Through just under a week of test-driving the new Madden 16 video game, it's safe to say there are more positives than negatives.
Presentation in Connected Franchise could be more extensive, and more customization in Ultimate Team would be nice, but the improved gameplay and new game modes minimize the negative effect the shortcomings have on the bottom line.
There are a number of qualities, but here's a list of the 10 best things in Madden 16:
From the player models to the stadiums and crowd, every visual component of Madden 16 is the best it's been in the series' history. Fans in the stands are all wearing official NFL gear, and there's far more variation among them as well.
Finally, there's a noticeable increase in the amount of players who had their faces scanned. All of this goes a long way toward creating a realistic virtual football environment.
We've never seen realistic gang-tackling in a Madden game until now. As a matter of fact, the only football game that had any semblance of it was the somewhat lifeless Backbreaker game released in 2009.
In Madden 16, multiple defenders can take down a ball-carrier, and it looks natural. You can even record half-sacks and tackles.
Who hates suction-blocking?
Just about anyone who has played Madden for years knows exactly what I'm referring to. For the ones who don't, here's a quick explanation: You're controlling a defensive player and you have a ball-carrier line up for a tackle. There's an offensive lineman in the vicinity, but he's not quite close enough to block you.
Suddenly, like magic, your player is vacuumed into the block. What the...?
Well, that doesn't happen very often in Madden 16—at least not that I've seen in just about a week of gameplay. Unless I've just been fortunate, a major legacy issue has finally been addressed.
The huge, lifelike overlays containing stats and other cool info infiltrate the gaming screen, but they aren't intrusive.
This might seem like a small thing, but it makes a nice impact on the presentation package in the game. EA Sports games are usually light on presentation, so this is a welcomed dash of flair.
5. New Receiving Options
In real life, receivers have to decide if they are going to secure a possession catch, go for the spectacular grab or try to make the reception in stride to gain yardage after snagging the pass.
In Madden 16, you can make these decisions as well when you take control of receivers. The best part of this is that the rate of success depends on the skill ratings of the receivers.
6. More Penalties
Penalties—especially infractions on the defense—have been rare in Madden games. This year, I've seen an appropriate increase in offsides, neutral-zone infractions and defensive pass interference.
Here's what creative director Rex Dickson of EASports.com said about the awesome "penalty trait":
Every player is assigned a Penalty trait based on real-world NFL data, which determines how likely they are to commit a penalty; an undisciplined player has a far greater chance of committing a penalty than a disciplined player.
7. Draft Champions
It would have been ideal if Madden 16 featured at least two new modes, but it doesn't.
That said, the one new mode it introduces is addictive. Draft Champions allows gamers to experience a fantasy football draft on a daily basis. It blends in some tournament-style online and offline play with a touch of randomness.
Here's a breakdown and demonstration of the game from popular YouTuber QJB:
8. Dynamic Drive Goals
There's usually a struggle to create a cohesiveness between in-game goals within a CF to the big picture of the mode. The new Dynamic Drive Goals give gamers an initiative that actually matters in the grand scheme of things.
9. Quarterback A.I.
For gamers who actually play against the CPU, it's a bummer when you see the computer-controlled signal-caller doing stupid things that cost it the game. You want to win, but not necessarily because the CPU is playing like an idiot.
This year, there's a clearer distinction between elite quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and less experienced guys like Johnny Manziel.
10. Connected Franchise Interface
Convoluted menus are a pain.
In Madden 16, the menus are big and bold. This is really helpful in CF, as you have to keep a keen eye on the stats and messages as the events change with your franchise.
The large font is easy to see and engaging.
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