Well guys, we now have part two of the new features! And let me tell you something; I am really excited about this one because it has addressed not only some major topics for me personally but also some issues close to the hearts of the community. Let's dive right in and talk about the new additions.
First up is the Special Teams. It truly has been quite some time since the special teams has gotten some love. We all know kicking was a gimme in Madden as long as it wasn't out of range. If you were within 50 yards it was basically automatic. This doesn't appear to be the case anymore. The new kicking meter resembles more of a golf or I think actually closer to an old madden kicking meter. The classic 3 click system: first starts the meter, second sets the power, and third sets the accuracy. The farther the kick, the harder to get it accurate. The common theme we have seen since the first blog is this: Ratings matter!!!
Next up for special teams is a slew of some what minor, maybe bigger to some than other, features. First off is the re-introduction of the squib kick which has been fine tuned. To go with the squib kick is also an improved onside kick which will allow you to better choose where to place the ball. A side note to this, the new ball mechanics which I will later get into make onside kicks more unpredictable than ever.
This next part of special teams I will group all together as it seems all the risk/reward feed directly into each other. New abilities to block kicks, and also new trick plays for special teams. Alright, let's start with the blocked kicks. Now in Madden there is an actual way to block kicks rather than having to try and find some sort of exploit. There is designated blockers who will be given the "B" icon pre snap. If you user control these players and time the snap correctly you have a chance to break through untouched, but then need to run in the proper path and correctly time your jump as to not cause a roughing the kicker penalty in order to block a punt. Though it is not stated specifically what is in place, EA assures that there is caps in place to make sure no one abuses the kick block mechanic. Hand in hand with this is the new special teams trick plays. The only thing really stated is that these will have higher success chances when a defense is all out going for the block. As it seems, defenses will now have to really decide whether they actually want to go all out for the block or play conservatively to not allow a trick play.
Now is ball mechanics. And this is honestly the #1 thing I am most excited about. It may not seem like a huge improvement but trust me it will change the game. Gone are the days of balls being caught threw defenders and the tipped passes that always just bounce straight up when broken up. For the first time in Madden history, the football will join the players in the Ignite engine. What specifically does this mean? As EA has stated, previously the ball was on what was called the legacy system which is the Gen 3 engine. Meaning that the balls path is almost pre determined. When a catch animation is initiated it is either caught or tipped out. No one can come in and jar it loose or anything. Now, the ball joins the true physics engine. And what this really means is that the ball will be organically tipped and knocked out of a players hands. Kicks will play more true to life taking unpredictable but realistic bounces, and here is the real big one: Say goodbye to the sack incompletions!! It has been a long time coming but EA states they are truly gone. You all know what I am talking about; the times when the QB is literally all but sacked and the ball just floats out the back and is an incomplete pass. QBs will now be able to be stripped and have fumbles occur on these plays. So getting the ball out when under pressure is now more important than ever!
Aggressive catch was a really common complaint from the community. And EA has done a few things to address this topic. Let me start out by saying nothing specifically was done to nerf aggressive catch. However, an all new "Swat Mechanic" was added into the game which is designed specifically to be the Aggro catch stopper. In addition to this, the injury has also been tuned. If WRs are constantly going up for aggressive catches and leave their bodies exposed, they will be more susceptible to injuries from incoming defenders.
Lastly we enter into new zones. This gets pretty technical and is a little more advanced than just your standard additions as this takes on actual NFL concepts. So rather than breaking it down I will just highlight the main points and let you read over all the gory details over at EA's website. In a nutshell, zones and defenses in general now work on a global scheme. Before, players knew of only their assigned coverage and that is all. They didn't know what their teammates were or weren't covering. All zones also have priorities now to stop certain routes first and will adapt to their secondary if the first route isn't present. In addition to this, zone defenders can now organically change into man depending on the routes run and defensive zones called.
That wraps it up for the new features today. As always, continue coming back and checking us out where we will strive to keep all the Madden news flowing to you guys immediately after it is released! Follow us on Twitter @DaddyLeagues as well as our youtube channel so you can watch all of our breakdown videos and gameplay tips.
P.S. Notice in some new photos some of the new equipment and helmets. Although nothing has been announced regarding it, you can see in the images some of the new gear. Enjoy it all you equipment junkies!