Yesterday, we provided a look at the changes made to the offensive side of Madden NFL 16, which enable you to become a better running back or quarterback when it comes to your performance on the field. Today, we're looking at the opposite side of the game, where defense can make all the difference between a fourth-and-down stop at the goal line and an interception or fumble leading to a score in the end zone. Here are some of the changes players have to look forward to in this year's edition.
Making a Play Down the Field
First up, there's trying to get the ball from receivers after the quarterback has tossed the ball. This is a crucial moment for a defensive man, as an interception can really change the game when it comes to scoring – especially if the other team is down.
With Play Ball, there have been some revisions made, so that the fight is a little more aggressive. Players can line right up alongside a receiver to attempt a catch (or, at the very least, swat the ball away), but it's really up to them to make the play. From this position, holding the Y/triangle button for a reception will extend your window and allow the defender to make a play.
Improvements To the Tackling Game
When it comes to tackling players, you'll want to make sure you can hit someone just right, or at least grab enough of a hold of them so that they stop forward progress. EA Sports has modified a number of tackling systems in the game, not only to be more realistic, but also effective when it comes to the overall defensive game.
The "suction" that affected previous games has been removed, and both the tackle cone and match distance have been improved so that hitting a player is more organic, without losing any of the control or responsiveness you may expect from your team. Diving has also been tweaked, so that defenders can actually dive towards the ball carrier, instead of just in his general direction. This can really shake things up when you hit them just right, as there's a distinct chance you'll jar the ball loose – if they're not protecting it, that is.
Adjustments To the Game
Sometimes you need to make adjustments on the defensive side, especially if offense switches something on you or assigns a man to guard your incoming player. However, EA Sports prepared for this with the refined defensive quick adjustments. With these, players can adjust any of their defenders on the field without having to switch all the way over to them. It's a matter of selecting the right group (DL, LB or DB), and then choosing the adjustment needed while in the line-up. As Madden would say, "Boom!" It's done.
A number of other improvements have been made as well. QB Spy logic now has a stronger update, which will allow your players to be more successful when it comes to stopping quarterbacks who decide to rush. (This is especially good if you see someone like Tim Tebow or Cam Newton making a try for the goal line.) Contain Defenses and logic has also been bumped up, allowing defense to counter the rollout and scramble mechanics that QB's now possess.
Players also have the opportunity to make defenders in spy assignment give up the hunt on the QB at any given point during the play, simply by clicking the R3 button. By doing this, they can turn to another player, perhaps one that will be handed off the ball once the play is snapped.
Finally – and a few people I know will enjoy this – the offense is no longer allowed to use no huddle to cause AI defenders to be called offsides. This is an exploit that a lot of players used, and we're happy to report that it's no longer the case.
Really, what you get out of the new defensive game depends on what you put into it, but Madden NFL 16 certainly has a lot to offer. You'll be able to see for yourself when the game hits the field next Tuesday, August 25th.