End of Year Community Awards: Best New Feature of 2017

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Posted January 10th, 2018 at 9:30 am

With 2017 having come to a close we look back on the developments that have taken place and acknowledge the various efforts in sports gaming. The next category in the annual Community Awards is open for voting. You can check out the winners from previous years here.

Best GameplayBest Career/Story ModeBest Franchise ModeBest Team-Building ModeBest PresentationBest Online PlayBest Post-Release SupportBest Racing GameBest Mobile Game and Best New/Non-Yearly Game can already be voted on! Only Sports Game of the Year remains. All winners announced later in the month.

It’s always great to get innovative features from sports games and this category goes to recognizing such efforts. Among the features that have won this award in the past are the weekly commentary updates that debuted in Madden 17, Year-to-Year Saves from MLB The Show 15, and The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11.

Madden NFL 18 earned two of the nominations in the category this year with the introduction of the three different play styles (Simulation, Competitive, Arcade) and the return of online team play now creatively integrated within Ultimate Team and called MUT Squads. NHL 18 gets the other nod by packing in what could have even worked as a standalone game on its own with the very fun arcade mode NHL Threes.


  • Keith.

    Other: The new Broadcast cam in NBA 2K18, which zooms in and out as the ball is brought up the court. Love it.

    • Skopin

      Hasn’t that been in the game for years with the Beluba cam?

      • Keith.

        They modified it and added a new Broadcast cam option this year. It’s awesome.

        • SockfulOfNickels

          I didn’t even know this was a thing, I’m definitely gonna try this out today

  • BravesFan24

    I can understand the 2nd and 3rd features that were nominated but not the first. I would have nominated 2K18’s “The Neighborhood” in place of Madden’s play styles. I mean, seriously, the play styles feature is nice and all, but something similar has been done in sports games before. It’s not all that innovative. 2K’s open-world-ish neighborhood has never been done in a sports game to the best of my knowledge.

    • Skopin

      It’s a vote for Best New Feature. The Neighborhood is awful. It’s a glorified menu system that simply makes you “run” to your selection instead of being able to quickly select what you want to do next.

      I give them credit for trying to do something different, but they basically took the worst part of the Park (the ridiculous amount of waiting and searching for an open court) and made the entire menu system the same.

      • No doubt about that. It was designed with two things in mind and neither benefits the player: storefronts featured to push more transactions/sale of VC and places for 2K to sell advertising space.

        • Keith.

          I’m as big of an NBA 2K homer as there is around here, but I strongly disagree with your statement that The Neighborhood doesn’t benefit the player.

          From the t-shirt stand, to the practice gym, to the workout gym, to the minigames in the 2K zone, to the games in the Park, to the Agent’s office and my own apartment, it adds a ton for the player — I know all of that stuff (plus MyPlayer progression) will keep me playing MyCareer until September, when the new game drops. How many sports games have career modes that can say that? I’ll answer for you, None.

          Maybe it’s just me, but your swipes at The Neighborhood come across as someone who really hasn’t spent much time there. Your choice, but I’d bet The Neighborhood would’ve received more votes than any of these 3 choices. As it stands, we’ll never know.

          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DSY9IGMU8AANZ4T.jpg
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQnYlDeUMAAa73_.jpg
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQns1-PUMAAz00Q.jpg
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQnYxPmVQAAjLwt.jpg
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DQnXwMGU8AAXQjf.jpg
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DPXoFrEVwAAv34I.jpg
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DPRmZF5U8AAGoMI.jpg
          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMsEelSW0AAUC6K.jpg

          • Ended up spending too much time in the Neighborhood actually, which is the whole problem with it. It just wastes your time. It’s only purpose is to create more VC sales and place advertisements in view. 2 minutes to load and “jog” from your MyCourt to simply get a new haircut for example is absolutely absurd. None of your screenshots demonstrate any reason why such a layout was necessary. Everything there could have been done through the menus much more efficiently instead of forcing you to walk around with your character to reach a destination to complete the very same tasks.

          • BravesFan24

            You bring up a few valid points. I guess my initial point was it seems odd that Madden’s “play styles” gets a nomination for something that we’ve seen a similar incarnation of in various other titles. I understand that “The Neighborhood” or The Show’s “Retro Mode” aren’t without their faults, but they still seem like much better nominations than the first one. Just my two cents. You have a right to nominate whichever ones you want since it’s your site, I’m just saying Madden having three ways to play isn’t all that special, nor is it that different from what they and other sports games have done before.

            In fact, if you really wanted to nominate two features from Madden, you should chosen Madden’s “Longshot” career mode instead. It’s not as fleshed out as FIFA’s career mode but it’s still a more meaningful new feature.

    • Glen Willett

      All the neighborhood did was make things that you used to get done in seconds take minutes. I don’t know if there’s a poll out there or not but NBA2k reddit absolutely hates the mode.

  • Actually I would say that’s true about there not being much in the way of compelling new features this year. I’d take the fields of nominees from probably all previous years of the awards over this year.

    With the play styles, I give it more credit for what they were attempting to do in tailoring gameplay in those distinctly different ways than maybe the execution of it which I did feel left something to be desired. I ended up preferring Arcade which I would not have expected. If only it would have had injuries/penalties it would have been arguably the most true-to-life style of the three. But the concept is something that could end up making its way to the other big sports games in the years ahead so it gets some credit for that as well.

    • SockfulOfNickels

      I haven’t tried competitive yet but I find a huuuuuuge difference between sim and arcade. If you are playing sim, you better get your feet set to throw the ball, you better not throw in to coverage, and you better run the ball smart and look for holes rather than mashing boost.

      • ClubSteve

        they might as well have included a “madden arcade” mode if they wanted a true arcade experience…..sort of like mlb the show’s retro mode (using the tecmo bowl style presentation and graphics) would have been truly amazing.

  • That’s fair, it does provide that grander scope. Just a shame there really aren’t any tangible benefits beyond that.

    • Keith.

      Have a feeling this is just phase 1, and that they’ll build on all this stuff (rather than throwing it away) with future versions.

  • Skopin

    It’s still a glorified menu system. And as someone who doesn’t have a lot of time for gaming, I don’t appreciate having to spend 2-3 minutes at a time doing things that could be done in 2-3 seconds with a standard menu.