At times, Madden can feel like the most realistic game in the world. Most of the time, it feels like an updated version of Madden 10 on the PS2 and has NFL gamers begging for the return of the NFL 2K series.
Given the glowing reviews NBA 2K has received over the past few years, blowing NBA Live out of the water, fans of the EA franchise (which is dwindling by the year) are crying out for a better game.
While no game is ever perfect, you get the feeling that the Madden series has grown stale and with no competition, is able to just update the roster, tweak a few things here and there and charge upwards of £45 for what pretty much is the same game every year.
Below are just a few suggestions which could make the game 10x better, from better AI to dynamic weather.
Realistic injuries that actually mean something
There is nothing more annoying than sacking the QB, seeing he is injured then watch him jog out for the next play like he is totally fine.
There is a ‘glitch’ in Ultimate Team in which if you don’t have a back-up QB in your squad, your QB will not leave the game under any circumstances. So regardless of what injury he picks up, he won’t be ejected from the game.
No-one likes to see players get injured in the NFL but it is part of the game and to have that translate into the game isn’t a bad thing, it adds to the realism of the game.
When players are injured, they should be carted off or medics should help them off the field, instead of them just lying there then disappearing. My QB has hurt his shoulder? I want to see him get up gingerly then hold on to his shoulder. Come on EA, this isn’t difficult.
Increased penalties and the ability to challenge them
This is a tricky one. No-one likes going to snap the ball then being given a false start or neutral zone infraction penalty when you haven’t moved a player. However, that balance is right in my opinion. It is the blatant pass interference calls that gets ignored which need to change.
Opponents should not be able to deliberately bump your player while they are running their route to make it impossible to catch the ball. That is PI and should be flagged.
This leads me on to challenging plays. Instead of just challenging a play, give us the ability to challenge certain plays.
The spot of the ball. Whether it was a fumble. Whether his feet were out of bounds or not. When I go to challenge a play, show me my coach throwing the red flag. There are times when you KNOW both feet were inbounds but the ref has deemed it an incompletion and you can’t do nothing about it then get angry.
You should be able to challenge that specific thing and it should be overturned. Even if means the game sometimes gets things wrong on purpose, just so you can challenge it. It would mean you take better care of your timeouts. It is small improvements like that which make the game better and more realistic.
This ties in nicely with the getting rid of ‘nano’ blitzes. While people will argue that they are not a thing anymore, these blitzes that come in through the A or B gap with your C or RT standing there doing nothing need to go.
At no point should a defender be able to run at your QB unopposed. If it happens once then great call and set up by your opponent. If they send 7 and I only block 5, then of course 2 players will come through untouched.
However, when it happens every play and your O-line hasn’t picked up the free defender screaming at you – when they are only rushing 3 – then that should be erased.
One way to combat this would be to manually tell your RT, LT etc which player to block. If that player drops back into coverage, then your player should look to pick up the nearest defender. It’s 2016 EA, we shouldn’t have to worry about this glitchy blitzes.
On the other side of the ball, how annoying is it when you get beat deep because your safeties allow players to run freely pass them? Players will always find a way to glitch out defenders by mixing one route with another or scrambling out of the pocket, causing your defenders to break fromt their assignment or stand there staring at the QB.
EA say that players will play their zones better this year but I will believe it when I see it.
Weather that affects gameplay
It looks amazing when you are playing in the snow. But it doesn’t really affect how the game is played. Sure, the odd player may slip when running. But the snow doesn’t alter the way the ball moves through the air or how difficult it is to catch the ball. Look at the play-off game between the Seahawks and Vikings and how the weather affected the outcome.
Wind should not only make a difference when kicking field goals. It should make throwing harder. At the moment, it feels like every team plays in a dome. Would love to see a situation where you need a first down to have any hopes of winning a game. You are 3rd and 4. It is pouring with rain and very windy. Do you risk throwing it, where the wind could take the ball away from your receiver or the wet ball could mean your player can’t catch the ball.
Don’t get me wrong, losing a game because of the wind would cause players to throw their controller through the window. But that added realism makes the difference between a good and a great game. It would mean actually having a gameplan depending on the circumstances and not just using the same three or four plays.
Stats, height and weight that actually matter + tone down aggressive catch
NFL players come in all different shapes and sizes. In Madden, it seems this makes no difference. Taller WRs should have an advantage when competing for a jump ball with a CB smaller than them. We’ve all been there. Coming up against an opponent who stays in four verticals and lobs it up to Dez Bryant, who regardless of how many players around him, leaps up into the air and comes down with it and then shrugs off four defenders on his back to get into the end zone.
Bryant is probably a bad example has he actually has the ability to do that in real life. But when Terrelle Pryor is able to do it, regardless of stats, it becomes a problem.
It seems this year, only the TOP receivers will be able to make spectacular aggressive catches which makes it more realistic. But this should translate to all positions. Cam Newton should be harder to take down when rolling out of the pocket than RGIII. A power back should be harder to take down than a speed back.
At no point should a player with 90+ speed be caught in open field by a defender with 70 speed. Unless that player is extremely tired, at which point fatigue should play a part.You should be able to see a clear difference between players with 96 route running and 76. They should make double moves better, more crisp and precise cuts etc. Have a CB that has 99 hit power and he tackles a HB with 65 carrying, I expect to see the ball pop out or at least an injury.
Let’s start to see these numbers actually mean something.
This goes for before, during and after the game. Instead of showing me a loading screen before a game, why not have commentators talk about the game and show players warming up.
EA has the NFL rights, so use them! Have games broadcast from ESPN, NFL Network, CBS, etc.
Different commentators would be nice. Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth, Tirico and Gruden, Buck and Aikmen. Just some variety so we don’t end up muting the commentators after a week.
Even if it you keep it with EA (boring) you can at least take a page out of 2K’s book and show fans walking into the stadium, taking their seat.
Give us the full NFL experience.
Players running out of the tunnel, national anthem, give us the coin toss for goodness sake! Some kind of half time and full time show.
EA say the game is meant to show gamers “what you see on Sundays” but it doesn’t feel like that.
Not every game on a Sunday is played in front of a packed crowd so let that translate into the game. Where are the Cheese Heads? The Dawg Pound? The Black hole? There should be some atmosphere during the games which can also affect players. Playing the Raiders away and the crowd are on your back, I want to feel like I am there and not sat in my bedroom!
It is the attention to detail which can make or break a game. Recently, it would seem that the smaller details have been ignored and games feel rushed.
NFL games made by 2K got these things spot on. With a bit of care, there is no reason why EA can’t reach those heights.
Madden 17 is released on August 23rd on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One