“Beginning with FIFA 2009, the Ultimate Team feature quickly escalated into a mainstay, the result of that dream-like, pretend billionaire culture. It’s a distinctly American thing in terms of pro football, if seemingly stronger post-recession when this all took off. Built on the idea of artificial scarcity and tantalizing reward screens, Madden 17’s Ultimate Team reaches a crescendo. Pyrotechnics flare when menu surfing. There are flashing lights, tempting countdown clocks and shimmering gold borders, all reaching maximum gaudiness in Madden 17.”
Tag Archives: EA Sports
“This yearly iteration again includes the stadium and ticket price feature in franchise mode. That’s where stock photos of smug, smiling businessmen claim $7 for a plain hot dog is too cheap, and a $150 shirt made in China (with $12 in materials) was just right. It’s a mere sense of the NFL’s seemingly impossible profit margins. The league is worth $45 billion, after all. They have a high-class image to maintain. That’s what Madden has been designed to do.
Nothing happens off-field in Madden. Ray Rice doesn’t punch his wife in an elevator. 49ers player Aldon Smith won’t be arrested for a hit and run DUI. The Seattle Seahawks won’t cover up a domestic assault from their draft pick, Frank Clark. Dealing with a PR crisis may stain someone’s image.”
“EA’s bungling of NBA Live is even more remarkable, a stop-and-restart, cross-generational saga of stumbling releases leading to the late cancellation of a hyped rebranding—NBA Elite 11 was recalled days before fully shipping to stores. The full NBA fiasco, finally sorted by 2014, eventually led to an apology from the developers. “We fell short,” wrote Executive Producer Sean O’Brien—this after promotional teasers sold the next-gen basketball rebirth as “ultimate” because “science.” Falling short—and realizing it only in preparation to sell the following year’s iteration—has become EA Sports’ most enduring tradition, and Rory’s debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is just upholding it.”
“It’s a brand-over-player approach. The young Trailblazer star may politely reinstate EA Sports troubled NBA Live with his voice work, however the camera is drawn toward logos. Half court practice arenas are swallowed by the light emanating from Adidas’ background iconography. Scoreboards burn from the punishing white contrast flooding in from those three angular stripes. Then it pans down, not to Lillard, but his shoes. Turns out, it is the shoes to EA.”
“The developer follows a scripted pathway as enforced by the NFL in co-beneficial nepotism, which tends to sidestep reality for the betterment of their own PR campaigns. Scandals, off-field idiocy, abuse; you won’t find these seemingly weekly examples of spoiled millionaires cruising from their course of luxury. Madden is just the football for the sake of its simulation as much as it is a promotional tool meant to convey an image of glossy perfection. By default, Madden rarely exhibits penalty calls lest these players be seen negatively.”
“NBA Live has nothing to hinge on outside of its ESPN license, draping halftime shows with stuttering (if impressive) technical touches such as Wired coaches spouting advice in their timeout huddles. On the court, it’s a mashed up mess of weirdly darkened lighting and plasticine-skinned players. These stadium interiors mimic Division III colleges with budgetary cuts to bulb purchasing. This never looks like professional basketball let alone an interactive representation of the sport. EA “ignites” nothing, not even the light bulbs.”
Read my full review of NBA Live 14 at Blogcritics
“Madden 25 makes cursory edits over on-field sprains, tears, and breaks. Commentating team Jim Nance and Phil Simms make glancing, mournful statements about, “upper body injures,” while cameras pan around digitally recreated stadiums. Sideline reporter Danielle Bellini remains an ethereal voice with a microphone. It is endemic to modern Madden, lacking NFL production bravado despite movements to better represent blockbuster video packages in prime time TV slots.
Nance and Simms are often erratic, oblivious to late game strategies and misguided on downs. Halftime is a statistical shell placeholder, and boxy coaches stiffly show enthusiasm between plays with dire unrealism. EA’s fixation is instead their corporate sponsors; it is amazing how well placed Gatorade bottles are – label out – during post-game interviews.”
Read my full Madden 25 review at Blogcritics