With the recent release of NCAA Football 10 last month, it’s time to review this year’s version of Madden NFL. During the staff’s time at E3 2009, I was able to get some hands-on time with the title and talk to several members of the development team, and what they emphasized was that they were trying to take the franchise back to basics. Accomplishing this would involve taking out the unnecessary stuff, and fine tuning the current features. As soon as I started playing, I could tell that it had been completely overhauled. And this was with the unfinished demo. Not only was it more realistic, the mechanics of the title had been perfected. For the first time in years, I was looking more forward to Madden than NCAA Football.
Fast forward to the completed title. The first thing I have to say is that player movement within the game has been slowed down dramatically. The reasoning behind this being that in prior installments the unnaturalistic speed of the players just didn’t translate well, giving the games an arcade-like feel. Though Madden NFL 10 has a much more realistic feel to it, those who are unhappy with the changes can still readjust movement speed within the options screen.
The defense does a better job of responding to the actions taken on offense as well. This includes reads, as well as reacting to the executions of the offense. Defense will also have gang tackles of up to around 9 players on one ball carrier, with offensive players jumping in to push the ball carrier forward. It seems that the movement of the pile, either forward or backward, depends on the strength of the players involved in the pile. Just as in NCAA Football, the defenders that are defending the pass actually look to locate the ball and react to it while it is in the air. This is just one of the many factors that adds to the overall believability of the game.
But one mode that is extremely lacking is Superstar Mode. To be honest, I’m not sure why EA Sports even implemented it in this year’s title; there’s just so few options to justify its existence, especially with the team’s motto of “going back to basics.” Superstar Mode feels bland and uninspired. There is so much they could have accomplished with this mode if they had actually put in the effort. There are even things missing that I know were in the past PS2 versions of this series.