Well folks, its that time of year again. Back-to-school sales, the baseball pennant races are heating up and NFL players are getting fined $16k a day holding out for crazy amounts of contract money. While all of those are good things, the best thing about this time of year is the release of EA Sports’ Madden NFL 11.
After coverboy Drew Brees brought together a country rooting the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl Championship, EA Sports looks to bring its iconic Madden franchise to an even larger fan base. With additions like GameFLOW and the Strategy Pad, EA is trying to extend its reach past the massive number of die-hard Madden fans and pull in new players to not only the game, but the game of football. Can they make a game with a low barrier to entry while still appeasing the hardcore fan-base?
GameFLOW lets you do what is most important in a sports video game, take care of business on the field without having to worry about anything outside the lines. All you need to do is execute. Before the play is run, a coordinator explains what you should be doing, and explains why the current play is necessary.
Strategy Pad moves the formerly nearly hidden pre-play alignment calls front and center on the play-screen. While this control change will make it easier for a rookie to the series, hardcore fans already have these button combos locked in their head, which might lead to some messed up coverages while the hardcore relearn this feature.
As an avid Madden fan, I’m tempted to say that Madden 11 caters too much to the casual football fan. However, any of the features made to entice new players to the game can easily be turned off to allow die-hard player to get down and dirty.
As usual, Madden 11 looks amazing. It has everything you need to be visually immersed in a football simulation, from reflections on players helmets to watching the road team get off the bus prior to the game. The physics engine has been tuned perfectly, giving everyone on the field the feeling that any move you make can have a great impact, from Jason Witten plowing over a cornerback to a defensive tackle hitting just a sliver of a running back leading to him going down.
On the offensive side of the ball, offensive line blocking is much improved. Each lineman does a good job of holding his man and working as a team. The playbooks are very deep and EA’s team has done a great job at replicating each teams real schemes. Throwing while on the run is very realistic this year, or to put it simply its a bad idea, since most of the time your pass will be off target, much like in a real game of football.