5. Madden 16
For almost 30 years Madden has been the perennial choice (even if the only choice, at times) for NFL fans. Throughout its history the series used competition with 989 Sports and 2k Studios to push the limits of football simulation. However, after ESPN NFL 2k5, Madden has held the exclusive rights to make NFL licensed games and the series has seen more poor iteration than good in that time frame. Madden 16 provided the facelift the franchise desperately needed.
From a gameplay perspective, the focus was placed squarely on the wide receiver/defensive back interactions. Previous Maddens had always struggled to replicate the battle that takes place every time the ball goes up in the air. This year players were given several options when defending the pass. They could either play the ball, making deflections and interceptions the aim of the play, or play the receiver by issuing a jarring blow the moment the ball was touched.
Quarterback play also received some much-needed attention. Prior to Madden 16, there were only two options when it came to the type of pass the quarterback would throw; bullet pass or lob pass. While those options are still present in Madden 16, the player can also throw back shoulder fades, high point passes, and low throws in order to take advantage of what the defense is doing.
Madden 16, while nowhere near perfect, provided signs of life from a franchise that has often been criticized as a $60 roster update. With more focus on gameplay and adding to the on-field experience of an NFL game, Madden can return to the gold-standard it once was.