Madden. One of the longest running franchises in gaming history, eh? Not to mention, one of the most recognizable. Many of us Madden lovers get the game every year simply out of sheer obligation or tradition. We may not want to get it, but we do. Why? Because we need to. Since 1989 (or 1988 depending on how you look at it), many of us have gotten the Madden game every single year and us “Maddeneers” are no quitters. So, onward to the review!
Blue Ball Score: 16.5 out of 25 balls
Many of us began to get in a Madden-slump of sorts. Same ol’ thing with better graphics (much like Assassin’s Creed has gotten. Read here). EA began to realize this and actually made a game that changed things up a little bit and added some “pizazz”! Imagine that! The controls of Madden 16 were, indeed, similar to past games. But! They added some things to give the user more control of the outcome. These things included: the aggressive catch, the possession catch, the aggressive defense, and so forth. These additions to the mechanics were very much appreciated for the most part. I think we can all agree that when the AI or another player lobbed a pass for 60 yards and did an “aggressive” catch that lead to a completion every single time, it was quite the bullshit. But, as with every Madden game, there are always a handful of things (or two) that are total BS and arguably a “glitch” or oversight in the game that players overused to win. We all used the “Four Verticals” play and passed it to the tight end running up the middle of the field every time. Don’t lie … even I did it … a lot.
Anyway, moving on, there were some fundamental additions to the game mentioned above that game the player some additional control to the outcome of any given situation. These mechanics were added to every position of the game ranging from Quarterback to Defensive Back and to infinity and beyond. What a Buzz kill joke right? (silence ensues…)
Finally, Madden’s first attempt at capturing momentum was a truly great first attempt. They added a feature called “Drive Goals.” Drive goals could be a variety of things from “Getting X amount of first downs,” or “Get Player X a certain amount of rushing/receiving yards,” or “Complete X amount of passes,” and many more. If you completed your drive goal, it gave your team and players an XP and confidence boost. And, often times, they played better if you completed these goals. Personally, after I completed a drive goal or two, this gamer felt like the momentum was starting to shift his way. This was much needed when you were down by 6 touchdowns to the Godly (cheating) Patriots.
Ultimately, this was an improved Madden. The mechanics were updated to give the player more control and versatility, some minor, but necessary, features were added to help give a more immersed gaming experience, and even a new game mode was added (which we will get to later). Obviously, there were those glitches/oversights that were still lingering that EA never seem to address or fix. So, for those reasons, I give this 4/5 balls.
That being said, Madden did add a new game mode – called Draft Champions. This game mode was something that was much needed. For gamers such as myself, Madden Ultimate Team wasn’t very enjoyable. If you managed to assemble a good team, sure, those games were fun. But, those games were only fun for a short time. A very short time. Something I am all too familiar with – just ask my girlfriend. Back to the review, my point is that gamers needed something similar, but a bit more permanent. The solution? Draft Champions. This game mode started off with a draft that allowed you to pick from 1 of 3 players. After assembling your team, you could go online and participate in a single-elimination draft. This allowed players to assemble their “fantasy” team (like Madden Ultimate team), but use this team for the entirety of a tournament. This game mode was fun, exciting, and allowed gamers to have a new and competitive team each draft.
In conclusion, Madden campaign was decent. This was one area that Madden has been pretty consistent in throughout the last 5-7 years. Same modes, same feel, and same concepts. Whether you like it or not, Madden is Madden. On the bright side, they did add a much needed game mode this year which allowed gamers who were on the fence about the Madden Ultimate Team to have a game mode that fulfilled their desires. Therefore, I will give this a 3/5 balls.
So, now that I have publicly vented, I will now attempt to review this portion of Madden. The lag did seem to get a bit better in this game. Perhaps EA realized that stability really is an important part of the game or perhaps my recent bump in internet speed (to 75 Mbps) may have fixed it. It is hard to say definitely, but in true gamer fashion, we always blame it on the lag. Moving on, the loading times in between menus and on startup seemed ridiculously slow as well. Perhaps this is not the proper section for it, but I will mention it here for shits n’ giggles.
Moving on, as mentioned above, there were glitches/oversights in the game as mentioned above in the “Gameplay” section of this review and playing online is when these glitches were most exposed. Granted, this is the players’ fault and not EA, but EA should really fix those issues (as if you didn’t see me mentioning this a million times already in this review). Sorry for ranting again, it is that time of month for me (girls get away with it, so why can’t I?).
Finally, I want to mention the consistency factor of the game. Madden has always been terrible on consistency. One game you may destroy someone and the next game you may get destroyed. Same style of gameplay each time, but totally opposite outcome. Sometimes the defenders will be all over the ball and sometimes they decide to take a nap on the field. One thing that is consistent though, is the PSI in the balls … too soon?
All in all, multiplayer was multiplayer. Delays were improved, but still there, server stability is, and probably always will be, an issue, and there weren’t much changes with the exception of the “Draft Champions” mode as mentioned above, and consistency was terrible (but nothing new here). Leaving me no choice but to give this a 2.5/5 balls.
Now we arrive to the audio. In the last decade, this has been Madden’s worst area. We all hated Collinsworth’s commentating ability (or lack thereof). Quite frankly, his total “jackass” style was annoying and obnoxious, but at least one can argue this is realistic … Back to the review, in Madden 16, they got rid of Collinsworth and added Jim Nantz and Phil Simms. So that was an improvement. But, as with all Madden games, the audio was boring, bland, and overly-repetitive. It was even lagging so much at times that the audio did not make sense. This is a problem with all Madden games, and in almost three decades they have yet to get it right or even make improvements. As a gamer, audio is crucial and this is a huge deal.
Overall, graphics have saved this part of the review. With great strides in graphics, but a failing audio system, it is with great distaste that I give this a 3/5 balls.
I think Madden 16 may be the savior of Madden. If you were to ask me to review Madden 15, I would say it’s over. It’s toast. It’s as done as a T-bone steak in the heart of a volcano. But Madden 16 began to take improvements seriously and began to treat them as a necessity. This is apparent in the graphics, the additional game mode of Draft Champions, and the additions to the gameplay mechanics.
So, I would recommend someone to buy Madden 16 simply because it is a spark of hope. A light at the end of the tunnel that we Maddeneers much needed to see. So, this game was still fun to play and provided a more immersive experience than ever before. And, who can’t love the fact that Collinsworth is no longer a commentator? I give this a hopeful 4/5 balls.
Overall, Madden 16 was a fairly good game. There were areas that were lacking, but most of these areas have been lacking since the 90’s. Madden finally realized that their franchise was starting to spiral downwards, and began to take measures to give its followers hope. They improved the mechanics, graphics, server stability, and even took Collinsworth out of the game. The future is bright my friends. This game saved me and I will most definitely buy Madden 17. Grand total? 16.5 / 25 balls.