Madden 09 News Post


I think what should be obvious is this: If you weren't a fan of the core Madden engine before, I don't think anything the series does this year will win you over. The team can say there's this many new gameplay additions etc., but if Madden gameplay "staples" -- like the QB being able to roll out of the pocket easily on most plays -- bug you to no end, then this game just might not be for you. Like I said, that should be obvious, yet it's hard for some to figure out.

Moving beyond that, my first Madden 09 experience was at least eventful. I played one full game (five-minute quarters), which was Jaguars (him) vs. Colts (me). The game was a back and forth affair (I ended up losing 21-14), and the game was filled with some goods and some bads.

Player fluidity and the running game were certainly things that leaned more in the positive direction. As I ran up the gut on various occasions with Colts RB Joseph Addai, there were times where Addai would find the hole and make his cuts with ease; then there were other times where virtual Addai would break out of arm tackles with a well-timed move and continue on his merry way for extra yards.

Then on defense, I always felt like I needed to make sure there was more than one guy wrapping up Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew. It wasn't like I could never take him down one-on-one; but, much like real football, I just felt more comfortable when multiple guys got a hold of Drew.

Something else I noticed while Maddening it up was the game ranked me as I played. My passing ability was ranked as All-Madden for example, and my rushing ability was ranked as All-Pro. That ranking-type stuff all showed up via a simple pop-up during the game (think statistical overlay). So if I hadn't been playing head-to-head those rankings would probably play into the new fluctuating AI system.

Speaking of statistical overlays, they certainly are more prominent this time around. I saw instances where Peyton Manning's stat line came up, as well as Maurice Jones-Drew, and my one cornerback who had two interceptions. It's a small touch, but considering the series has struggled with presentation issues, it seems like EA is at least attempting to get some more TV-style presentation into the game.

A lot of the stuff I didn't like didn't have to do directly with the gameplay. For example, during the instant replay of a challenged catch, the wide receiver's foot clipped through the ground, which obviously shouldn't happen. The challenge system in general seemed questionable as well. On the play I described before the wide receiver clearly didn't get both feet in-bounds, yet the play stood as a catch after the challenge. On another play where the spot of the ball was challenged, the wide receiver clearly caught the ball beyond the first down marker; yet, the play wasn't reversed and there was a turnover on downs. Those problems could just be bugs with the build I played, but they're still worth noting.

Overall, it seemed like a good variety of things were occurring during the game. I got caught staring downfield at one point with Peyton Manning, little did I know I would be blindsided by a CB blitz. Peyton coughed up the ball and the Jaguars CB recovered the ball. There were stalled drives, sustained drives, goal-line stands, and even goofy comical moments. After a Jaguars score, the player went for a Lambeau Leap and smashed off the padding when he didn't make it, landing in a heap on the field.

At the end of the day did I have fun with the game? Yes. However, that was just one game, and it helped that it was a back-and-forth affair and there was ample amounts of trash talk flowing between myself and unnamed EA producer X. I also think it's important to add this note when it comes to a title like Madden: I readily admit that I'm not a huge football fan and I tend to lean more towards the "casual" end these days when it comes to football gaming. So that's where I'm coming from with this preview -- I can't try to be someone I'm not after all.

Wii, All-Play Style

And so with that being said, you might say well the Wii version is right up your alley! Well I did play it All-Play style and All-Play seems to be much more enjoyable than last year's Family Play. For those unfamiliar, basically Family Play played the game for you. Now this year All-Play tries to make things easier for you, not just play the game for you.

When passing for example, a little green light would light up next to a receiver when he was open, signifying you should pass to him. And now passing itself is done with an analog stick movement on the Nunchuck and a flick of the Wii Remote. So if I see an open receiver on the left side, I simply move the analog stick to the left and do a throwing motion. Where it gets a little hairy is during crossing routes and other routes over the middle. Since the game chooses for you during All-Play, there's a chance you won't throw to the guy you really want to in those situations.

On defense, you don't worry about speed burst during All-Play, but you still have the chance to do most of the defensive mechanics. The difference is, most of the motions will just be on the Wii Remote. Flick up to swat the ball for example, or go for a big hit by flicking the Wii Remote towards the ball carrier.

Outside of the All-Play stuff, the biggest aesthetic change is the graphics look a little more Wiified -- EA realizes they can't try to make the game look gritty anymore, it just comes off looking bad. So now this year the graphics are just a little crisper, and the colors are a little sharper and brighter. You aren't going to get those "realistic" graphics on the Wii, so now at least it all looks clean.

Biggest Positive (360/PS3): The running game.
Biggest Positive (Wii): I could see myself using All-Play over the normal controls.

Biggest Negative (360/PS3): Seems to be some issues with the challenge engine.
Biggest Negative (Wii): The game felt a little slow.

Biggest Question (360/PS3): How much will all the supposedly new gameplay elements add to the gameplay experience in the end?
Biggest Question (Wii): Will the All-Play passing system contextually understand which receiver you want to pass to consistently enough?

Game: Madden NFL 09Reader Score: 7/10 - Vote Now
Platform: NDS / PS2 / PS3 / PSP / Wii / Xbox 360Votes for game: 88 - View All
Madden NFL 09 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 teebee @ 07/18/08 02:19 AM
Can't believe u don't love FOOOOOOOOOOOOOTBAAAAAAALL
# 2 woaty13ward @ 11/14/08 08:28 PM
The Madden game by far is the best yet!!
# 3 wildbill388 @ 12/23/08 02:59 PM
pure greatness. enough said.

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