The fantasy sports craze has been popular for a long time now. Each year hundreds of fantasy football, basketball, & baseball leagues are made for everyone to make their own team of players to lead them to a championship. This has now spilled over into sports video games. Ultimate Team Modes are now the norm for sports games. Thousands of transactions are made by gamers who have gotten into this popular game mode. What drives gamers to this popular game mode? Is it the idea of picking your favorite players to make your own team to take on other people who have done the same a motivating factor? Or is it the trading card feel that makes it an attracting game mode? But for everyone who loves this game mode there are some who do not like it. They feel as though this game mode has ruined sports games. So the question is: Has Ultimate team mode ruined sports games? For the sake of this discussion we’ll focus on the three most popular games: Madden, NBA 2K, & Fifa.
Madden Ultimate Team (MUT)
Madden Ultimate Team or MUT as it is popularly called, was first introduced in Madden 10. It quickly became a popular game mode in Madden each year as players complete challenge after challenge, trade, auction, & buy to get the best cards to make their team the best. I normally stayed away form this game mode because it didn’t really interest me, but I decided to give it a try in Madden 15. While at first I struggled getting my team together, this mode just didn’t move me. So after a few tries I felt it was time to move on.
In Madden 16, MUT was improved to what is called Draft Champions now. Now you can draft a team just like you would for a fantasy football league. I gave this game mode another try before I give my opinion on it. So after a valiant effort in assembling a team together to compete online, I can honestly say this mode isn’t for me. I’m not gonna spend more money on card packs after I just paid $59.99 on the game. I don’t really care for the whole trading card thing. I played a game online & because I had a sub-par team made up of current players & legend players, I was slaughtered repeatedly by people who had stacked teams. I think this mode has made other popular Madden game modes like Connected Franchise suffer. I feel like Connected Franchise should be given more attention instead of MUT. I think Draft Champions is a nice new feature but I think MUT mode as a whole has run its course now. I know there are some who will disagree with me but EA needs to give attention to other game modes & that way everyone can enjoy all that Madden has to offer.
NBA 2K My Team
In 2K13, My Team was introduced to us & its similar to MUT, with a few differences, but overall the same concept. Again just like in Madden you start off with a team full of no name NBA players & you take your team thru a series of challenges in order to improve your team. This mode has a similar Road to the Playoffs type feature, but you also have to compete in a series of challenges in order to improve your team. There’s also different tiers of player cards you can get but what turns me off with this game mode is again in order to compete you will need to spend real money to have a chance to compete. I gave My Team a chance but I just wasn’t moved to really get into it.
But what I like what 2K did was they didn’t hold back on the other game modes. Actually when I play 2K16, I feel like this game has something for everyone. If you like the idea of being your own GM, or like to run team up games, or even if you want to run an offline franchise then I have to say 2K gives you all of that & more. I feel that this game has something for everyone into basketball even if you’re not into the whole My Team experience & it doesn’t feel like all the focus was on one games mode for the expense of others.
FIFA ULTIMATE TEAM (FUT)
Finally we come to FIFA. FIFA introduced us to Ultimate Team or FUT back in FIFA 09. This game mode is the most popular game mode in FIFA. Most of all FIFA players play this mode. This is where Madden copied MUT from. FIFA however, implements this game mode the best. This mode also features a draft system but where it differs from Madden is the team chemistry aspect of this mode that makes it a little more challenging. Do you go with all high rated players or do you pick which player will best fit your team formations? The choice is yours.
The one aspect that I feel makes Ultimate team mode fit well with FIFA is the fact of the many different teams & players that FIFA offers, plus add in legends & you have a great game mode. You still have the option of buying packs to boost your team, but the games I played never felt like I was fighting a uphill battle. Even though I don’t see myself playing this game mode too much, it was definitely fun.
My Thoughts On Ultimate Team
Here is what I think about the whole Ultimate team game mode. I’ve played this game mode from all three games & I think FIFA makes this game mode fun with team chemistry & the fact that you have a bunch of players from present & past mix in very well. Even though I’m not a fan of this mode I found myself going back & trying to win those tourney games, to see if I could improve my team or get better team gear when I didn’t have anything else to do. You can liken FIFA to eating broccoli, you may like it or you may not like it but FIFA has tried to make it appetizing to play it. I like what NBA 2K has done & they have given you a bunch of other game modes that you can play so that if you aren’t a fan of that game mode you have other game modes that you can play. So it’s like 2K has given you a plate of food to choose from & you may not like one thing, but they have given you enough that you can’t say I didn’t get enough or I feel cheated.
Now when it comes to Madden, here is where Im gonna be critical. Now although they have added Draft Champions & it can be fun at times, I feel as though this game mode has become the vocal point of Madden & other game modes have begun to suffer. It looks as though EA has gone all in for MUT. This is their cash cow. While I understand that this is big business, EA has done so at the cost of other game modes. It’s almost like they’re saying “you will eat this broccoli & you will enjoy it no matter what.” Look at Connected Franchise. This mode has suffered greatly because of MUT. Madden used to pride itself on this game mode & they always made this one of the game modes everyone looked forward to. But now it seems as though they have watered down Connect Franchise in favor of MUT. This is where I feel that Madden needs to make a change. They need to take a page from 2K & give fans of the game what they want, a fully featured game mode not something short changed or slap a new menu screen on it & call it innovative. I hope will address this issue in the near future.
The Ultimate team game mode in sports games looks like its here to stay. As a avid gamer & lover of sports games, I hope that one thing the game developers need to be aware of is not to force feed us game modes that take away or water down other game modes we love. Even though this seems popular at the time, don’t forget what got us to buy your games. We pay a lot of money each year to buy these games, & we want to feel as though we’re getting a quality game. Not a game with a fresh new menu screen & you tell us that you’ve brought in new innovative features. Again I know some people love this game mode & will spend big money to make their teams great, but there are some who feel like we are being left out in the cold & a lot of us are your core buyers. Game developers don’t forget us hardcore gamers over here. We have feelings too. So what are your thoughts about ultimate teams in sports games? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.