell haven’t we had this feature before?” We’ve had the same cookie cutter coach skins, faces, and outfits for years now. This was really something that didn’t pass through their mind while in development? Maybe the people want to have a coach that, I don’t know, actually looks like them?
After creating my inner self, I noticed something else I actually liked. The character models look not too bad! They have some additional movements during the cut scenes (Cut scenes in a football game. Really.), they move pretty fluidly, and the things that pop up on the screen don’t look half bad either.
But then I started the game and it all came crashing down.
THE NOT SO GOOD
The main thing I noticed while playing this game was the amount of injuries to players. My first game against the Saints, they had 5 injuries (two serious) while I had 2 injuries (1 serious). Now, I have heard that EA is aware of this and will be looking into how to fix it. At the time of this writing, it looks as though there are less injuries but the injuries that do happen are serious. I have had three injuries in 5 games, all of them keeping my guys out for 5+ weeks. Not sure if I just have bad luck with these things or the major injuries are just more prevalent now.
Another thing that I am not sure if I can say is the game or myself is the steep difficulty change from one setting to another. What I mean by this is that on Rookie, I can blow out teams 55-10. But as soon as I switch it to Pro (the next setting up), I lose most of the game I play. And I have heard that you can make the difficulty correct by adjusting the various sliders in the game, but the game should work correctly right out of the box! Especially from such a large company as EA.
That’s honestly it for the things that annoyed me but didn’t harshly affect my feelings towards the game. There is a lot of things that did have a pretty big effect on my while playing, however…
Everyone moves like they are on a track. They move from being free to locking onto being engaged with a player, to then being free again. It was so clunky and weird to play that I honestly thought that I was doing something wrong from the start. Not really how you want your game to be. To put it into perspective, I played almost exclusively as Khalil Mack on defense. For those not aware, he is one of the most dominant Defensive players right now. I was not in the backfield a single time throughout the entire game. To be fair, I was up against Zach Strief who is a solid O-Lineman. But no rushes?? Not once into the backfield?? That makes the player feel powerless and has it appear that the player is doing something wrong.
Also, the passing offense is still as stupidly powerful as it was in the previous games. Sure Drew Brees is an elite QB, but he absolutely CARVED up my defense.
On the other hand, they made the rushing offense constantly sputter like my 1997 Chevy Lumina.
There was some really ridiculous plays for their offense too. Two long bombs (one of around 80 yards and one of around 70 yards) where their receivers just blew past my defense. And sure, I’ll take that it happens. Receivers can sometimes break through holes in the secondary, especially with a good QB like Brees. But here’s the thing that really upsets me. They were on two key plays, when the Saints were losing. It’s like they brought back the rubberbanding AI from the older Maddens to ensure that the game never really gets out of hand. I was up 21-6 before those two long bombs. I can’t confirm if they actually did bring it back or what, but it’s really out of character. Especially because I was playing on “Pro” difficulty, which is essentially one step above “Easy”. Or maybe I just suck, who knows.
They also added this new feature where, to break tackles, it is not always the stiff arm button, “X”. When you engage against a defender, a button pops up above your player. If you hit this button fast enough, you will more than likely break the tackle. It can be any of the face buttons. Want to hurdle over a defender? NOPE. Should’ve hit square instead of triangle. Seriously? There is a quick time event in Madden now? This function is broken on defense as well. If the offensive player correctly hits the button, there is nothing you can do. You are totally screwed. No matter how well you played on them or how good of a route you took to the ball carrier, if they hit that circle button correctly, you’re on the ground and they’re sprinting downfield.
Speaking of the AI, it’s absolutely the worst in a while.
I wonder how many complaints they received about the previous commentator crew from the last few Maddens? Because they clearly cared enough to bring in two new guys and can the previous ones. BUT. They still seem a full play behind what is actually happening on the field. They were still talking about the impacts of making the extra point AFTER I had already made the extra point, kicked off, and tackled the returner. Is it really that hard to make the commentators react to what is happening on the screen? I hate to beat a dead horse, but 2k does a pretty good job of keeping up with what the players are doing. How are these two companies so far apart on such common ground?
Would it bother anyone if I just slapped an ad for Head and Shoulders right here? Just right in the middle of the post. Would that upset you? Would that make you angry and take away from how interested you are in the review?
Gosh, wouldn’t that be stupid to have such abrupt and jarring and blatant ads in the middle of a game like that?
And I get it. The NFL is an advertising giant in today’s world. But this isn’t the NFL. This is a video game that I paid $60 for and there are ads. Seriously. This is not okay. We all know that Madden loves to drag out their dying cash cow of Madden Ultimate Team.
But to put all these advertisements into the game that I already paid full price for seems dirty. I would expect there to be ads in some free to play phone game, but a Triple A money making franchise such as thing? Do you really need that sweet, sweet Head and Shoulders money?
And to top all of this mountain of disappointment and anger and advertisements and feelings of betrayal, I didn’t even end up winning my first game.
Neither team could get anything going. Broken AI caused many dropped passes and poor rushing lanes. This final score screen sums up how I feel about this game. Lots of build up and hype with a disappointing finish. Thoughts that maybe it would be different this time. Maybe EA made some genuine changes to innovate this franchise. Maybe this year will be the breath of fresh air that this game series needed. No, it wasn’t. Just like Raider and Saints fans at today’s 30-30 tie, we end up leaving with nothing but sadness and disappointment. I would give Madden 17 a 4/10.