Madden NFL 17 might not launch until Aug. 23, but you can get your fresh fix of virtual pigskin a few days early if you've got an Xbox One. Thanks to EA Access, Xbox owners can play a 10-hour trial of the new football game starting today (Aug. 18), with all progress and achievements carrying over to the full game.
If you're itching to spike it like Gronk immediately, just head to the Xbox Store and search for the EA Access hub. Then, fire up the app and choose a subscription -- $5 gets you a month of the service, while $30 gets you a whole year (both renew automatically, but you can cancel at any time).
Once you've done all of that, head to the Game Trials tab in the EA Access app and look for Madden NFL 17. You'll be able to download the game just like you would for any digital title, and can play every last bit of it for a total of 10 hours. If you decide to buy the game after that, all of your progress will still be there.
Even if you're getting it just for Madden, EA Access is a pretty fantastic deal. The service's play-all-you-want Vault has grown to include such hits as Titanfall, Unravel, Battlefield: Hardline and Dragon Age: Inquisition, and even offers some backwards-compatible Xbox 360 titles such as SSX. You'll also save 10 percent on all EA digital purchases on Xbox One, including full game downloads and add-on packs. It's basically Netflix for gamers -- gamers that really love EA's titles, at least.
As for Madden NFL 17 itself, the latest installment of annual football simulation adds some neat new features on both sides of the ball. Running backs now have more player-specific moves, and there's a tackling mini-game that allows ballcarriers to try and break free from the defenders trying to known them down. You should have an easier time re-aligning your defense on the fly, too.
Special teams gameplay has gotten a complete overhaul, with a new, more challenging kick meter during field goals and a kick-blocking system that gives you a better chance at swatting away that crucial extra point.
We plan on playing lots of Madden this weekend, so look forward to tips and impressions. Or, just fire up your Xbox One and play for yourself.