Customer Review

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the best American Football titles in a while, 17 Aug 2010
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Madden NFL 11 (PS3) (Video Game)
Madden NFL 11 is the first game of its genre I have played for a couple of years. So what are the differences? The most obvious change this year is Locomotion, which eliminates the turbo button entirely and adds weight to player movements through inertia. If you've got a power running back who's managed to take a few steps unimpeded, he's going to gain a lot of momentum and run through people and tackles. This makes for an exciting running game, something that hasn't really been fresh in Madden since the introduction of the Truck Stick. And because there's no longer a turbo button, the game feels way less arcadey and more like a simulation, a decision that should be easily understood by football fans making their first forays into Madden.

I also like how they have changed audibles. Instead of just setting your own, you're given a handful from your playbook specifically geared toward your current offensive or defensive set. The brilliance of this is that it allows you to switch your play up without your opponent being the wiser - you're in the same formation and you've just switched out of a man spy for a zone defense, without actually moving or highlighting any players. It's an incredibly valuable tool.

With a headset hooked up, offensive and defensive coordinators will also chime in with their own brand of commentary through CoachSpeak, offering pre-play anecdotes and tips on what to watch out for. It's enjoyably immersive, but its real value is as a sort of tutorial. There were several occasions where I didn't notice a top receiver had moved to the slot or a particular halfback had been pulled to take a breather, so having that extra set of eyes is a layer of protection I wasn't used to, but welcomed. "Training wheels" is maybe too strong of a description, but by taking a bit of the guesswork out of play calling, CoachSpeak provides some welcome footholds for new players.

Those are all smart additions, but this year oddly brings a host of tacked-on features. I hate Superstar mode though. Here you take on the role of a single player and guide their performance on the field. Without the whole college aesthetic behind it, Superstar mode is hollow and offers no incentive for me to care about the player in question. They're already a professional football player, so they've kind of hit the ceiling, you know?

Another unnecessary feature: Madden Moments. It's a returning mode where you replay last year's craziest highlights, like the Steelers' pre-playoffs home stand against the Ravens back in December and the Colts' November win against Baltimore. I would've liked to see more classic moments in the game (omitted for pretty obvious reasons), but here's the real issue: Why would I want to play these moments when I could just as easily go online and play a game against a real opponent? The answer? I wouldn't.

Then there's the new Game Flow system, which ... it's just not for me. I've been playing Madden for a long time & I'll be damned if the CPU or a particular team's established play style is going to offer more valuable input in any situation than what I already know. If it's third and six and I see my opponent has lined up four wide receivers and one halfback in its offensive set, I'm going to blitz him like there's no tomorrow. I'm not going to sit here and let the game choose a more conservative, prevention-minded defense -- if I smell blood in the water, I'm going into a frenzy. There's something about that the game just doesn't understand.

Maybe if the team had passed on these gimmicks, they could have fixed the bits of Madden NFL 11 that end up suffering. The game's online franchise mode is still a joke even after all these years and the addition of the strategy pad doesn't really make hot routes or line shifts any easier. It's the same amount of button presses, they're just different buttons, which might annoy series vets. Considering you have maybe four seconds (at most) before the snap to move your guys around, being able to quickly adjust assignments is crucial.

Luckily, Madden NFL 11, with Locomotion, the improved audible system and coordinators feeding me tips, has taken a considerable step forward in the accessibility and polish of its on-the-field action. Or to put it in the common tongue: Though it's in constant danger of going wide, Madden still gets it through the uprights.
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3.8 out of 5 stars (25 customer reviews)
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Location: Northamptonshire, England

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