If you don’t know your 3rd down from your pants down steer clear son!
First the EA spiel as I think it’s funny :-
Madden NFL 10 epitomizes what fun looks like on the Wii, delivering the most social and dynamic experience from the franchise to date. This year, Madden NFL 10 arrives on the Wii with breath-taking visuals that will captivate both seasoned veterans and new comers to the franchise. Completely redesigned and built from the ground up, Madden NFL 10 introduces a unique art style that will define the look of sports games on the Wii. All-new player models embody characteristics of your favourite athletes, plus new larger-than-life stadiums showcase details found at each of the 32 NFL fields.
All I shall say to that little opener is, “We’ll see”.
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.
Graphically Madden is above titles on the Wii. The look and feel has been honed, smoothed, buffed and polished with a big pretty bow since last year. Shrugging off the more realistic edges of the 360 and PS3 versions the Wii heads more towards clean cut cartoon edges – not that the visuals are cartoonish. The animations are smooth a well managed and lend themselves well to the more Arcady edge of the title. The graphical quality seems to take a knock in the zoomed out play mode, but the up close models are all top notch. 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 up to 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. Crowd noise rises and falls with the on pitch action and always lends a great level of atmosphere.
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. Such as significant alteration is the pace of the game. Gone are the more well paced, realistic plays of the 360 and PS3 versions of this year. In instead is a more arcade like feel to proceedings. You really get down in to the thick of the action and the Wii controls, although tricky at first, really do lend a special something to the game. 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.
So the single players works well but what about laying the smackdown on your buddies? Well to be honest if I had to lay a bet (and in Madden 10 you can!) I would say that EA spent most of their time constructing this title for multiplay. This is evident by the total playing down of the Franchise and Superstar modes. In fact those modes are actually locked out until you unlock them – a weird decision. Madden on the Wii has taken a great direction. Out of the new modes on offer the Madden Showdown is the best of the bunch, pitting up to four players in a party mod. In this mode players go head to head in scaled down arcade version of the game. 11v11 or 5v5 is supported, as well as many in game modifiers that alter game play (like a keep alive mode that stops the ball going out of play). The real hook in this mode is that EA have introduced a betting mechanic for everyone to engage in that allows you to makes wagers based on many elements of the game. For instance as well as betting on the outcome you can also bet on most down, most distance etc. This really ads a whole lot to the dynamic of play – a real masterstroke.
This is, without a doubt, THE BEST American Football game on the market currently. EA really have pulled out the stops and produced a fun, fresh and family friendly 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 animations do go a little ropey at a distance and the fact the Superstar and Franchise modes are unlockables is just plain annoying. If you are after a fully fledged, deep NFL sim then get the PS3 and Xbox version. On the other hand if you like Sports games GET THIS – If you like American Football GET THIS. EA have done yet another great re-working of a sports franchise to appeal to a more mass market Wii audience – not as good as Tiger 10 but a damn fine sports title and a great asset to the Wii software library.