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Madden NFL 10

 

Family Friendly Gaming seal of approval

SCORE: 95

 

Madden NFL 10 Madden NFL 10 

 

The middle of August is such a special time for football fans and video game fans alike. It marks the annual launch of EA Sports' powerhouse Madden NFL video game. Some years, the anticipation of the game has out matched the actual performance of the game itself. However, this is not one of those years. EA has provided the most authentic football experience to date on a console. Period. This is not to say it is without flaws, but the progress Madden 10 makes in gameplay and presentation far out weigh any setbacks.

Visually speaking, Madden 10 is the most realistic sports game ever produced. The depth of player animations and attention to detail introduces a new realism we have yet to experience in the Madden franchise. EA has long had the slogan "If it's in the game, it's in the game." This year they have finally fulfilled that tag line. The developers worked hard to include everything from the chain gang to referees discussing close calls to sponsorships throughout the game presentation. When trying to decide what play to call, I once noticed my quarterback (in the screen above the play selections) looking over to the sidelines getting the play. Some additional presentation upgrades include TV style highlights and post game interviews.

With the new presentation system making its debut, there were some minor issues with some of the new additions. For instance, one of the post game highlights was cut off as the commentary was in mid sentence. Some of the player models on the sidelines (between plays) are down right ugly. Although the highlight aspect was a good attempt, I felt the EA team missed wide right on this one. The delivery of the highlights is so bland and inconsequential it may have been better served to wait a year until it was fully fleshed out. That being said, those are minor issues in an overall exceptional presentation.

Also receiving an update was the on-field gameplay. The pace of the game was slowed down a few notches. Which brings a nice change so the gamer now has more control over the players. The slower pace provides more opportunity to use the available special moves in a more realistic fashion. If some one prefers the faster pace, they are in luck, as the settings do allow for the in game speed to be adjusted.

EA was heavily promoting the new Pro-Tak (procedural tackling) system for this years release. The new gameplay feature allows for more realistic tackles (including gang tackling), new player animations, improved offensive and defensive line interaction and much more. You will find that as the quarterback drops back for a pass, the pocket will form around him and passing lanes develop for a more realistic passing game. One change I really appreciate is the use of the right analog stick for quarterback avoidance of oncoming pass rushers.  This may take a little getting used to, but can definitely prove itself useful once mastered.

Madden fans will see the return of game modes from previous releases - like Superstar, Franchise and Madden Moments. The Franchise mode delivers a much cleaner and user friendly interface. Making a debut in Madden 10 is the new online Franchise and Coop modes. The new online Franchise modes allows up to 32 players to play through a franchise together. Integrating the online franchise with the internet should prove to be a big hit with the online gamers. There is even an iPhone app that will be released to help gamers run their online teams. The online Coop mode allows for gamers to team up against the computer for some online fun.

The main issue with Madden 10 is the voice work. There are times when the voice talents appear to be reading the script from a card with little to no inflection in there voice. The commentary is still provided by Tom Hammond and Chris Collinsworth, and do not expect anything new here. There were some nice observations made by the team of broadcasters, but there were also some completely inexcusable calls when watching a replay. I once scored a touchdown on an out pattern to a wide receiver, and during the replay Collinsworth refers to the running back breaking tackles in the backfield to score the touchdown. This type of oversight is not a major problem, but since the focus this year is on presentation and realism, these types of mistakes should have been corrected.

Madden 10 is a fantastic game for both the casual and the die hard Madden fan. The difficulty and play calling settings can be changed for various skill levels. This allows for newcomers to ease into the intricate control system of Madden. The Family Friendly rating would have been higher except for the on field taunting, trash talking and sheer physicality of the game itself. These situations should encourage parents (if playing with their children) to discuss competition and good sportsmanship.

Overall, Madden 10 is the most complete and realistic sports game I have ever played. It is a must have for football and sports fans. I am encouraged by EA's progress on the Madden franchise and look forward to what is to come.
- Alan

 

Graphics: 98%
Sound: 89%
Replay/Extras: 99%
Gameplay: 96%
Family Friendly Factor: 92%
System: PS2/Playstation 3/Xbox 360
Publisher: EA
Rating: 'E' for Everyone

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