X-Box One / Playstation 4
Distributed by: EA Sports
Reviewed by Brian McGuire
The iconic Madden series has been a staple with gaming and football fans alike since its inception, with fans of the franchise eagerly await the release of the new title each year. After all, what's better than getting together with a friend or two, starting a game, and smack talking after every big play? Madden 17 aims to fulfill that need in the same way that its predecessors did. While many Madden titles simply feel like a roster update, Madden 17 aims to change the way some of the fundamental elements of the game are played, while also retaining the same tried and true mechanics of previous titles.
The commentating has never been better with this iteration of Madden, with EA Sports recruiting Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis to do the voice work. Both commentators are excellent, providing good football information to the player, while maintaining a witty and conversational tone at the same time. Animations and ball-carrier movements have been updated as well, adding realism to specific players on the field. Players can only make specific moves based on their physical capabilities, giving fans that scream for a non-arcade experience something to sink their teeth into. The ability to force fumbles against a ball carrier has been added, allowing the ability to stop the run.
The defensive lineups have been updated, becoming noticeably more intelligent in the process. Players will now close holes in the defense more accurately, and overall coverage appears to be more true to a real NFL game. With the catching abilities toned down to match a receiver's actual statistics, defenses do a better job at stopping the run. Don't expect the ability to lob the ball to a mediocre receiver and score a touchdown every time. EA Sports has aimed to make Madden 17 more realistic, so managing your expectations and team correctly is pivotal this time around. Blocking punts and field goals are possible now, although it doesn't appear that the effect can be repeated on an every case basis.
Graphics have been updated for Madden 17, as is always expected by fans of the franchise. Many new players have had their faces scanned and added to the title, removing most of the generic player likenesses for lesser-known talents. This technology has definitely helped give the title a more authentic feel. With a 1080p resolution, at times you'll do a double-take at the TV to make sure you're not actually watching a live NFL game. Sound effects have also been greatly improved. Tackles, pile-ups, and collisions all sound different depending on the severity.
While many mechanics of the game have been improved for realism, there are some issues that Madden 17 hasn't addressed yet. Injuries cannot occur while players are away from the ball. Unchanged from previous titles, offensive linemen also cannot be injured during a game. In the NFL, injuries that happen away from the ball are common. Linemen get hurt. Luckily, there is an injury slider in Madden 17 which allows you to bump this feature up to a more realistic level. Clock stoppages have always been an issue with Madden titles as well, and the current iteration still leaves something to be desired. If a player runs out of bounds, the game clock doesn't always stop. This could force the use of an unwanted timeout, or kill the momentum for the offensive team at a key moment in the game. Roster creation and customization is available, but unfortunately hasn't changed much from Madden 16.
Overall, Madden 17 is a good title in the series. EA Sports has added features that greatly enhance the realism during a game, but still have some work to do. Whether playing on an Xbox One or Playstation 4, the game looks fantastic, and the visual updates are noticeable. Any gamers who watch football and own a current-gen console will definitely want to pick this title up for the 2016-2017 NFL season.