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Madden NFL 10 (PS3) Review

If you don’t know your 3rd down from your pants down steer clear son!
First the EA spiel as I think it’s amusing how clearly “PUMPED-UP DUDE” the writer must have been for this game.

Experience first-hand what it’s like to Fight for Every Yard in Madden NFL 10. With the all-new Pro-Tak animation technology, players have more control over the outcome of each play. Whether driving a receiver towards the first down, or battling for a fumble at the bottom of a pile, the play won’t end until the whistle blows. Add to that the most immersive broadcast presentation and online innovation to date, and Madden NFL 10 captures the authenticity and emotion of the NFL like never before. Pro-Taks’s all new animation technology provides unprecedented control over the outcome of every play. Drag defenders towards the first down marker, including up to 9-man gang tackles, fight for a fumble at the bottom of the pile, and evade the rush with all-new quarterback avoidance actions. Enhanced play at the line of scrimmage features a new blocking system that allows the quarterback to step into the pocket and gives the defensive line more control over the rush. Authenticity – Referees peeling players off a fumble pile, the chain gang rushing in to measure for a key first down, and all-new player equipment ensure that if you see it on Sunday, you’ll see it in Madden NFL 10. Fight for Online Dominance – Delivering the most comprehensive online offerings in franchise history, Madden NFL 10 includes new modes to satisfy the competitive and cooperative football gamer. New TV broadcast-style presentation and cinematic cameras bring the suspense and intensity of the NFL to your living room. Enhanced Franchise Mode – Run each aspect of an NFL franchise: draft players, sign free agents, manage the salary cap – just like a real GM. Enjoy all of the action throughout the league via a new, network inspired highlight show. The most customizable version of Madden NFL to date. Alter gameplay options to adjust the experience to your liking. A revamped play calling system and menu takes you to kickoff faster than ever before. Speed up online matches with accelerated clocks, streamlined presentation and more.

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Whoah there was a whole lotta testosterone flowing when that blurb was thudded onto the keyboard – most likely by one hand whilst the other was clasped around a “Bud” and with the odd break for them to punch the air and scream “Fuck Yeah Son!”. I digress, for a change!

Welcome saps, I mean fans, to the latest update to the Madden juggernaut. I know there is both a whole lot of hate and a whole bunch of love for these yearly updates to the EA franchises. Personally I buy one every couple of years so it makes no odds to me. Well this time around EA are trying to continue their streak of dragging their long running franchises back up to date. This was shown to great effect with Tiger Woods 10 on the Wii. Can they manage this once again with one of their flagship titles?

American Football eh.. it’s not real football is it.. I mean it’s kinda like Rugby with pads, better looking players and a shit-ton more cash. Thing is there is something about it still that compels us to watch and get involved. EA had a very solid entry last year with Madden ’09 and all they had to do was refine a few things this year release and Bob is your mothers brother. Well EA did NOT take this route, instead opting to go all out to improve the title. Now with that said the game is fundamentally a Madden title and I am not going to waste your or my time regurgitating what that actually is – if you like Madden you know what to expect from these titles.

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Graphically Madden is above any other sports title. The look and feel has been honed, smoothed, buffed and polished with a big pretty bow since last year. The animations have been slowed to give a more realistic movement and feel to the players. The incidental animations that take place out of main view like refs arguing with other refs or players are pure class. The menu system has been revamped and is so slick and smooth it is almost a master class in UI design. All in all EA have managed to take a good looking title and ratchet it up a notch.

Sound wise Madden 10, as with most EA sports titles has a good soundtrack. A lot of semi-known tunes as well as the usual mix of obscure ones make up the EA Trax compliment well. The commentary, this time undertaken by Chris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond, is adequate. Not upto the same level as the commentary on the Wii edition of Tiger Woods ’10 but good enough. The game no longer features the dulcet tones of the titular character himself, Mr John Madden and it appears to be poorer for it. The commentary seemed to lose focus a lot more than other recent EA efforts and the repetitive nature really grated a lot quicker than any other too. Crown noise rises and falls with the on pitch action and always lends a great level of atmosphere.

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Now I am not going to spend several hours trawling through the nuisances of American Football so what I propose to tell you about are any significant changes, faults or features in this new iteration; and believe me there are numerous to discuss. AS significant alteration is the pace of the game. Gone are the hyperactive players of previous editions and in their place are more well paced, realistic playes. This has taken the moer arce edge off of the title and replaced it with a firmer strategic element. Combine this with a much improved offensive AI that seems to adapt scarily well to your plays if you exploit a certain style or play to often. The AI will even orchestrate large gang takedowns of single runners making a break for it as well as adapt well on the fly. Hell the players even look at the damn ball in the air FFS!

Aiding all this newly infused realism is what EA are calling Pro-Tak, an animation technology that reacts to the virtual world around it. The leads to things like massive player pile-ons, minor slips and tumbles if playing in the rain on a torn up pitch. The AI players even seem to be time away. Pl;aying for time in closing moments of a quarter or squeezing as much time out of the final quarter to try and make it back in to the game – these little tricks and additions really help to make the game so much more.

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Another addition is the fact you can control your defensive line playesr using the right stick. Purists might bawk at this but it adds a certain something to the game and makes allows you to bust out of swim moves and take on the Quaterback on his own turf.

So the single players works well but what about laying the smackdown on your buddies? Thank fully this works the best it ever not only that but two player co-op makes a welcome return; and yes it is online co-op. The biggest change to online is the 32 player based Franchise mode. This allows teams to draft players, trade players, send messages and generally get all Footie Manager on the game – heck you can even plan your plays offline when away from the console by using a PSP, PC or iPhone app – talk about obsessing over a game! The only fly in the ointment with this mode is that you need the code from your instruction booklet to unlock it and, yes you guessed it, once unlocked it is locked to your system – killing 2nd hand games sales. The only upside is that if you buy the game pre-owned you can unlock the Franchise Mode via the online stores – for a charge.

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Final Thoughts:

This is without a doubt THE BEST American Football game on the market currently. EA really have pulled out the stops and produced a slower, more methodical, more realistic and more fun title. This game received a lot of player feedback that has truly influenced it’s design progress. Sure faults still remain. The commentary needs sorting, the sheer volume of the in-game adverts really piss you off and the mini games are mostly pointless (except the chase the loose ball scrum button masher!). The final point stealer is the amount of online micro-transaction shite EA send your way where you have to spend more real-world cash to improve your game – just taints an otherwise fantastic title. If you like Sports games GET THIS – If you like American Football GET THIS – If you sorta liked Madden or Blitz but have lost faith in EA’s mega franchise GET THIS.. ‘Nuff said I feel.

About Zeth

Zeth
Zeth is our EU Senior Editor and has been writing about video games since he joined BG back in 2008. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.

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