So every year we get a new Madden Football.
Madden is under consistent criticism from the gaming community for year in and year out being merely a ‘Roster Update’.
Sometimes, it’s true. The first 3 years for the franchise on the Xbox 360 were positively unbearable. NCAA committed this crime in the 2008 and 2009 iterations. I know I felt burned when I popped in NCAA 2009 and it was a carbon copy of the game I paid $60 for the year prior.
This year of Madden has initiated some noticeable changes.
I whipped up a shoddy video to show you two things that stood out to me immediately; They seemed to finish what they started as far as post play analysis last year and really beefed it up with the Collinsworth commentary and they’ve really increased the options as far as the play book is concerned. I try to cycle through the playbook as much as I can, it’s hard to see I know and I’m sorry about that. I have no idea how to capture good video from my tv & xbox…
You can go to ign.com or Gamespot.com for a nitty gritty review, I’m just going to jot down a few things that I like and don’t like as a guy that has been buying Madden every year for the last 10 years.
-as was noted in the video, the post play analysis is nice and as far as the first couple play throughs are involved, the commentary is relevant and on point. Madden is gone, if that’s good or bad I just assume that’s relative to the user.
-the graphics are beautiful, in and out. They’ve improved the cut scenes in between plays extremely… the fans look great, the coaching staff looks great, they flip to the QB on the phone with the offensive coordinator and really make it feel like you’re in control of an NFL broadcast. Its just well done on their part. Fabulous immersion.
-I’ve yet to get into the subtle nuances of play, but it feels as though they’ve added a lot of moves to the defensive players arsenal. If you tap the LB, your DT will jump to swat, but its high risk high reward. You’ll fall on your ass and be irrelevant to the play if you don’t time it right or just do it randomly. There is a lot you can do and they’ve continued to beef up your defensive options. There are so many options, but once you memorize everything you can quickly tap a few buttons and switch your coverage or blitz your linebackers.
-The Crowd Noise. OH THEY GOT IT SO RIGHT. You can only kind of tell from the crappy audio my camera gets, but the crowd noise is rich and varies at appropriate game points. I had it running in the surround sound and I’m on defense at the goalline and it was just… it was like being in a game. Sometimes its the little things, they nailed this one and it alone makes the game worth buying. yeah, I just said that. The rush you get, the intensity, they replicate it perfectly and it’s a feature that is out and out a deal sealer.
-the control is still smooth. Feels good rolling out of the pocket and firing off a pass to the tight end. It feels natural most of the time, but the DB were getting away with murder on All Pro which brings me too…
-The CPU was very generous to itself in the way of penalties. I’m sure this can be adjusted in options and we’ll see how this plays out in online play (I have a retailer that broke street date, but I’m not going to push it and play online yet). I was playing on ALL PRO and it was pissing me off. Time will tell as far as the “Big Play” is concerned, as every year in Madden there always seems to be this one play that never ever fails. Like I said though, I just spun this for a couple hours, time will tell.
-The new play book, albeit robust and I like that, is kind of a mess and I HATE the way they’ve changed the button structure. It’s really unintuitive if you’ve been playing the game for a long time. Instead of it being the way everyone hated for the last three years and finally got used to, its back to the Sega Genesis days. Only not intuitive. It’s not the three buttons on top and the three plays that would correspond to it in order, its that B is back and A X & Y are your choices. I’m not used to it and I don’t like the way it feels.
– Running is still really hard against the CPU. Virtually impossible. Granted this may be because I’m the Lions and the blocking on a good day is piss poor, I’m only playing the KC Chiefs and they are shutting me the hell down.
-Advertising. Granted they are really capturing the orgy of advertising that the NFL has become, its just… EVERYWHERE. Snickers munch’em halftime stats. The Sprint drive summary. I’m sure withe PSN and XBL play it will only get worse as they will update that stuff. You’ll see movie ads springing up here and there. Blech.
-I’m not feeling the Pass tweaking that I’m used too. Normally if I want to put it up high, I tweak the stick up a little as I pass and it will get put up a little bit higher so the CB can’t get it and Calvin Johnson can stretch out and grab it. Again, granted I used the Lions and Culpepper isn’t the most accurate in the NFL, hell I’ll run a few games with Peyton or Brady and I’ll update this part if I feel it necessary.
So, Should You Buy It?
Yeah, you should. It’s not like you have a choice, they have an exclusive license. It’s the only game in town, so if you’re a gamer and you want to pick up the Lions franchise and rearrange it and find a way to trade for Tom Brady and pick up Mike Vick to run the wild cat YOU CAN DO THAT. And you can only do it on Madden. I can’t guarantee you’ll feel like it’s money well spent, but you won’t feel ripped off like I did when I bought NCAA 2009 or Madden 2007. It’s a lot more than a roster update. They really got the immersive nature of it all down. You are in the game! Turn down the lights and pump up the volume, this game shines in HD and looks and sounds absolutely brilliant. I will go as far to say as it’s my favorite Madden since 2006, the last iteration on the last generation of xbox. They got it right before the brink of a new system this time! I buy it every year at midnight. I got lucky this year… I know you can get it at Walmart or Meijer right at midnight. Do it. You’ll enjoy it.
This game may even pull me away from Street Fighter 4… Maybe.
I’ll see you online, we’ll do a thing with it that i’ll figure out later.