A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Madden NFL 16 is a professional football simulation. Gamers can play as or against their favorite NFL teams or even create a player from scratch -- even based on their own likenesses -- in some modes. Football is a contact sport, but players wear protective gear. There isn't any controversial content, but be aware of lots of advertising (on billboards, on apparel, and so on) and the fact that, if they're using multiplayer modes, kids could talk online to complete strangers.
What's it about?
The most popular sports video game in the U.S. is back. MADDEN NFL 16 introduces new Playmaker controls including body-relative throws (overhead and shoestring tosses) and touch passes for quarterbacks. There's also a new risk/reward catch and a pass-defend system for receivers and defenders that make it more like the real game. Along with the usual solo and multiplayer games (which can be played on the same TV or over the Internet), Madden NFL 16 includes new ways to play, such as the fast-paced Draft Champions, where you draft your fantasy team of NFL stars and legends of the game. The Connected Franchise lets you build your team with more "game prep" (on the field or in front-office transactions) between matchups. Finally, Madden Ultimate Team lets you make your ultimate dream team with your favorite players from the past and present, while earning coins to redeem for goodies, trade and auction items, and take on challenges. Broadcast-style graphics are integrated into your plays, so your highlight reel benefits from new on-the-field cameras, play spotlights, dynamic goals, and achievements, rewarding your efforts with slick videos to watch later.
Is it any good?
If it's been a while since you picked up a football game, you're in for a treat. Across the board, improvements have been made in the areas of gameplay, interface, control, modes, and presentation. It builds upon last year's underrated Madden NFL 15, and the most significant update is in the new Playmaker controls, which give you more options in both offensive and defensive plays. Along with more options on where and how the QB throws the ball down the field, you'll have three options: a possession catch, a run after catch (RAC), and an aggressive midair catch (which is harder to pull off). The replay videos are now more fun to watch. Three new defensive moves earn you more Playmaker clout, as well. When it comes to new modes, the über-customizable Draft Champions is garnering quite a bit of buzz online -- and for good reason. Draft Champions brings fantasy football into a whole new direction, making it even more rewarding. As with Madden Ultimate Team, you're tasked with creating the best team possible through 15 rounds of draft picks.
Also in this new game is Skills Trainer, an optional mode with more than 60 tutorials and drills, all designed to teach tactics behind different passing and run concepts. Gauntlet mode also returns with all-new Boss Battles and Extra Life challenges. In other words, there's a lot of meat on the bone here. Football fans, Madden NFL 16 is worth the investment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Madden NFL 16 could possibly get kids to be more active and play football outside. Naturally, EA Sports wants you to play the video game, but how can parents turn interest in the game into outside activity? Check out our blog on handling screen time with kids.
Talk about the yearly release of sports games. Are these basically roster-updated titles, or is there enough new content to justify the purchase of a new game?
Madden NFL 16 packs a ton of branding and logos from different companies across the entire game, from the menu screens to the individual players. Is this heavy amount of branding an attempt to fully recreate the real-life environments, or do you feel like there's a large-scale attempt to sell to players?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
Science: gravity, measurement, motion
Social Studies: events
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, strategy
Creativity: making new creations
Self-Direction: achieving goals, set objectives, time management
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: EA Sports
- Release date: August 24, 2015
- Genre: Sports
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Great Boy Role Models
- ESRB rating: E
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.