Monday, 7 September 2015

Madden NFL 16

It's the game that literally kicks off the holiday season for games and this year is no different. Yearly game releases usually result in iterative improvements, focusing on one or two aspects of the entire game and the rest is left relatively untouched and leaves you questioning your life choices as to why you just dropped so much money on the same thing again. While Madden NFL 16 is no different, the work that's been done have created some fundamental changes that invigorates the sometimes routine gameplay. 

Developed by EA Tirburon and out now on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 comes Madden NFL 16. The big push from developer EA Tiburon this time has been accessibility without dumbing down any of the mechanics for seasoned veterans. The developers want to let you feel comfortable in how you play whether that is an emphasis on running plays or whatever throwing play looks impressive as the different colour lines go all over the place. 

Where Madden NFL 15 gave more control to the defence, 16 brings more options to the offence. If you like to pass the ball, you'll notice that the receiver now has multiple options of how to take the ball. The different catches allow the receiver to either be aggressive and opt to catch the ball as priority or you can be risky and try to catch the ball on the run and gain a few more yards. The options now give the defence a chance to read the play and potentially be aggressive or passive in order to either intercept or cut off any chance of the opposition gaining yardage. The improved defence of last year as well as the options for offence will likely mean your friend who was constantly throwing 70 yard last ditch efforts no longer can be consistent with it, and you will probably be less likely to want to hit them with your controller.

Compared to its sporting game contemporaries, Madden NFL 16 falls behind in its presentation. While EA's FIFA and NFL, and 2K's NBA games can be mistaken for the real thing for a passer-by who looks at the screen, you're never fooled with Madden NFL 16. Animations and visuals are improved upon from the previous iteration and the detail seen on uniforms and other aspects of the game are impressive but it just hasn't hit the level that other games have in the genre. 

Off the field,  all the modes you expect are here. You can take a team through a franchise in the hopes to reach the Superbowl (which is going to be its 50th this season), or take on the insanely popular Madden Ultimate Team. If you want something similar but based more on Fantasy Football, Draft Champions is an experiment that works rather well. Rather than start with a random set of players and progressively get better players and fine-tune your team to your potential, Draft Champions gives you a random selection of players for every match making every round be a complete surprise and requires you to mix your play-style to match the strength and weaknesses of the players given to you.

Madden NFL 16 is possibly the most accessible title in years but its also the most engaging. It respects player's different play-styles as well as skill level making it feel all-inclusive as well as deep and rewarding. Each play and down becomes its own highlight as you take chances or shut down the opposition. If you've strayed from Madden, or just always felt too intimated by its controls, maybe its time to give Madden NFL 16 a punt.

Madden NFL 16 breaks into the end zone with a 4/5.


Jason Redmond

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