Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Madden NFL 11 on PS3 Impression

A new year, a new Madden with online play and tournaments galore (including this one from GameStop). Gamers know this is the deepest football title on any console, that the graphics will be amazing and presentation top notch so why review? Why take a look at a game that gets better and better with age, takes chances on new features (quarterback sight cone) even when risk is not needed (hello exclusive NFL license)? That’s why we are here, to take a more casual gamer look at Madden NFL 11 on PlayStation 3 and what all the hubbub is about.

Gameplay – It’s football of the finest kind but accessible due to a number of new features that will please causal footballers while allowing vets the control they love. Modes include exhibition, getting right into a game, Super Bowl XLV which is another get in and play mode of the big game, AFL Mode with the original 8 AFL teams (and a fun retro look), Franchise mode spanning three decades as well as the ability to play online. There are levels to each of these modes like being able to import a Superstar created in NCAA Football 11 and the ability to assemble the ultimate Madden team. In-game features that make this arguable the most accessible Madden since the Genesis days. Audibles have been made as easy as push one button then select audible type. Gameflow is the best change in that gamers can avoid the playbook if they so choose shortening games from around an hour to 20-30 minutes. Great for getting in and playing a full schedule but there is still the ability to go with Madden choices on plays, pick from the playbook, customize the playbook and just get as geeky as desired. Another change made which will get a bit annoying after a few games but is very helpful for noobs is the CoachSpeak and Coach Tips which gives the gamer advice on plays based on situation. It’s not just a game but a way to learn real football. These features can be switched off but give them a try, nobody knows everything, the learning should never stop. Finally the last features, minor as it may seem, is the ability to point to the player gamers wish to control rather than cycle through every player. Don’t get stuck with a CB when the DL is what was desired.

Graphics – Player models look more amazing than last year and the menu structure is solid and vivid. The opening sequence with live video and a more HD feel to the opening menus is welcome and very well presented. The overall look screams to more than just a gaming experience but rather the event Madden has become. Solid on all fronts with no complaints here … looks great.

Sound – Soundtrack is a mix of number of music genres, decent but hearing Bush from the 90’s, really. The commentators and coach speak voices are well done and keep the action flowing. Gamers will choose to either listen or drown them out as white noise as with a real game. All the canned tackle sounds, player grunts and trash talking get the job done; it’s a great game day experience.

Design – Tweaked and tweaked well. Madden has no true competition yet it takes chances which can be great or just frustrating. The design is ever evolving and 11 is no exception with speedier gameplay and integrated tips to help noobs and vets alike. A game design that appeals to those wanting a fast exhibition, quick online match, franchise experience or total control of playbook and it’s all done in one game, one package that is seamless. Very well design tweaks to an already solid title.

Miscellaneous – Gameflow is outstanding for the casual football gamer. Get in, get plays picked and get to it in about 20-30 min. Being able to get a solid game of Madden in under an hour is outstanding.

Overall, this is video game football at its best simplified a bit for the more casual gamer. While hardcore Madden fans may not dig all the changes, sadly it does not matter. Madden junkies will come back every year and EA is not silly enough to wreck the game but they are insightful enough to try to pull in new gamers. A polished product worthy of the praise and events around its release.

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