Madden NFL 09 Review
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Madden 09, EA Sports' 20th installment of the franchise, has proven that the series only gets better with age. The publisher has finally outdone itself by releasing the premiere football title of this generation thus far.
- Casual gamers and newcomers will finally feel comfortable jumping into the Madden fray
- The graphics are incredible
- Madden Moments are perfect
- The announcers are horrid
- Online play still features lag
The Madden football franchise has come a long way since its inception in 1988 when it became the first 11-on-11 football experience. With the release of Madden 09, EA Sports is celebrating the 20th season in Madden football history, something that is unheard of in the gaming industry. Not only has Madden released on a year-to-year basis, but the series has consistently been a top selling title within the business each season.
Many diehards have been waiting patiently for EA Sports to deliver a true next generation football experience. Madden NFL 09 has proven itself to be that deliverance. The title, which some feel is a rinse and repeat occurrence, has implemented various new features to not only freshen up the franchise, but to bring it to an entirely new level.
This year, EA has crafted Madden into a more 'pick up and play' experience, primarily through the newly implemented Madden IQ Test. The test, which allows users to display their skills in order to create a custom difficulty setting, creates an atmosphere in which the casual gamer can pick up a controller and compete competently in a challenging environment. This newly created feature allows the Madden franchise to be more accessible to new users than ever before.
While this idea sounds fantastic, it unfortunately doesn’t work as well as one would hope. The custom difficulty provided usually ends up being far too easy. Luckily, they have also added the ability to customize the difficulty beyond the IQ test. If gamers are willing to put in ten to fifteen minutes of their time, they can create a perfect blend of four sliders that will offer them the playing experience they’re looking for.
The Madden IQ test isn’t the only open-arms welcome that Madden NFL 09 offers to newcomers. Madden 09 features a completely new “Game Styles” option that gives the user a lot more control over how difficult the game plays. The Game Styles are broken into four categories: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Hardcore. Beginner has the computer select plays for you, while you execute them. Intermediate lets you choose between a non-specific run, pass, or special teams play. Advanced gives you the ability to select between formations in order to find your play of choice. As indicated, Hardcore is for the player that needs no help at all. These simple play styles have turned the Madden franchise into a universal title that can be played by gamers of all ages.
These new implementations for the casual gamer haven’t left the hardcore Madden players completely in the cold. EA Sports has brought back a ton of features from the last generation that these players will appreciate such as slide protection, formation subs on the fly and rivalry games. This great mix of hardcore and casual additions have allowed Madden to become a much more sound title overall.
As for the actual gameplay modes, such as Franchise and Superstar, EA has taken the position of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. That may leave some enthusiasts wishing for a bit more, but the franchise still offers the same in-depth style of gaming that it always has. Gamers are still able to take their favorite franchise and build it from the ground up or continue its gloried history of consistency to win the Super Bowl over the course of 30 seasons.
The same can be said for the Superstar mode, as users can expect the same as last year. There are a few new additions like the ability to perfect certain Madden Weapon skills through individual workouts prior to the draft, though that's pretty much where the change stops. Everything else is ultimately the same as it always has been, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but much like the Franchise mode, gamers do deserve to have something added in order to freshen up the general experience.
For those of you looking for an entirely original mode, you’ll find yourself enjoying the newly added Madden Moments. There are 34 Madden Moments overall that have been pulled from last season in which users will either have to replicate history or change it forever. One of my personal favorite moments involves taking the Browns down the field with 26 ... (continued on next page)