Madden NFL 16 comes out on August 25th but I’ve been able to check the game out a bit early and experience what all it has to offer. This is the 27th installment in the long running series. This new iteration of the game features Playmakers and wanting you to rely on players like Jordy Nelson, Rob Gronkowski, and A.J. Green. Most gamers always just assume it’s the same game as last year and rarely take that jump to the next Madden because of that. Will this one be any different? Well, your about to find out.
Madden NFL 16 offers a uniquely different play style to games of it’s past. The new control scheme to throw and receive handles nicely when it can work. (Sometimes the ball hits the receiver quicker than what you can switch your player.) When you toss a receiver the ball you have the option to press the change player button and you become the receiver, not a big deal to some since they already did this but the change comes with the choice of pressing three buttons. The first button being A or X resulting in the receiver to go for the possession of the ball first. Even if they get tackled or are going to hit the ground they will attempt a possession of the ball harder. The second button being X or Square will make them do a Run After Catch. With this scenario there’s a higher chance of them dropping the ball because they may be more focused on where they are headed next. The last button being Y or Triangle forces them into an Aggressive Catch. They will jump up for the ball and try to force the possession. I found this most useful for lob throws and high passes. Speaking of high passes or lobs, Madden now offers you the option to throw high using the Left Bumper on Xbox or L1 on PlayStation. By doing so you can manipulate the Aggressive Catch for some great throws deep if they are covered. The Bullet pass is the same as in years past by holding down the receiver’s button. You can also do a lob by pushing and releasing the button, but the Medium Pass now lays under double tapping it. This may all sound like nonsense but by mastering this process you can dominate the game. For me not having played Madden in a year since the last one I felt it easy to jump into and explore these new features. Seeing the results is a very satisfying factor. The rest of the game feels like any other Madden game, but the improvements to the Touch Pass area and Receiver Options helps to make this a great Madden.
Madden’s Graphics in previous games weren’t always up to par with what we expected from the top tier game. The newest version has focused on the detail of the players and stadium more than anything. The improvements are nice, although still some bugs persist with frame rate jitters. The stadium previews are almost identical to Madden 15 unfortunately. It still looks good, but I guess I’m not huge for repetition. The new camera angles work well most of the time, I do find that at the beginning of a replay my camera will switch directly after the ball is handed off which makes for an odd and short video. Other than those complaints they additions to the on field graphics is very nice to see. The Madden Ultimate Team stats popping up beside my player and the card to let me know who he is helps a lot. The Franchise Mode now has XP like stats that pop up beside the player and a ticker at the bottom keeps track of their stats and goals. I really felt that it helped to keep me interested because at times I get bored with Franchise mode but now I have something to work towards per game and per season. Being that the Graphics have improved though and the higher focus on the stadium and crowd it really helps me to feel like I’m there more. It’s an interesting mix of watching a televised game and sitting in the stands.
Madden 16 has all the game modes you have come to love, not many changes were done to them. Dynasty Mode is now Franchise Mode and has the same aspects to it as before but with the addition of RPG like elements. Now, this may be a bold statement but as mentioned in the Graphics section there is a way to level up your players with the better that they perform. If they get X amount of tackles in a game they can level up, same for catches. Just a lot of different options for you to further your players confidence and level. The new game mode that I find interesting and fun is Draft Champions. You Draft your players out of a set of cards to create the best Overall team you can. It uses Madden Ultimate Team cars but are randomized. You only play 3 games to get a great reward. You can get a nice reward as well for only winning two of those. Draft Champions is an awesome addition to the series and I’m excited to see how it evolves over the years.
The final thing I would like to touch on is the Sound. Madden has always needed a lot of importance on the way the game sounds due to really pulling a player into the game. While I was playing this I tested it out using a couple of methods. First, the typical method of television speakers. Second, I used my headset. Everything sounds clear, defined, and well put together. Even the broadcasters were into the game and knew what was going on. For me, previous Madden’s would have issues where the broadcasters would repeat the same things over and also not be using the proper clip at the right moments. For Madden 16, the broadcasters felt on top of what they were doing to help me be more interested in what I was doing, and even offered useful tips for me to use. The addition of EA Trax again is wonderful, the songs the picked for the game fit the style the developers were aiming at and it just feels nice to have something to listen to while in the menus. In years past I would say Madden struggled in the Sound Department at times but now hearing the hits pop and the broadcasters sound like broadcasters helps to make this a full experience.
I will be giving this Madden a 4.5 out of 5. It would be a 5 but the issues in the graphics and a few gameplay bugs knocked it down for me. I really enjoy playing this Madden, especially since I couldn’t make it more than a game or two without getting frustrated in last year’s game. If you’re a sports game fan, I would recommend picking this game up.