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 17 is a sports simulation that's appropriate for players of all ages. Gamers can play as or against their favorite NFL team. But because football is a contact sport, parents should expect hits and tackles, though players wear protective gear. The only issue parents might have is the ability to play online against others and communicate freely with them, potentially exposing gamers to inappropriate language.
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What's it about?
MADDEN NFL 17 brings the gridiron back to your TV screen, with new gameplay features, improvements, and a graphical overhaul -- especially on next-generation consoles. In case you've never played one of the games in the long-standing series, it's a pro football simulation where you play as or against your favorite teams. You can challenge the game's artificial intelligence, someone beside you on the same TV, or online against other human players. You'll select teams with real NFL rosters, create and run plays, arrange playbooks, or even create and manage a franchise off the field. Madden NFL 17 plays out like a televised NFL game, complete with broadcast-style cameras, play-by-play and color commentary, authentically recreated stadiums with massive crowds, weather effects, and more. This year's installment adds new offensive and defensive options, along with enhanced special-teams play, new production values, and improved franchise features.
Is it any good?
This year's installment of the extremely popular football franchise is more polished, deep, and feature-rich than previous games in the series. Some of the new features have been polarizing, but overall, the best NFL sim series around is even better with Madden NFL 17. There's a laundry list of new features, beginning with updated offensive plays (special moves and path prompts to elude a defender) along with simplified defensive play-calling and formations. The game walks you through the improvements, which you can get the hang of pretty quickly. Thanks to fan feedback, the Franchise mode has been revamped with a Play the Moments feature, where you can quickly jump to a specific play -- such as dramatic third downs, game-winning drives, or defensive stands -- and something called Big Decisions that lets you choose various challenges and situations for added customization and strategy. Other additions include full player editing, a practice squad, and an in-game ticker.
Popular modes are back and include Draft Champions, where you draft your fantasy team of NFL stars and legends, and Madden Ultimate Team, which lets you build your ultimate dream squad with your favorite NFL players from the past and present. Playing other teams helps you earn coins to redeem for goodies in the online store or trade and auction off items. While the game looks marginally better than last year, with slick graphics and smooth animation, there are new "broadcast camera" features that add more drama, including more close-ups on your key player's faces. You'll hear new commentary from Brandon Gaudin and Charles Davis, adding play-by-play, depth and analysis. The dialogue can overshadow the gameplay because they talk a lot (and with some repetition). But sound effects are new, too, including hits and crowd cheers. While it can be daunting to add new features year over year, Madden NFL 17 seems to strike a good balance between delivering what the fans want while improving the overall experience with fixes and new content. You may not appreciate it all unless you skip a year or so, but this football game is a blast -- especially when played with friends.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Madden NFL 17 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 17 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?
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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.