I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought a Madden game. My peak Madden-playing time was during the SEGA Genesis era, and during that time I bought and played Madden every single year. But when I got a PlayStation, I moved over to NFL Gameday, and later the 2K series, before dropping out of most sports games altogether. Couch co-op is just not something I really have with my friends anymore (we are spread out across the country), and many of my gaming friends now are not into sports games at all.
And yet, I bought Madden 17.
I’m still not sure why, but I think it was a mix of two things–the fact that my fantasy football draft was this past weekend, and the fact that I actually had the money to buy the game (which is a rare occurrence these days). I’d also heard some good things about this year’s iteration, so I decided to grab it.
And you know what? Madden 17 makes a pretty great first impression.
You literally start the game late in the fourth quarter of a playoff game between Redskins and the Rams. You’re thrown right into the action, and while it’s a bit scripted, the success or failure of your comeback attempt is completely up to you. I stalled out on the one yardline as time expired, and I lost. But it was a great way to get introduced to this year’s Madden.
After that, the game asks you what level you want to start playing at. The Rookie level is for those completely new to Madden, and the Pro level is for those who’ve played sports games, but aren’t Madden experts. All-Pro and All-Madden are for the folks who are very well-versed in Madden games.
I chose Pro, and dove into the very robust tutorial system, which is actually pretty fun. In addition to doing the usual offensive and defensive drills, you can test your skill in the Gauntlet, a survival-style mode where you have to complete challenges to keep going. If you fail a certain amount of times, you’re done. The game keeps track of what your personal best is, so it makes you want to keep coming back to best your score. This is a really smart way of incentivising practice, and I already spent more time in it than any previous tutorial mode in a sports game.
So, my first impression of Madden 17 is that it’s very welcoming to both new and old players, and offers a fun way to learn both the basics and more advanced systems of the game. I’ll be writing more about my experience with the game when I jump into season mode soon.