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Thursday, 03 September 2015 19:05

An Aussie looks at Madden 16


Another year a new cover and number for Electronic Arts’ NFL simulator Madden 16.

These guys need armour and helmets unlike the players of various rugby codes, they don’t need to deal with the constant and 360 degree action of an Australian Football League match and for the most part of a game they spend sitting on the bench or standing around on the field.

But there is something about American Football, Gridiron if you will, that makes it a perfect sport to turn into digital entertainment.  It is probably that it is a fantastic coaches game were picking the right play in the right situation is more important than the highly paid skills of the on-field players.

We’ve only dabbled in recent times with Madden, so it was high time we took the latest iteration out for a test run to see what all the fuss is about.

Firstly, where are the Cheerleaders EA Sports?

Ok, I kind of got over that fairly quickly, and then was a little overwhelmed by the options.  The new feature Draft Champions allows you to do just that, draft a top team from the complete NFL roster to take on the CPU or other human draftee coaches.  

We, of course went straight to playing a franchise season, not as a player or an owner, but as the most logical offering, the coach.

Gameplay remains offensive orientated as you would expect.  Quarter backs can now put a bit of finesse into their tosses, going for a touch-pass or perhaps a low or high throw.  Meanwhile Receivers can go aggressive with their catching, or instead opt to catch and run, with the increased chance of dropping the ball.

Defenders do get new action options as well, but defence is less individually focused on players like those on the Offensive side of the scrimmage line.

Playing a game is a strange experience now that Madden layers on the various goals as encouragement to improve your players (players can be improved between games through all the normal ways such as training).

These goals can be for the week (ie the game), and each player and head coach has them.  Usually they are straight forward such as a set number of QB pass completions, or RB yards in a game.  Then there are the Drive Goals, for each time your Offence or Defence is on the field.

Drive Goals can more than subconsciously change the plays you call.  A Drive Goal might be, get AJ Green to catch a pass for a TD.  So even on 3rd and Goal where it just makes sense to hammer the ball over the line with a run, you might opt for a risky short-cross play to Mr Green.

It really changes the way your approach each drive, and gives the team a better rating, and players more confidence when they come off successfully.  One could argue how it changes the nature of the simulation however.

We have been playing on the Xbox One, visually this game is a treat, for a sport where the action on the field is somewhat sparse, it is reasonably important to capture the antics of players and coaches as they prance around the field during the down times.  

Madden 16 does this well, looking very much like your average sportscast, even the commentators; Phil Simms, and the other guys, don’t grate actually providing insight.

The only folks that don’t get close visual attention are the referees, who, by comparison to players, should be much easier to animate.  And…..

Where the heck are the Cheerleaders EA Sports?

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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