Well, here we are again for the umpteenth time, 21st year of Madden history to be exact. Developed by the EA Tiburon team in Orlando, FL. NFL Madden ’10 takes football to another level. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a fan of the naming convention — I preferred “O – Ten instead” — but the game and name grew on me quickly. Playing most of the Madden games in their previous years, I thought this would be another year of updated football rosters that would shortly be stocked on my shelf and depreciate the value as soon as I removed the cellophane wrapper. But this year feels different. Call me nuts, but with this being the last time John Madden will be featured and two athlete’s in Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu on the front cover it seemed a good time to buy in.
Ratings updated…Yes! Let’s get started with first impressions, since those last the longest of any game. I appreciate all the small details put into any game. In my opinion the regular run of the mill developers worry about the graphics most notable thinking we won’t appreciate the scenery. Well I do and Madden 10 for the most part steps it up. Along with roster updates regularly, Madden ’10 feels fresh. Proof is in the pudding with the addition of Brett Favre and Michael Vick.
Slower mechanics make better gameplay. Everyone is loves speed. But in Madden football games, too fast is unreal and leaves gamers with false pretense performance levels. In Madden ’10, you’ll notice right way the game takes a realistic approach to the speed accuracy of the running backs, wide receivers, defensive tacklers, etc. Funny part is, the fast guys are still fast but not sped up. If you understand so far, you get it.
All corners covered, except the crowd. One of the immediate graphical issues I encountered was the lack of effort put into the fans. I know most developers rather invest time with gameplay and necessary detail, but cardboard cut-outs filling 82,242 seats in the new Giants Stadium in unacceptable. On the other hand, they really tried to match the cut scenes with fans from their respective area. 300+ white fans filling the seats in Denver compared to a mixed crown in Atlanta. Last detail worth mentioning were the players. EA Sports did their best making Eli manning look like Eli, but it was hard not to call him Peyton. In my opinion, a gaming skin that was altered. Oh yeah, and the armpit hair. Seriously, when players reach for the ball, or shown in a cut-scene the armpit hair adds another level of realism. Odd but accurate.
Online Multi-players in queue. Never has there been a time of waiting for me joining an online match. Ranked or un-ranked, I found myself playing immediately which keeps the gameplay stress free. Giving each team a maximum of 5 pauses, once used the opponent has the un-pause the game to avoid a “pause game” advantage. EA Tiburon keeps the % completed and % drops so you choose if you want to play someone who will game with you until the last minute of play and avoid the quitters. pfft! Don’t worry, accidental drops are measured differently.
Changes along the way. Madden 10 introduces a couple of new features.
– For one, the “Fight for the Fumble” pile-ups is intended to be a rapid button press mini-game. Press the correct pattern of buttons to recover a fumble.
– The game’s bread and butter feature is Pro-Tak (procedural animation steering, branching, and real-time manipulation). Up to 9 players can engage in a gang tackle on a ball carrier. Stronger ball carriers can stay up longer and better defense can take those gang tackles down.
– The QB pressure alert is another neat feature thanks to rumble support.
– Injury system keeps you in the game. If a player gets injured during a play, after being evaluated by a sports doctor you will have the option to send the player back but with a risk. Playing hurt players are susceptible to more serious injuries depending on risk factor.
Kicking Field Goals wins games. Everyone likes a good touch down. With signature moves added, sure they’re fun to watch plus you get 6 points. But the new FG Kicking mechanics is noticed and appreciated. Using the analog stick flicking the controller back then forward is a nicer approach to kicking. A bit of a challenge was added by distinguishing elite kickers from the average ones thanks to the new FG Kicking Accuracy. Yes, you may push for the 1st with 4th and 3 on the 15 yard line, but know that 3 points now may get you a win later. Just my Madden strategy!
Announcers and Halftime “Extra Point” show. Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond bring you the color commentary. Rarely duplicated comments make the experience unique. You may want to lower your surround sound speakers too. After several attempts on 4th and 3, the excited crowd can either pump you up or boo you for going for it. Nice touch! For those who like to see what’s happening in other games during your Franchise Mode, the Extra Point show brings you that information. Presented by Alex Flanagan and Fran Charles, they also follow up their around the league news, with a short highlight reel of your games first half performances.
Slower gameplay = more realistic feel
In game experience; stadium atmosphere
EA Accelerators – purchasable upgrades (single player only)
Minor frame rate issues
Let me say this briefly. Madden NFL 10 is worth the purchase for the guy who buys it every year and the “wait for it” guy as well. Many of the new features will be around for Madden Eleven, so get in now so you don’t feel like a loser next year. Realism and authenticity add another layer to the already tasty cake Madden brings, and it shows. See you on Sunday!