I have a love-hate relationship with Madden.

Overall, I love the game. I have an Xbox just for Madden, I have zero other games and I don’t use any of the other features.

But I hate the little things they do to try and ‘improve’ the game.

We’ll start with the positives. First and most importantly, there doesn’t seem to be any freezing issues! The last couple years, across all platforms, there were issues of freezing. There was nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a game or doing roster management in Franchise Mode and the game freezes up. So far, so good.

The gameplay is quite a bit of fun. The big new addition is that you can decide the receivers focus while the ball is in the air, choosing between running after the catch, possession catch, etc. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same. The camera angle is a bit different and you run into problems with it when you run Triple Options and after interceptions, due to the extra zoom, but that’s minor.

It’s going to seem like I have a lot more negatives than positives but that’s because overall, it’s a pretty solid game for Madden die-hards. Most of the positive aspects remain untouched.

But there are negatives. There’s a huge new negative and one that remains from the last few years.

First up, the new negative. They completely messed up Fantasy Drafts. It’s a much simpler layout now which takes away my favorite feature, sorting. I would always sort by age, speed and others, especially in the later rounds. If you want to take a shot on a younger guy and find him quickly in a late round, you’ll have to scroll throughout all the names until you find him. Seems like a pretty simple feature to keep around, I don’t understand removing it.

The negative that’s been around for awhile now is not being able to edit ratings, with any Game Mode. If you want to have the default Game Mode built around their stupid extra points and such, that’s fine. But there should be an option going into Connected Franchise that allows you to to be able to edit ratings for any player you want. It’s a video game, EA should stop taking it so serious.

The intro is boring and really long, and I didn’t find a way to skip it. It’s EA wanting to push the Madden Vehicle further and try and show off, but it ends up just pissing people off. You fire up the game and after a bunch of needed updates, you’ll be sitting in the interactive intro for another half-hour.

The music is repetitive, seems like they cycle through the same five or six songs, like every year. Also, in Franchise Mode, there doesn’t seem to be a way to get your opponents to wear throwbacks, as you can only edit your uniforms. Again, stupid and unnecessary.

One thing I did find interesting when editing players is that all the players default to Nike shoes except for Notre Dame players, who were all defaulted to Under Armour.

Overall, if you’re a huge Madden fan, the game is worth buying again. I’ll play it a ton, despite its flaws, and enjoy it. If you’re a casual fan of Madden and deciding whether or not to buy it, there’s nothing in this game that makes you need to rush to get it, if you get it at all.

We can only hope that one of these years, they follow the lead of the 2K franchise and let us edit and customize everything. Because again, it’s a game.

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