The Madden NFL series has been more consistent than the tide for more than a decade. Unfortunately for us, this consistency has led to a loot of mediocre games over that span of time. Madden NFL 17 changes all of that and sets things right. It is a reward to dedicated fans who have been waiting for an entry in the series that feels like more than a glorified roster update.
The last handful of years have seen upgrades to the game’s passing and defensive systems. They were adequate changes and matched the direction that the actual NFL was taking, but those changes pale in comparison to the updates to the running game implemented this year. Controlling a runner in the open field will trigger button prompts as would be tacklers approach you. Hitting the button at the right time will trigger spin moves, jukes, and other authentic techniques. This allows skilled runners like LeVeon Bell dominate defenders as they would in real life as opposed to collapsing in a heap and being ignored as the passing game racks up the stats.
Living the Moments
Another significant upgrade was given to the Franchise Mode. In previous years, finishing a season in Franchise Mode was a slog that required hours upon hours of play. Now, everything moves much faster thanks to the addition of the new Play the Moments feature. This is a simulation mode that only puts you in control at important moments like 3rd downs and red zone drives. This eliminates some of the tedious elements of the actual games and leavse players more time to focus on other aspects of the game like developing players and even playing through skill drills at practice to earn bonus EXP. I found myself playing “just one more game” several times during the review process even against my better judgement and need for sleep.
This isn’t a required feature, as players can choose to play every snap, run the offense, or pilot the defense. This gives players the opportunity to tailor their game experience to be exactly how they want it.
One gameplay update that was more than welcome was the addition of gap assignments on defense. Pressing right or left on the right hand stick will show you the gap in the offensive line that each player on the defensive front is responsible for. Properly selecting your player and moving quickly into your assigned gap can give you a chance to disrupt every single snap.. This makes playing defense an exciting prospect and helped me overcome the creeping dread that I had on every defensive series in previous games.
Its Not All Sunshine and Rainbows
Madden 17 isn’t without some flaws though. The game features “color commentary” by Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis. I put that in quotes because it was depressingly bad at best and infuriating at worst. I can’t remember a game passing without some commentary string pulling me out of the experience because it made no sense within the game. One time, I was taking the field late in the game to kneel down and finish off a win. The commentators then said something to the effect of “Lets see what the offense is able to pull off here.” I don’t really know how to improve the system as there are only so many lines that the voice actor’s could write and record. With that said, the commentary is a big enough part of the experience that they should just keep trying.
Madden NFL 2017 is rated E with no descriptors. However online interactions aren’t rated.
Madden NFL 17 is the best game in the series for over a decade. This is a must buy for NFL fans that may have stopped buying the annual release.