Here comes the official pnosker.com review of Madden 11 for PS3 just a little less than a week after its release. While we couldn't get a copy from EA to review, it turns out it was well worth the price to buy Madden myself. But how does it stack up against other editions of Madden and is it the best one so far on this current generation of systems? Keep reading after the jump to find out.
Madden 10 was a really great step in the right direction for Madden. They stepped up the presentation with the edition of the Extra Point show in franchise mode as well as things like faux interviews on the field after the game. Things like Pro-Tak were also added that gave the game a little more authenticity in areas like gang tackling amongst others. This Madden really didn't have any big time additions like the previous editions, but follows the MVP Baseball 2005 strategy of just improving what features you already have to make the best game possible.
After reading our impressions of the demo, you're probably wondering how I changed my tune so much in just a couple weeks with just a week of playing Madden. Well it turns out once you play the games and modes, you really start to notice the subtleties much like in NCAA. You just have to keep playing and playing to notice what's really improved.
Juking first of all finally feels right especially with the slower game speed they introduced in last year's game. You can see the moves in their entirety and they don't just look like people jumping sideways anymore. It's really just a fake essentially and the dual stick control, which really is a hassle for me, if harnessed, can be an asset. You can't just truck through guys anymore. The highlight stick or whatever they call it these days feels as well tuned as it ever has.
My favorite new addition to the game may be the most subtle of all: the way Quarterbacks throw the ball. Not every throw to an open receiver is caught anymore. Balls will fall short. Balls will be overthrown. It doesn't feel like the ball is telegraphed to a receiver or defender anymore; it all feels perfectly natural, something that hasn't been true for at least a few years.
The Pro-Tak from last year's game seems to have been de-emphasized to a degree. There is still some gang tackling but it's rare compared to last year at least. While it was ramped up in NCAA, Madden took it down a notch which is disappointing. The kick return game is also horribly broken. It's basically impossible to get the ball past the 25 yard line. Whether it's because the ball's being kicked too far or the returners are too slow is unknown to me though I'd bet on the former since every ball is kicked into the endzone.
There's also the new kicking mechanic to mention. It takes a little getting used to but probably isn't any more difficult than the last one, unless you're using a horrid kicker. Also it can feel a little spotty at times. Sometimes if you miss a fraction to the right on the second click, you'll hit it down the middle. Miss just a little more to the right, and you miss extra points. But overall since it does differentiate between kickers, it is a solid addition and probably will be tuned in the next patch.
Injuries are also something of a problem as games with injuries on feel like bloodbaths often. There are just too many players getting hurt. There should definitely be fewer serious injuries while there can be as many "1 Quarter" injuries as EA pleases.
Now onto GameFlow. It's completely for people new to Madden. The game will call plays for you and tell you what to do in all situations including when to punt and such. However it also makes the game call plays suited to your general style over time which can be nice. So it can be useful but overall, most veteran Maddenites will probably want to turn it off.
The Strategy Pad, the new way of calling pre-snap audibles, has been universally loathed on a vision cone like level, due to the slow down in the ability to call said adjustments. However, EA has promised a patch by week 1 of the NFL season in September to have the old way back as an option. I rarely use any adjustments outside of shifting linebackers and it was still throwing me off. So good riddance.
Franchise mode is completely unchanged except for whatever reason they've taken out all the pictures of assistant coaches which doesn't have any impact on the game outside of bothering me a little bit. None of the presentation such as the Extra Point from last year has been changed at all. But the nice thing about the NFL is that there are always so many new players every year that franchise mode will always at least have a little juice. Now, finally, you can play with Tim Tebow or Jimmy Clausen or whoever you want. The shelf life isn't huge, but just the fact that there is one is more a testament to the NFL way of life than EA. But at least you get to see virtual Barrack Obama.
Madden Moments are changed to reflect plays from last year's season, such as Brandon Stokley's catch or Brett Favre vs. the Packers but the best part is that they're going to be updated throughout the season to provide new moments from the 2010 season, which is a very exciting development. It'll be an important mode instead of just a time waster.
Pretty much none of the other modes, whether they are the Become a Legend mode or Ultimate Team, which was later added into Madden 10, are changed though which is disappointing.
As for online play, there seem to be issues such as lag and disconnections, but that always seems to be a problem with Madden online. To get in depth impressions, check out Pastapadre who focuses on that stuff.
Overall, Madden feels more refined than last year's fare and delivers probably the best Madden experience since 2005. There really isn't that much new in the game outside of very subtle changes, the game is well worth buying and easily the best Madden of this generation.
Stay tuned this week as I'll likely have Madden 11 impressions for the iPhone in a few days.