Release date of August 23rd. Madden 16 was August 25th.
Play it 5 days early with EA Access on Xbox One
We need to care who’s on the cover because influences the game. I wanted a defensive player like Von Miller on the cover because usually they focus on gameplay for the guy who’s on the cover and pass rushing with the pocket forming needs serious help.
But let’s move forward
Expect a bigger focus on the size of the player making a difference. It’s a fine line between stats and a players height and weight as to what a player does. I don’t know how they’ll re-do trucking, tackling and hit stick but it would only make sense they do something so a 220 back with 99 trucking can’t truck stick a 340 pound Damon Harrison.
They said in their blog which I’ll link below that different player sizes now will allow different animations. I like this development because for years and especially in 16 we’ve heard a lot of people complain about animations. The biggest being how any WR can replicate Odell’s famous leaning back catch.
But going into 17 it seems they upped the running game. It was said that if you put the difficulty on Rookie the game will do it for you. They took the biggest complaint this year in the passing game, the pre-determined animations on aggressive catches and put in into another facet of the game. I fear the game is turning more and more into a Metal Gear Solid cut scene with quick time events taking place between picking plays, taking a lot of the control away from players.
You know I’ve always wanted a proper football simulation similar to “Football Manager” on the PC for Soccer. But I never thought Madden would turn into that simulation.
Now I’m not an expert on game design, but what I think makes a good game is something that I feel I have complete control over the avatar and that my moves on the controller quickly and faithfully are replicated on field. If a system comes in with new “Path Assist” that helps me navigate and anticipate downfield, I worry that it could take some control away from me and move me randomly towards a hole I wasn’t planning on going.
You know the most frustrating part of Madden on defense for me is? It’s when you are holding down Y because you want to intercept passes and the game takes control of your player away from you when you aren’t even near the ball to intercept it. You do a stumbling animation like you just hopped off the drunk bus at full speed in college.
This is what I worry the new Path Assist will become. And you might say, turn it off, do it yourself. But what if it’s like the other assists Madden has where it’s just more effective than manual moving because of the animations you get with the assists? Say I could read holes and run like Problem Wright with the assists on. Why not play with it on? I guess we’ll see if it’s any good but why would EA put it in the game if it isn’t any good? They don’t introduce mechanics for us to ignore them.
I may be a little harsh there with the criticism, but a lot of the hard core players want full control over their players on the field and not to feel like every interaction comes down to a Random Number Generator in the game deciding their fate.
But let’s move on.
They talk in the blog about the spin and juke and how the elusiveness of the smaller guys will have them play a lot different than the big guys like gronk who truck over dudes and stiff arm them. Then we get a cinematic of gronk spinning and juking around tackles.
But the hurdle looks sweet. That’s something bigger guys definitely do because smaller DBs almost always go for the ankles on large runners like TE’s and full backs. If Madden 17 is able to make it where a 180 pound DB can’t take down Gronk without going low, the hurdle is back baby! Can’t wait.
Again, it’ll all come down to how Madden balances things. These could either be issues or non-starters because of how well they are balanced. My guess is that something is going to be overpowered at the beginning of the year and they’ll have to adjust the sliders a few weeks in.
Also talked about in the blog is gap play and improved zone coverages. And for you man children out there like me, no, gap play is not when you hide from your mom in the clothes racks at The Gap.
But I’m very excited about these changes. If you don’t know what football Gap play is, it’s where each defender is assigned a gap to defend against the run. I wonder if they’ll be able to properly create 2 gap run defenders like some teams run. You don’t see it as much in today’s NFL but Nose Tackles are usually responsible for 2 gaps in a 3-4 if they are playing head up on the center. So this is really neat, we’ll see how the run game plays next year with that and force defenders setting the edge like they are assigned in real life.
And I guess that leads me into my next point of pass defense and pass rush. So with these new force defenders setting the edge on runs we can expect them to drive the outside shoulder of the tackle. I hope this means against the pass a proper pocket is formed where speed rushers try and run around offensive tackles to get to the QB. In Madden 16, if you don’t have QB contains on, guys can easily drop back 10 yards and scramble around edges. You don’t see that as much in the NFL because QBs sit in the pocket that is formed by speed rushers trying to get around the edge and the tackles trying to push them wide. If you see an NFL QB taking more than a 5 or 7 step drop, they’ll get killed by edge rushers running right around the tackles.
But count me as optimistic that we’ll see some improvements on it next year. They didn’t specifically mention that they are trying to create a more realistic pocket, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get it.
Next, another area they said they are looking at is Zone coverages. They are adding 8 new zone concepts never before seen in Madden. Now I’m not sure what these zones are so I can’t really talk about them. But I think what people want is for defenders to act smarter to routes coming through their zones. Like if a safety is in a deep blue, don’t let a long developing shot play get behind you. And that’s exactly what they say next, defenders will have more awareness and threats to each zone and can pattern match receivers. This is what I’m pumped about. No longer will you have a guy acting stupid if you put him in a purple and the corner route just goes a bit too deep for him. I hope he can recognize the pattern and stay with it. It’ll be interesting to see how play rec and awareness factors into the game next year and if low end guys will still forget how to cover corners like almost all of them do in 16.
Next, they said they focused on special teams with icing the kicker which was a feature in NCAA. Unfortunately studies have shown no effect on a kicker after a timeout. What they should have focused on was punting and how the ball always rolls forward like it’s a round basketball instead of a funky shaped abject that bounces around like a drunk on the dance floor. Maybe a rugby style kick and pooch punt will be in 17. Maybe, although I doubt anyone would notice changes to the punting game because no one in Madden punts.
In the trailer, the first scene is a fake field goal and they even talk about new special team fakes. Fake field goals don’t happen much in real life and if they happen a bunch in Madden people are gonna bitch. So I talked earlier about how they don’t add features for us to ignore. I really hope this is a feature people ignore. If fake field goals make big impact on gameplay it’s a mistake for Madden.
And since we can’t block field goals without getting kicked out of official EA tournaments, as they’ve posted, why even come out in a field goal set? Just come out in base defenses to stop it.
And as to the overall large re-vamp of special teams, I really couldn’t care less. Nobody picks up a football game to play special teams. Special teams to football is like yard work to home ownership, it’s a necessary evil when playing games. I liked that kicks were automatic as nobody likes kickers deciding games or really anything involved with that part of football.
Competitive Madden 17 – They didn’t mention it. I’m hoping we get a better ladder in MUT and season structure for salary cap mode. I’m not going to talk about this as I’ve mentioned it before in videos and have put out a video on what I want improved in Madden 17 already.
Connected franchise mode. They said they are putting a focus on it for 17. I’m cautiously optimistic about what that means. Do we get a better story for our players that we pick like NBA 2k or is the draft and owner mode being updated? Maybe both but only time will tell. They’ve bragged about CFM improvements for years and only slight improvements or side-provements as I like to call it have happened because I like to make up words.
Armsleves and other aesthetics. -I know it’s important to get things right but the feedback I’ve seen online, there are some people who just bitch and bitch about it. I’ve seen hundreds of comments on it. Seriously guys, if you want to dress men in different clothes, go buy a ken doll. Gameplay and features are number 1 in Madden.
Loyalty rewards – Just get MHC since you can sell them for coins. You won’t be able to sell 85 overall Gronk but there is a set you can complete to give you a 90 overall gronk in Madden 16 and an 85 overall Gronk in Madden 15.
So overall I really love that the Madden developers are listening to the hardcore audience on what needs fixing and after reading the blog I am quite hyped about Madden 17 being the best one yet. Madden 16 was a very good improvement on 15 and let’s hope it keeps going in the future.