The praise for Madden 16 is rolling in from everywhere. Is this a great year to be a fan of the king of virtual football? The answer looks to be a resounding yes.
Review scores lower than an eight are hard to find. I graded it an 8.4, which is pretty high by my standards. The highest review score I've seen thus far came from Polygon.com's Owen S. Good. He gave Madden 16 a nine.
Good is a veteran game reviewer, so his nine carries some weight. Perhaps the most poignant quote Good has in his article is as follows:
I was on the 3-yard line and called a play where my tight end, Coby Fleener, would take three steps and turn around. I threw the ball low, as it should be for such a pattern. I considered no other target when I snapped the ball, and still the pass was intercepted by a safety who had sneaked into the play. I felt Madden 16 somehow knew I was looking at only Fleener, just like Malcolm Butler did in the Super Bowl.
The true measure of a sports simulation's quality is not in its highlight-reel performances or jaw-dropping statistical totals, but in the failed plays, where the human player understands he or she made a bad choice, and learns from it.
I've experienced those same emotions and a similar admiration for Madden 16. The A.I. is smarter, and I don't mean it's smarter in a way that feels unrealistic. Often, Madden gamers crank up the difficulty to All-Madden because all of the other settings are just too easy for them.
The result is CPU-controlled players performing well above their talents just for the sake of making the game harder. That isn't necessary with Madden 16. When you make bad football decisions, the CPU will more than likely make you pay, and it'll be in the most realistic way the series has ever punished you. I love that aspect of the game.
Another veteran reviewer who chimed in on Madden 16 was Bryan Wiedey of Sporting News. Wiedey awarded the game 3.5 out of five stars (or a seven on a scale of one to 10), which is probably the worst score you'll find.
Wiedey took EA Sports to task for Connected Franchise. He found the Drive Goals pop-ups to be intrusive. I disagree with that, but to each his own. The Drive Goals and the pop-ups helped to add a purpose for training and upgrading players.
Game Informer's Matthew Kato had a take was more in line with mine and Good's. Kato scored the game an 8.75 and talked about the newest game mode in the Madden universe, Draft Champions. Kato wrote:
The new Draft Champions mode is cool because it's a relatively quick experience that exposes you to different types of team builds. On the downside, it's hard to become endeared to your team since the players you choose from are random and you might not even understand your team's play style.
I disagree with the second half of Kato's statement. Part of the preparation for Draft Champions is learning and understanding the coach's playbooks. Therein lies the challenge. DC is about leveling the playing field and testing your skills against another person whose team is going to be comparable to the one you bring to the virtual gridiron.
In any case, we won't all agree on every component, but the overarching theme seems to be positive for Madden 16.