'2k' vs. 'Madden'
Comparing My Player Modes of Two of the Biggest Franchises in Sports Gaming
Over the course of the last 20 years, video games have grown to be one of the most profitable industries in modern times. Whether it's running down old ladies in your car or saving earth from a galactic invasion, video games provide players an outlet to do things they wouldn't be able to do in real life. The same holds true for sports fans, eager to experience the life of a pro athlete playing their favorite sport. Representing both the NFL and NBA, Madden and 2K have become two of the biggest franchises in sports gaming. And although Madden may have enjoyed a decades worth of a head start, both titles remain equally dominant to this day. One particular game mode that keeps fans coming back each year is the "My Player" mode offered in each series. Each side approaches that portion of their games in their own unique way. Positives and negatives can be drawn from either side. However, one side shows far more dedication and creative effort in their final product and that's what we will be looking into.
Maddens Lack of Effort
When it comes to the National Football League, there is only one video game franchise that holds any relevance. Madden has been the go to franchise for any football fan eager to experience what it's like to play in the NFL. One of the greatest means of indulging that urge is the games My Player mode. This feature allows players to begin their own digital journey as a star in the NFL. The game mode has undergone a series of changes along the years; some experimental and scrapped, others that have grown to be key fundamentals of today's product.
Initially, Madden's My Player mode was fairly simple. Gamers would pick their desired position and then participate in a series of challenges, all of which determined their value to different teams around the league. Then, one would sort through a list of offers and sign to the team they wished to play for. After several years, the game mode evolved, expanding its career choices to include filling a coaches shoes and even a franchise owner.
Within the past few years EA Sports incorporated a small storyline to its My Player mode. Longshot puts players into the life of young Devin Wade, as he strives to reach his dream of playing professional football. Although it is an interesting and unique direction for the franchise, it kind of contradicts the entire concept of the user chasing their own NFL fame and glory. To make matters worse, the experience feels shortcut, and you get the impression that the studio is trying to milk as much money as possible by stretching out the story.
On another note, even when you do get to play through an entire career that has your name on it, the experience seems somewhat... simulated. The setting remains in either the lobby or on the field the entire time. Granted there are a list of tasks to complete between games and throughout the offseason. However, the repetition from game to lobby to game can grow boring very quickly. Another draw back is the little amount of impact winning a super bowl ring comes with. Aside from the legacy stat sheet, their isn't much of anything to remind players of their accomplishments.
NBA 2K Hones In On Every Detail
On the other side of the coin, 2K excels in every aspect that Madden falls short. For starters, the experience on the court feels far more personal to the player than Madden's My Player mode. Little things, like the announcers calling your name when you win player of the game, go a long way in making the user feel as if he is playing out his own NBA career. Even the decisions you make during halftime and post-game interviews effect numerous aspects of your game, like fan increase and team chemistry.
As for the story mode in 2K's My Player mode, you get the impression that the developers care more for the players experience than they do milking every cent they can, like with Madden. As opposed to a story that cuts off until the release of the next game the following year, 2K's story mode starts and ends brilliantly. It's to a point where even after the campaign comes to a close and your character makes it into the NBA, you feel as if it has yet to finish. It is obvious that the creators did their best to produce an authentic experience that excels past the simulated feeling you get from Madden's version of the game mode.
2K also stands out over Madden in a variety of smaller ways too. For example, your accomplishments are integrated into the developing history of the league. Not only can you see every past champion and MVP of the league since its origins, but the teams that win as you progress through the season become apart of the record also. Another factor that proved integral to the games success, was the detail bestowed upon your characters life off of the court. Players are paid a set salary for every game based on the details of their team contract. They can then use that money to purchase clothes and shoes to be worn on and off the court. As the player's fame increases, they begin to receive offers for endorsement deals with different companies. Gatorade, Footlocker, Nike, and Under Armor are just some of the organizations that players can sign deals with. These deals come with strings attached, such as wearing a certain companies shoes in game to represent them. However, if one follows the applicable terms of their contract, it can add to the total amount of money they receive each season.
All in all, 2K goes above and beyond to ensure that the player is given the most accurate portrayal of what it's like to be an NBA pro. When you actually sit down and analyze ever detail that is implemented into their My Player mode, the hard work that was put into the final product is undeniable. Additionally, when you compare it to Madden's version of the same game mode, 2K completely overshadows EA in almost every way.