I’ll admit to being someone who read about Madden 17‘s “Play The Moments” (PTM) as being something gimmicky that I probably wouldn’t touch. I have never trusted the Super Sim engine of Madden, and I like to play out all of my games in their entirety. But, I wanted to check it out anyway as it is one of Connected Franchise Mode’s (CFM) new features for Madden 17.
What I wasn’t expecting was that I would actually really like the feature, and plan to use it in my solo CFM.
PTM allows users to play a CFM game in as little as 20 minutes, according to the in-game screen touting this as a way to start your next franchise game. And if you’re using the faster speed setting (adjustable in-game), you definitely can finish a game that quickly, if not sooner.
In starting a PTM game you’ll still get most of the pre-game commentary before jumping into the simulation, which helps set the mood of the game and your CFM’s overall immersion.
Play The Moments Full of Options
PTM gives you a handful of options as the game begins to simulate behind you:
- · Fast – Jump ahead as quickly as possible
- · Normal – View details about each play as the game unfolds
- · Slow – Watch each play using the broadcast camera angle
I have used all three of these speeds, and they are all useful for their own unique reasons. I really love the slow option because of the “Head Coach-like” broadcast camera, but slow uses the played-game engine exclusively, meaning you won’t be seeing injuries to an offensive lineman, etc. This is a bummer, as this would be an option I could see a lot of people using, including myself. As it stands, I’ll likely avoid slow altogether so that I can generate some realistic injuries and other stats such as “thrown to” for defensive backs — a stat simply not tracked in played games.
Normal and fast mode are virtually the same, just at different speeds. You’ll get a really good feel for the simulated action using normal, but can use fast to move ahead if you’re in a pinch for time — or if the game is already one-sided enough that you just want to get to the end to analyze your box score.
Of course, all of these speed options allow you to jump in at various key moments throughout the game. Typically, these are third-down attempts on both offense and defense, key drives that end up in the red zone, and the end of the second and fourth quarters as a team may be fighting for or against a late scoring drive.
You can also opt to skip a key moment that comes up, allowing you the ability to simulate an entire PTM game without ever entering the action.
The option exists to “jump to next play” at any time and play just that one particular down, or all the way through the rest of the game in its entirety.
I didn’t see a way to exit a Moment once you entered into gameplay, so if you enter into a red zone situation, for example, it seems you need to finish the drive. You can pause and use Super Sim if you want, but I didn’t see a way to jump directly back into the PTM menu.
Another nice feature of the fast and normal speeds is that you will see injuries happening the same way they do in traditionally simulated games, meaning injuries to offensive linemen, etc.
I can also confirm that the injury slider affects not just played games, but also games that are fully simmed or played in PTM. As an aside, I’d recommend an injury slider setting greater than 50 but less than 70.
What surprised me the most and has me planning to use PTM in my solo franchise was how accurate the simulation engine was for this mode. As most OS frequent flyers are aware, Madden’s Super Sim engine has been atrocious. The development team has touted this as being fixed for Madden 17, and I can happily confirm that it is. The stats come out looking accurate, including the number of plays from scrimmage. You can easily use PTM for an entire season, and you’ll see your team’s statistics falling in line with the rest of the teams around the league.
Play The Moments Aren’t Perfect
The only disappointing area I saw in PTM is that any sort of highlights that are shown (post-game, etc.) can only be taken from plays that you actually participated in live. For example, I saw a simulated 60-yard touchdown pass pop up on the simulation screen, but this play was never shown in the post-game highlight package. Instead, I would see a two-yard run I participated in or an extra point as a highlight. It would be nice if Madden could retroactively create a highlight from the simulated script: If the simulation generates a 60-yard touchdown pass that I’ve only read text about, why can’t the game create a visual for this post-play to create a highlight? How would we know the exact details of the play, anyway?
The Madden developers could use this ambiguity to their advantage and create a replay of the event that took place, drawing from the stats created on the play (pass thrown by QB X, caught by WR Y at yard line Z, yards after catch 40, 60-yard gain). This was something we saw happening in (open the flood gates!) NFL 2K5 during the highlight shows (though those replays were admittedly all pre-rendered and on the disc, so they were always the same just with swapped out players). Madden could still do something similar, just take the next step and come up with a way to generate these replays rather than bake them in on the disc itself to save storage space.
Maybe this could be a way we see halftime and post-game shows of highlights around the league for Madden.
PTM is Madden’s best option for a true sim experience, but one where you’re also able to have some impact on a game’s outcome. PTM actually feels a lot like “Road to the Show” in MLB The Show, except you’re still controlling your entire team in Madden’s experience. I love the broadcast view used in the slow speed setting, but only wish it still used the simulation engine instead of the gameplay engine.
Overall, this is a mode you, at the very least, should try out. It could truly change the depth and realism with which you experience CFM.
Check out my streams covering more of Madden 17‘s “Play The Moments Feature in CFM:
CFM recommendations for realism: Simulate all of your preseason games in their entirety to generate some injuries. Use an injury slider setting around 60, give or take. Use PTM and go deep into your franchise experience all the while balancing the tougher decisions that this mode will provide for, such as:
- · QB awareness actually mattering.
- · Player tendencies having their greatest impact.
- · Injuries keeping you honest about keeping good depth at all positions.