Madden 16 - 1st & 10... Thoughts... Well almost

It's that time of year again (well it was a few weeks ago) and American Football (or just football to those of you in the States) is back! Unfortunately it seems that my team's season is already over so I will just have to live the dreams of every Dolphin fan through the latest incarnation of Madden, par for the course really.

Your first introduction to the game is an Arizona/Pittsburgh Superbowl 50, definitely not what I was looking for... But the graphics were impressive and the multiple storylines that can unfold in the opening sequence does sound intriguing, I just won't explore them as I am not interested in playing as Big Ben and The Steelers. EA probably would have had more success here if they allowed you to pick your team prior to this and then fit the storylines around them.

It seems that Wide Receivers are the focus of Madden 16 with three new types of catch available to players; Possession, Run After The Catch and Aggressive. The game also seems to favour Wide Receivers over Cornerbacks in play as well, which is perhaps indicative of the NFL today. Through a few games my favoured type of catch is the Aggressive catch, and in the Red Zone it felt that once this catch type was selected the "defense" never stood a chance.

For example, this catch saw Jarvis Landry beating Skrine to the ball using the Aggressive catch button. While I accept that there is an opportunity for Landry to grab the ball, honestly Skrine should at least be able to jar the ball loose. This is just one of a number of examples through my first few games that saw a receiver beating their man to the ball in a less than favourable situation.

Stepping away from the flashy passing "offense" for a moment, the ground and pound attack is still effective. Playing as Miami I didn't have access to your stereotypical power backs, à la Adrian Peterson, but Lamar Miller had no issues running through the trenches. Unfortunately, he felt a bit like a pinball bouncing through the tackles and the controls just feel a little loose. Once you are out in the open your nimble RB starts to feel unresponsive with the reactions of a sloth, or overcompensating on the cutback which turns into more of a juke and stops all his momentum dead.

 However, when it comes to presentation you just can't beat Madden. The little additions in this area makes it feel like a complete TV production that Fox Sports and co would be proud of. CGI interspersed with TV footage really brings it all to life and it has come a long way from Madden 13 with its limited "TV style" pre-game show.

Clearly the guys and girls down at EA haven't seen Sun Life Stadium recently as there are no fans disguised as empty seats... Maybe after the Dolphins and Jets visit London. But at least it keeps the fantasy alive for those fans whose teams will let them down as the season continues.

Maybe next year my 'Phins will have their year, but until then there is always Madden. Thank you EA for providing me moments likes this, who knows when I will see the actual Dolphins manage it!


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