Football season is back and with it the return of Madden. In the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in the quality of the franchise with Madden 15 being fairly good and Madden 25 being slightly less so. With that being said, Madden NFL 16 is here and includes a slew of changes. Are these changes enough to make it the best Madden yet, or is the lack of gaming competition leading the franchise to the dumps?
First of all, this year’s Madden brings back some popular modes while adding another. The ever popular Ultimate Team returns and is better than ever, though I’m still not a fan. This is not the game’s fault at all, I’m just not very fond of using real world currency to buy players to better my team. However, it is fun to play with legends such as Joe Montana and Barry Sanders. Connected Franchise and online head to head both return and run ridiculously smooth. Last year’s iteration, Madden 15, had huge frame rate issues and numerous problems with kicking the ball. While these problems continue to occur in Madden 16, they are much less and far between.
New to Madden is the Draft Champions mode. Draft Champions is essentially Madden’s take on fantasy football. At the beginning, you’ll draft your team in a fantasy football-esque draft. Following this, you’ll play with your drafted team against real, online competition or computer controlled teams who have drafted their own teams. As a huge fan of fantasy drafts, I really enjoy playing Draft Champions. Not only does it test your skill at Madden, but it tests your skill at building a full team. I’ll definitely be playing a lot of this mode.
As far as actual gameplay is concerned, nothing has seen as many changes as the passing game. You can still throw bullet passes and lob passes, but you can choose how your receiver can catch the ball. You can choose to make aggressive catches, run after the catch, and possession catches. These help the passing game exponentially and make it feel much smoother. There’s also a larger emphasis on group tackles and tackle physics, which is pretty cool. Lastly, the same old commentary returns but is slightly better than that of Madden 15. While it is improved, it hasn’t been improved enough to not become stale after a while. In fact, I feel that if there’s anything in the game that requires changes ASAP, it’s the commentary. It is also important to note that penalties play a much important role this time around. It’s usually not that big of a deal but it’s very irritating when a player is called for grabbing a players facemask when his hands weren’t anywhere near a players helmet.
Overall, Madden NFL 16 is definitely an improvement over the last few Maddens. The online runs relatively smoothly, Draft Champions is cool, and the overall gameplay is much improved. Dull and repetitive commentary, the uncommon, yet still present frame rate issues, and bogus penalties, however, keep this year’s Madden from being the best one ever.
Final Score: 8.5/10