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Madden NFL 11 Review

Review; Sep. 13, 2010; Channels: Video Games; By Ryan Goodman

Every year, EA brings its latest Madden squad to the video game gridiron. For the most part, each new installment adds a few minor tweaks to the gameplay, along with the expected updates to NFL rosters. This year, however, there was more of an effort to make things a little different, and a bit more interesting.

Madden NFL 11 Screenshots
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The biggest addition in Madden NFL 11 has to be Gameflow, which was designed to let you play through an entire game in about half the time of years’ past. The way it works is pretty simple: If you pick that option before a play, you’ll go directly to the line of scrimmage, thus speeding up the game clock a little bit. A virtual “coach” will also tell you what to look for in that play, so you can proceed as quickly as possible. The downside of this is  Gameflow does takes some of the strategy out of it, so if you’re a hardcore Madden fan with your own thoroughly-designed playbook, then the new feature is not for you.

While Gameflow does give you less buttons to push, the rest of the gameplay primarily remains the same. There are some minor tweaks here and there, such as the subtraction of a boost button while running. The game now automatically boosts your runner’s speed at given times. Also, during some fumbles, you’ll engage into a button mashing tug-o-war to try and strip the ball from the opposing player. I think there could be a better way to add this, but for something new, it did feel refreshing.

Other new game modes include an AFL mode, which lets you re-visit some football history. There’s also a new Madden Moments mode, which lets you play “What if?” on various points in the last football season. For example, if you wanted the Colts to win last year’s big game, then here’s your chance to change history. There’s various minigames and training tools, too, that will help get you better prepared for gameday.

On the presentation front, this Madden is definitely a field goal above the rest. Each player, stadium, and blade of grass looks as detailed as possible. The in-game effects make you feel as though you’re in the middle of the huddle, while also watching the game in the comfort of your living room. The in-game soundtrack and sounds of the stadium add to the effect greatly. Another cool option that adds some realism to the mix involves the virtual coach calling out plays for you to run if you use a wireless headset.

On the downside, new play-by-play man Gus Johnson is entertaining at first, but quickly gets repetitive.

If you’re an online Madden gamer, there are plenty of new things for you to enjoy. Besides the usual tournaments and ranked games, there’s also a new 3-on-3 mode, where you can take two buddies and assign them specific roles. For example, you can play as the QB all game, while another buddy plays defense and the third just runs the ball. This adds a real team element to the mix and further expands the online experience. One thing to keep in mind: If you decide to pick this game up used, be ready to pay up some extra dough to get on the online gridiron. Each new copy of the game comes with an online pass that can only be used once, meaning that chances are the pass you’ll get with your used copy will have likely been cashed in already.

In the end, Madden does what its predecessors did, delivering as close to a realistic NFL experience as possible. But this one is a step forward, due to the various new gameplay modes and overall in-game experience. While some hardcore Madden fans may be turned off by Gameflow, it does make it easier for beginners and helps speed up the gameplay. If you’re looking to get your gridiron itch scratched before Sunday, then this is the perfect way to do so.

Comments

Review Score
8.7

Everyone

Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

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