Call for a flag on ‘Madden NFL 16’

Football season is nearly upon us. It will once again be time to don your favorite jersey, get out the nacho dip and yell at the television whenever your favorite team scores.

Yet there is a dark side to football. It comes back every August, ready to disappoint and frustrate hundreds, perhaps thousands of gamers each year.

This year is no exception. “Madden NFL 16” will be released Aug. 25 for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4.

Do not buy “Madden NFL 16” on launch day.

The “Madden” series is considered the pre-eminent modern football game for its massive amount of features. While it will never quite be as good as “Tecmo Super Bowl,” the greatest football game of all time, Madden always strives to improve and add more content to hardcore football enthusiasts.

That is where Madden falters.

In its constant quest to make each “Madden” entry seem more realistic, EA game designers make “Madden” controls more clunky, more wonky and more difficult to get into. “Madden NFL 15” showed promise last year as some of the gameplay was streamlined.

Yet there will always be launch issues with “Madden” games. It will happen, despite all of the cool, fun features EA will include in this year’s game. Those features reportedly include more focus on on-the-field cameras and new player highlights.

Let’s not forget the Madden Curse, which assures fans that whomever graces the cover of a “Madden” game will eventually get injured or have some other calamity befall them. Cover athletes have suffered injuries or other circumstances so often, it’s become a running joke and urban legend.

Despite all of the fun shenanigans, do not give EA your money on Aug. 25. Wait a week or so, if that, after EA has fixed all the bugs and after you find out whether EA has kept all of your favorite online modes, before buying the next “Madden.”

Of course, all of the same old arguments against the newest “Madden” apply: It’s a retread of previous games, not enough normally changes between years to warrant buying a new game each August, etc. That doesn’t take away from how much fun “Madden NFL 16” will be. I understand that.

Still, don’t buy “Madden NFL 16” right away. For your sanity, as well as your pocket book, you shouldn’t do it.

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