The Adrian Peterson Effect: Madden NFL 25

7/9/13 in NFL   |   AustinBelisle   |   9 respect

The 2012 NFL Season showcased the talents of multiple quarterbacks and pass-catchers, from Drew Brees slinging for 5177 yards in New Orleans to Calvin Johnson hauling in 122 catches for a record 1964 yards in Detroit. Buoyed by the Spread Offense at the college level and an emphasis on the no-huddle, quick striking offense, the NFL has become a passing man's league. Long gone are the feature-backs of football lore, like Walter Payton, Eric Dickerson, or Barry Sanders. Instead, offenses run the ball by "committee," splitting limited carries between backs to keep defenses honest and open up holes in the secondary's coverage. The superstar running back is a dying breed, left to fade away as pass protectors and check-down options out of the backfield. But Adrian Peterson, the focal point of the Minnesota Vikings' offense and a headache for defenses around the league, is changing that perception on both real and virtual gridirons.

In this year's iteration of the Madden NFL video game series, Madden NFL 25, developers have chosen to focus on the running game. Specifically, they are incorporating a new "Run Free" system that will allow gamers greater control over running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, and RGIII out of the option. For most NFL fans, the release of the Madden games every August is synonymous with the start of the football season, and gives us the chance to live out our greatest gridiron fantasies in the virtual world. Though passing may dominate today's game, the minds behind Madden have taken notice of Adrian Peterson' s superhuman performance last season and made the running game a focal point of this year's edition.

Previous Madden games, like all players know, featured a standard set of moves for ball carriers to use. Spins, jukes, hurdles, dives, and the infamous truck stick made up the limited array of options. New to the Madden series though, are the Force Impact System and the Precision Modifier, tools that promise to replicate the action on the field as closely as possible. The first of many moves is the Acceleration Burst, which replicates the sudden change of movement a running back makes when hitting the hole out of the backfield. Contrary to some beliefs, running backs rarely hit the line of scrimmage at full speed; they must slow down to find the running lane, and burst quickly before a linebacker fills or a defensive tackle collapses the hole. Madden now gives players the chance to replicate the actions of Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson, whose patience in the backfield leads to many explosive plays downfield.

Dec 30, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (28) rushes against the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY SportsWhile running the ball, players can now hold down the LT/L2 buttons to activate the precision modifier, which opens up a brand new set of movements for the ball carrier to use. Stutter steps can throw a storming defender off balance, and jukes, back jukes, and jump cuts are deadly weapons to trip up a linebacker or secondary defender. By flicking the right stick backwards or sideways, players can execute these moves. Shifty players like Maurice Jones-Drew and C.J. Spiller will hopefully feel more agile than ever before while making defenders miss on the virtual football field because of these additions.

Interestingly, all of the basic moves known to most players are still in this year's game, but can be enhanced with the precision modifier. A spin, with the LT/L2 button held down, forces the ball carrier to cover up the ball and protect it while executing a slower rotation. Precision dives at the goal line force your player to jump over the pile or a lead blocker, and hurdles can be turned into a smaller "hop hurdle" once the modifier is triggered. While watching games, players like Ray Rice use their arms and hands to regain their balance after a hit, and the developers have implemented such movements into the game.

For larger, more powerful backs like Marshawn Lynch, precision modifiers can be applied to moves like the stiff arm, truck, and the all-new truck spin. A tap of the stiff arm button unleashes a powerful jab to the defender's facemask, while holding the button down allows players to fend off incoming defenders. The truck stick allows runners to bulldoze over smaller opponents, and adding the precision modifier enables a more forceful, powerful truck move for larger defenders. 

Along with truck spins, the dev team is implementing other combination moves, including spin-juke combos and jab spins to allow for a greater chain of movement with the ball carriers. 

While quarterbacks continue to break records and rewrite history books, its the running backs who are sparking a revolution on the virtual gridiron. For the first time in a long time, the running game is the focal point of the NFL's premier video game franchise. Adrian Peterson, you put the team on your back. Maybe, just maybe, you're putting Madden NFL on your bionic shoulders as well.
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