Madden NFL 17 Review

Madden NFL 17 Review

The Year of the Running Back

The Madden NFL franchise has long been synonymous for big plays and big hits on a platform that delivers enough trash talk to make Richard Sherman do a double take. There’s nothing better than a living room celebration after taking one deep on your best friend in the fourth quarter to cap off a 21-point comeback. Madden 17 brings those experiences back into the hands of the player. The upgraded set of gameplay mechanics, improved defensive system, and polished presentation will have you wreaking havoc on anyone willing to test your tight spirals and blitz-heavy defense.

Gameplay mechanics across the board have been drastically improved for the better. The most impressive upgrade certainly comes out of the backfield in the ground game. Running the ball has finally been layered with the complexities that are unique to the most demanding position in football. Taking a handoff now requires patience for the play to fully develop while also demanding a certain sense of football intelligence in order to pick the proper gap or select the proper move.

Each snap within the running game has become more of a chess play rather than a quick set of motions and achieving success is highly rewarding. Players will notice a button prompt highlighted above a scrum just after the runner and defender make contact. This prompt allows players to battle their way through a pile and break free for extra yardage. Mashing the highlighted button can be the difference between a fourth and out or a first and ten.

EA Sports has included special moves in Madden 17 ’s revamped ground game, which provides running backs with a series of moves that directly tie into their running style and overall rating. Finesse backs like Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman have more effective jukes and spin moves while the smashmouth backs like Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley have more devastating stiff-arms and shoulder plows. The top backs in the league also came equipped with much cooler special move animations than some of the mid-level guys, which is important to note when testing out the new running system.

Madden NFL 17 Screenshot

The game has also includes the new Ball-Carrier Feedback System to aid running backs in successful pursuit of the end zone. The system provides players with the ability to identify incoming approaching defenders and recommend moves to elude them. Take charge of Adrian Peterson and hit the right thumb stick for a vintage AP juke just before the defenders approach. The game will populate the button cue on screen at the perfect time for a seamless integration that’s as devastating as it is exciting. Of course, the choice to ignore the recommendations in favor of a different move is always an option, but simply having the ability to pick a Madden-suggested move is a really nice feature.

Madden NFL 17 Screenshot

The improved defensive system focuses primarily on two components – the linemen up front with gap assignments and additional zone coverages. Traditionally, Madden has provided gamers with four separate generic zone coverages. However, this year, gamers have access to an additional nine for a total of thirteen. This provides the perfect platform to not only increase the game’s realism but to also fully customize your defensive schemes. Additionally, those big uglies up front are finally provided with a gap assignment. This leads to drastically improved battles on the line, which results in an entirely new dimension to gameplay. Focusing on the front seven is just as fun as playing in the secondary with the new addition. Doubling up a gap will now result in a higher sac probability as opposed to previous versions where luck was more of a determining factor. Both additions have drastically increased the fun factor of playing defense, especially if you’re a blitz heavy fiend like me.

The overall presentation of Madden 17 has also gotten a boost from previous years. The complete gaming experience is much more polished and feels way more authentic in nature. Everything from the pre-game statistical breakdown, to player movements and celebrations, to even coaches yelling on the sidelines have made this year’s update a delight to experience. The stadiums are all authentic in nature and really pop in high-definition while the crowds within them are as rowdy as ever. The overall feel of the presentation makes you feel like Monday night football is unfolding right before you – it’s fantastic from top to bottom.

Unfortunately, that success in the presentation department didn’t translate over to the brand new commentators, Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis. Announcers continue to be the downfall of sports simulators, with Madden 17 claimed as their latest victim. EA promised a better offering, but I just don’t see it. These two guys embody the classic meathead football fan and don’t offer too much outside of overemphasized vowels and repeated phrases. It’s nice to see two new guys in the booth, but they are just as awful as the last two.

Madden NFL 17 Screenshot

Fortunately for eager Madden fans, the only glaring blemish comes in the form of that terrible broadcasting. Franchise Mode has seen minor improvements while Madden Ultimate and Draft Champions still exist along with nearly every other game mode from last year. Yes, the game is largely an update from last year with a few simple tweaks, a roster update, and a pretty new skin to sharpen it up. But then again, isn’t that how Madden has been trending over the last decade?

There’s nothing wrong with that concept and I firmly believe it’s better to layer on rather than completely rebuild. For me, the major overhaul in the gameplay mechanics, especially the additions to the run game and defensive strategies make this game a solid buy. If you’re used to buying Madden every other year or every few years, 17 is certainly worth your money. The jump from 16 to 17 isn’t drastic but the proof is certainly in the running back pudding, and boy is it good. Everything else is elementary at this point.

Stadiums are breathtaking in high-definition and blend flawlessly with the refined character models. 4.8 Control
The new Ball-Carrier Feedback System perfectly replicates the look and feel of being an NFL running back. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sounds of the game blend nicely with the visuals and perfectly complement the high-octane gridiron action. 4.5 Play Value
The replay value is pretty intense as Madden continues to find new ways to add value to its annual installment. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Ball-Carrier Feedback System: New prompts and path assist help identify defensive threats and recommend special moves to elude any defender.
  • Play the Moments: Experience Franchise faster than ever. Jump into game-defining plays, drives and situations that matter to you, speeding up your experience and delivering more fun. Is your team in a rebuilding year? Get back to the playoffs and win that championship quicker with the all-new Play the Moments.
  • Commentary: Madden NFL 17 delivers our most authentic commentary in Madden NFL history with the addition of an all-new, in-studio team featuring Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis. With access to the team year-round, commentary has been completely rebuilt from the ground up, providing players with unprecedented depth and analysis. With the ability to provide content updates throughout the NFL season, experience fresh and dynamic commentary all season long!

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