50 Best Games of 2016: #18 – Madden NFL 17

Madden NFl 17

Our 50 best games of the year countdown isn’t in any order, we’re just going through fifty of the finest the year has given us. Find out more here.

American football’s popularity this side of the Atlantic grows and dwindles in cycles, but the current rising trend in interest has led to multiple games being played in London, and there is growing speculation about a team moving base to London (possibly Jacksonville Jaguars due to their commitment to the International Series).

A constant throughout the last 28 years, the Madden franchise has grown from a simple educational tool for those wishing to learn more about the sport in an entertaining manner to a global franchise perennially played by millions. Is Madden NFL 17 miles apart from its predecessors? No, but it does refine some of the looser aspects of previous entries. The Connected Franchise mode has more depth to the scouting and a much-needed revamp to some of the Menu UIs, to name but a few of the warranted and welcomed changes. With well-received additions to one mode, come unneeded changes to the others.

Having a plethora of online modes to satisfy many different tastes makes the sheer amount of options is actually intimidating to anyone who wishes to play more than a couple of games in those four months when Madden titles hold relevance. With daily and weekly challenges, as well as what seems to be an unending list of other events, challenges and new cards, Madden Ultimate Team is unapproachable to some, but time-swallowing and addictive for others.

Once you’re in a game, it plays just as smoothly as previous entries; more so in fact. With skippable cutscenes and weekly patches to commentary, a game has less stoppages and the entire experience feels fresher for longer. It seems like the first Madden entry in which the developers have listened to many of the players’ complaints and reacted in a wholly positive way.

There are very few games that remain enjoyable even when you’re losing (Dark Souls, Super Meat Boy etc.) and Madden NFL 17 joins that highly esteemed list. You could be down by a 50-burger at half-time and feel that not only was it justly deserved, but also there is a glimmer of hope that you could come back and get a result.

Any connoisseur of gaming not already feasting on the delights of Madden NFL 17 is missing out. Do not be deterred by the pedigree of the series, the plethora of Madden Ultimate Team challenges, or the fact that it’s a sports game so obviously it can’t be any good and it’s not even a real game anyway.

Madden NFL 17 is a more-than-solid entry into the franchise. However, to finish I would like to posit that it could be a much greater game if it had not completely monopolised the NFL video game market. If 2K were able to create a competing franchise, it could be healthy for both sides and could conceive some interesting gaming ideas. FIFA 17’s The Journey and NBA 2K17’s MyCareer will hopefully inspire some change in the meantime.

For now, though, I ask anyone who has not done so yet, to go out and grab a copy of this game and play the hell out of it.

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