Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Of all the more recent generations of the popular Madden football videogame, the 2010 version, which releases today, (Aug. 14) is easily the most hyped and most anticipated.
Game-maker EA Sports said it was listening to its many gaming critics and promised to make Madden play and look more realistic. For the most part, I think the game hit its marks.
I tried the Wii version and was a little underwhelmed. Madden seemed a little too slow on the Wii and making a motion akin to rolling a bowling ball didn’t exactly make me feel like I was kicking anything. The graphics weren’t very sharp and were very cartoonish-looking.
Even my 9-year-old put it down after only a few minutes. I did enjoy playing in the unlockable Super Bowl and Pro Bowl stadiums, though.
It was a different story on Xbox 360.
Madden has never looked better. A new online mode got my attention quickly. You pick one team in the league and play with up to 32 other users and compete head-to-head for 10 seasons.
I had a little trouble with slow upload times, but got the jist of it. Once you join a league, the game tracks everything that happens in your league down to trades, stats and injuries. You’ll find you want to know who’s hurt on Atlanta if you play the Falcons next.
You’ll also find you will want to horde your draft picks. This is a feature that will keep gamers going for months, and given that improvements to actual gameplay are getting incrementally slower each year, which you would expect after so many iterations, EA Sports could offer simple roster updates online every year and probably make a fortune for users who preferred to keep their old game. And Madden 10 is one I think you could stay with for a few years.
Other things I liked:
-- Slower, more realistic game play.
-- The game plays more like real football.
-- There’s a new Madden app for iPhone and iPod touch coming next week that will allow you to manage your team remotely.
-- Playing up to 30 seasons against the computer.
-- The Co-op mode where you and an online friend can control two players on the same team.
-- A new postgame show (very good) and halftime show (OK)
-- And I loved all the new graphics.
You can literally send the fans home with great play and watch them leave. You can gang-tackle players and announcers Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond are awful chatty -- and that’s a good thing.
Now if it sounds like I’m going to rate this well, you’re right. Madden gets 3.5 stars out of 4. But I asked a reader, a devoted football gamer, Keith Quick, for his opinions.
Keith is a loyal NFL 2K5 player, five years later, and makes it point every year to call and tell me why the new Madden still isn’t as good as “his old game.”
Keith actually gives Madden an 8 out of 10, but complains about the challenge play system. He wants to be able to challenge any play and he wants a route-based passing system. Then he saw some bugs, like a defensive back running the same route his receiver was running and animations where the coaches would get up in a star’s face and let him have it.
“That doesn’t happen in the NFL,” he said. “Maybe high school or college.”
Keith thinks EA Sports needs to rebuild the game engine from the ground up, like it did for the excellent FIFA soccer.
I think EA Sports has another hit on its hands with Madden 10, the best version of the game we’ve ever tried.
Langston Wertz Jr.: 704-358-5133; firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/langstonwertzjr; facebook.com/langstonwertzjr
Posted by Langston Wertz Jr. at 4:17 PM