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Madden NFL 17 review: Latest in series offers few upgrades

Madden NFL 17 is aimed at a wider

Madden NFL 17 is aimed at a wider audience than predecessors. Credit: Electronic Arts

PLOT Everyone on the field.

RATED E for Everyone

DETAILS PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox 360; $59.99

BOTTOM LINE You may want to sit on the bench and wait for Madden NFL 18.

Football season is about to kick off, which means it’s game time for the latest edition of the Madden NFL series.

Madden NFL 17 features no new mode or refreshed visuals. The push this time has been to make it more accessible to a wider audience. Game makers have given Madden NFL 17 a control scheme with several different buttons — to run, pass, kick and defend. Tutorials are available at every skill level to coach players about positions on the field, the rules of the game, gap responsibility and passing concepts. Anyone wanting a deeper knowledge of football will find the tutorials a great resource.

Teaching extends to actual game situations, as well. When players run, they’ll see button prompts that indicate the best move for avoiding a tackle. On defense, Madden NFL 17 gives tips on zone coverage. The defensive formations also automatically adjust to the offense.

The biggest upgrades are on the special teams. These include kicking mechanics that give gamers more control over punts and allow them to manipulate field positioning. Also included are trick plays and mechanics that help defenders block a kick.

Madden NFL 17 also has amped up the drama when it comes to game-winning field goals. The rival team can now ice the kicker by calling a timeout, which makes the controller shake and increases the difficulty of the kick.

Other changes involve timesaving options in franchise mode. Formerly, the game took about an hour to play; now the Play the Moment option allows for a 20-minute contest that gives gamers control of their team at pivotal moments.

For each refinement, however, about half as many blemishes remain. So many fans may opt to wait for the next version.

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