It seems like Madden games have been around forever. Almost as long as football itself. Well, not really but you get the point. And here is the next installation of this famous franchise, Madden 11.
The first thing to notice in Madden 11 is the graphics improvement. The game looks pretty neat and I really felt like I was in the real stadium while playing. The crowd screaming all the time really helped build that feeling, although I must say that the crowd did get a little bit annoying after a while.
New to the game is the “draw your own routes”, either defensive or offensive, an innovative new gameplay mechanic. What I mean by this is, in the offensive side for example you can just click on this option and draw a path for your receiver, and he will take that designated path instead of the one in the playbook. This was really awesome because you could actually make your own plays and it gives room for an infinite kind of plays. Of course, the playbook is pretty big, but doing this really made it a little bit more interesting. Also, since I am talking about offense it is worth mentioning that the passing system is both good and bad. It is good because it is pretty easy to select who you want to pass it to and what not, but it has its flaws. For example, each player has a square around them with a color; green means it is a pretty safe play, yellow means it is a medium play, and red means you will miss. Even with that though, you could pass it to a red guy (with three guys around him) and he would catch it. Same thing with green but in reverse, he would be all alone and he would miss it. So the squares didn’t really help much at the end of the day.
The function of drawing your own path though, was way more noticeable on the defense side. I actually used it a lot more while defending because for some reason, the controls to defend are hardrt to master, especially for me (a casual Madden player). I used this “draw the path” for my defense once the play was way underway, and depending on where the ball was thrown to, I would send my closest men over there. Even then though, it was kind of hard to master.
The sound is pretty good for the most part. As I said the crowd sounds are great. However, the narration on the other hand is not so good. It gets so repetitive sometimes, that they actually repeat the same thing one time after another, in succession; it was THAT awful. Not only that, but I have never really liked Madden as a narrator. He points out stupid things like: “Most of the times the team with the least errors wins.” I know right? How insightful is that? But of course, there is the classic “Boom” every now and then… now that is funny.
There are also a lot of gameplay modes that will keep any fan occupied for quite a while. If you want a specific match up you can jump right into exhibition and choose both teams. Or you can play a full season with your team of choice and try to make it into the playoffs. Heck, if you don’t want to play the season you can jump right into the playoffs. The only bad thing about doing this though is that you can only select from some teams and not all of them. If I am not mistaken (since I am not a big NFL followers) the teams you can choose from are the ones that made it into the 2009-2010 playoffs; which kind of sucks if your favorite team isn’t among those. You can still find the satisfaction of winning the Super Bowl at the end though, although it isn’t that easy (I found this games harder than the season ones, I never lost a season game).
There are a few details here and there that could make the game just a tiny bit better, like online multiplayer (the only multiplayer there is, is through Bluetooth) for example, but all in all its an awesome football game. It is without a doubt the best football game there is out there for the iPhone right now. I think every football fan should own it and if you like to play football games casually you should probably get it as well. It isn’t quite a full touchdown just yet, but it is definitely a field goal!
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|iPad addendum: Nigel Wood
Despite not really understanding the rules of American Football (I compare it to Rugby but with too much stopping and starting and the need for armor), I actually enjoyed playing it, and can see how the football faithful would love this. The new gameflow mechanic is great for newbies like myself allowing you to concentrate on the action, and forego too much strategy. And for those who like their meat with potatoes there’s a ton of strategy to be found with the detailed playbook.
On the iPad, the game looks pretty good, up there with PS2 quality. I was hoping they’d go with a style similar to the Wii edition with it’s cartoon stylings, but overall it looks good. The crowds are a let down though, looking like cardboard cutouts. Movement is good for the most part, but can be a bit choppy during transitions between animations.
I have to agree with the Jose on the commentary though, its bloody awful!
Where the iPad betters the iPhone edition is with the added screen real estate. Madden 11 features the draw your own routes, and on iPad this feels a lot more intuitive. It’s a snap dragging your finger around the screen assigning positions and routes for your players.
Overall Madden 11 is an excellent game, and shows EA are taking the iDevices as serious gaming platforms for their EA sports series.