‘Madden 16’ remains eerily similar to previous versions

Adam Kreitzman

“Madden 16” was released Aug. 25, and like many players, it didn’t take long before I found myself purchasing it for $60. But I was disappointed to find that the gameplay was almost indistinguishable from “Madden 15,” a mere replay of older versions.

Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson catches a ball over Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson in a
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson catches a ball over Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson in a “Madden 16” animation.

As is the case with past versions of “Madden,” very few changes were made other than roster updates from season to season. With the exception of 2008, where the vision cone was introduced (later to be revoked), and “Madden 25” (2014), where the game was tweaked to allow players more control of offensive and defensive schemes, the variation between the different editions has been sparse.

In addition, the graphics disappointed, as they are almost identical to “Madden 15.” Had “Madden 16” added just a few different features that included interesting graphics, it would have been a huge improvement––instead, EA copies virtually all of the same animations from the previous version.

The most frustrating aspect of the game was that Electronic Arts failed to improve Madden’s biggest flaw: the terrible organization of the main menu. The opening screen of “Madden” is nearly impossible to navigate efficiently. For example, my brother and I fantasy drafted teams before the game, and after 30 minutes of trying to make temporary rosters, the game wouldn’t let our roster go through. It also saved the changes, which made us go back and spend another 30 minutes resetting the rosters to normal.

On a positive note, “Madden 16” offered a few small tweaks that made the game a bit more fun to play. The game was slowed down, making it easier to control the players; after five plays I was able to control the wide receiver on my own and make a leaping catch over my brother’s cornerback for a touchdown. While that moment was enjoyable for me, it certainly wasn’t worth the $60 I coughed up for the new game.

If EA directed only half of the money spent on advertisements toward developing better gameplay, they could have greatly improved the playing experience. Unfortunately for football fans, EA recently extended its deal with the NFL to maintain its exclusivity in the NFL Football video game market, which means that “Madden” will be the only football video game on the market for at least a few more years. Ultimately, those who want to play football video games will have to settle for the lackluster franchise.