Monday 5 September 2016

Madden 17

It's the title that signifies the start of the Holiday season of video games, Madden has become a staple of late August releases. Even though it's name has started to lose all meaning (John Madden has not been involved in years yet his name is instantly recognisable), the game series has been going from strength to strength to not be as alienating as it has been in the past. Being the most accessible Madden title ever though does not mean that it's any less complex.

Developed by EA Tirburon and out now on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Madden 17 doesn't see any real additions to the game or it's modes but honestly, at this stage, there's no need to as it's already got enough to satisfy your American football needs right out of the box. Whether you want a quick pick up and play alone, with friends, or online to full-fledged long-term enduring seasons, Madden 17 already has it all.

This year's focus has been all on its accessibility. Rather than simplifying the controls or mechanics, the game instead focuses more on teaching the player how everything works. The extensive tutorial sessions act as a great way to not only learn all the mechanics of the game what you can do with the controller but also get a much better understanding of the rules of American Football. The sport itself can be quite  intimidating and breaking into actually enjoying it has hampered those outside of the United States and areas where the sport is widely watched. Madden NFL 17 is the first iteration of the game series that truly tries to explain everything to you but in a fun and engaging way. Not only that but the training sessions themselves are rather fun and give you insight into the intricacies that make the game and sport for that matter so enjoyable to fans.

Beyond the accessible features to Madden 17, most of the improvements come in the form of enhanced visuals, gameplay, and features. There is nothing really new to the game but presentation continues to improve. When the camera pans around to the crowd, it’s hard to not be impressed by how everything looks. It doesn’t seem like its the same two characters copy and pasted throughout the stadium, it truly feels like a real stadium atmosphere. It may seem like a little thing but seeing the same character model throughout the crown when it pans over it can really feel like a shortcut that diminished the otherwise excellent presentation.

On the field, everything feels more refined. The defensive game that was dull for years has once again received minor improvements and allows more control of your defensive line before the snap. The offensive game is as enjoyable as ever and still remains the most thrilling and satisfying aspect of the gameplay. When being on offensive, it can be all about the small gains but having a play work that rewards a massive gain in yardage is ultimately satisfying but when you’re on defence, it’s all about grinding out the downs and hoping either you keep them from progressing or you intercept a throw by guessing the right play. It’s a game of chess that can sometimes result in a rush of satisfaction.

If you’ve played previous Madden titles then expect more refinement and improvements. If you’ve never played or are curious at whether the game is actually good or not, there is an excellent tutorial finally to help you better understand the game and the sport and may finally allow you to break it’s overwhelming shell.

Refinement for fans but a revelation for newcomers. 4/5


Jason Redmond

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