'Madden' Brings New Features to a Classic Title
Kevin Washington | Contributing Writer
Coming around with the same frequency as your birthday, this year’s iteration of “Madden” is finally out. This year’s iteration finally rebranded itself with a brand new “Frostbite” engine. The game is significantly better and all around runs smoother with little but noticeable touches on the graphics. The biggest change comes to the game play with more realistic animations, improved tackling and better juke moves. Everything has been upgraded, except the crowd and the 12 people you see holding the same defense sign.
Don’t get me wrong, this game is better than years past, but it’s not perfect. Body types have always been a big problem in “Madden.” At times, you would have players like Marshawn Lynch looking slightly bigger than a normal cornerback. Body types have greatly improved with player models looking closer to their real life counter parts. However, there still is the stiff, lost feeling when players are in-between plays or waiting to huddle back up. At times, players will “clip” in to each other. These problems have no effect on the game play.
From a game play stand point, EA has finally addressed something that has been an issue in the past: realizing everyone who plays “Madden” doesn’t play at a competitive level. This year is the first year that “Madden” has three different ways to play: arcade, simulation and competitive game modes.
Arcade mode comes across as the easiest version of the game. It’s supposed to deliver a fast paced, frantic style of play. The game is on your side if you want to throw the ball 50 yards every play or only target your favorite receiver. Penalties are rare, and it’s the perfect game mode to fool around and throw an insane number of touchdowns.
Simulation is, by “Madden” terms, the most “authentic NFL experience.” This game style plays by all the rules and injuries. The plays you run are important because the computer will read that you ran your favorite play eight times. The roster is important because mismatches in any position can be costly for your team. Team overalls matter and the differences between players can be staggering. This is also the default mode for everyone who plays connected franchise.
Competitive Madden is the default for any tournament and Ultimate team this year. This is where your stick skills will dictate the outcome of the game. Penalties are limited. There are no injuries and random shenanigans are rare. Making reads and setting up blitzes are the only way to come out on top of this game mode. Ranked games will also be in this mode this year.
Ultimate team is a mode that similar to any real life card game: collect cards which are players and build a team. Ultimate team has stepped up this year with improved card art, smoother interface and more ways to make coins. EA took notes, having over 20 different sets and two big sets at release of the game. The two big sets take about a week to complete, but the rewards are worth it. The way you receive cards is better this year, making the game mode more well-rounded.
The key standout this year is the Longshot game mode where you take over a young Texas quarterback Devin Wade. You shape the story of this young man in real time, making dialogue choices as he interacts with his friends and legends. You dictate the future of Wade, taking him from high school through college to possibly the NFL. The game mode is about four hours long but is well worth it. EA put in a great deal of time to shape a unique world for the player to interact in. Some big name stars lended their voice talents, such as Mahershala Ali, NFL Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino and Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson.
Long story short, “Madden” is the same game just improved from years past. This feels like most consistent “Madden” in the last few years. With all the improvements, this is not a year to skip everyone’s favorite football game.