Madden NFL 16

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Alas, Odell Beckham, Jr. is getting to be better known for roughing cornerbacks than making these miracle catches.

Sports games have this one familiar criticism: They’re all the same. But is Madden 16 more than a roster update? The answer is yes, but bugs are, unfortunately, part of the reason why.

Plot: N/A

Graphics: 9 out of 10

I gotta say, this was the biggest problem with Madden NFL 15. The graphics looked kind of last gen. This time they look almost photo-realistic, particularly with the models. It’s just too bad EA took two current gen games to catch up.

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Ultimate Team, which enables you to build a multiplayer team from scratch, pays homage to trading cards.

Sound: 8 out of 10

The theme song for the title screen and menus cycles through some pop songs. Some fit, some don’t.

The music for the games is rock-solid and with a definite football feel.
Gameplay: 7 out of 10

Once again, there’s passing. Once again, there’s running. Once again, there’s pass rushing. Once again, there’s defensive coverage.

What has changed? Quarterbacks now have more control over the direction of their passes. Wide receivers seem more agile and able to hold onto the ball. Thus, making big plays is easier than in the past. Be careful, though — secondaries are also more agile and passing under pressure or while stepping back affect your accuracy more than ever, so it’s easier to throw an interception as well.

Be extra careful with these deep balls.

Be extra careful with these deep balls.

Only problem is that this game is highly glitchy. During the first couple months it was out, it would completely freeze right after a game. There’s still some issues like bringing up the “save game” menu in Franchise mode (that’s your career against computer opponents), and it sometimes cancels, and you have to do it again. Yeah, that’s not like the game you just played getting nixed, but it is annoying.

Another issue I have, however, is more nitpicky. When you play Franchise as an owner and move your team, it would be nice if there were more than four cities in other countries to choose from. How about Japan and India on the list in Madden 16? Also, a player wishes he could be an offensive lineman in Franchise as a player. Then again, all you’d do is shove defenders around and wait for others to make plays. Who wants that (although I think you could do this several Maddens ago, and it was just like this)?

Challenge: 7 out of 10

Playing against the computer is pretty fun except for one thing: it’s a cheating bastard! When you break through the offensive line, your secondary will suddenly choke and allow separation, especially on third down. And it’s not just me not reaching the quarterback in time. I’ve been grappled for like a quarter of a second, yet that was enough for someone to get open. On offense, there’s some really debilitating holding penalties that can be a real drive killer because they set you back ten yards with nothing you can do to stop them because your offensive line is more or less automated. These penalties only go up on higher difficulty settings. To paraphrase John Goodman, “This isn’t ‘Nam. This is football. There are rules.”

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A quarterback's worst nightmare.

A quarterback’s worst nightmare.

Regardless, it’s fun to play the computer, though arguably not as much fun as playing humans online. It’s just the foul play of the computer that gets me.
Overall: 8 out of 10

Glitches not withstanding, Madden 16 is a worthwhile purchase. Not without problems, but a solid football simulation.

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