lliinnkk's Madden NFL 10 (Xbox 360) review

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Madden 2010 Review

 At first, I struggled writing this review. I was going into all of Madden 2010’s details, trying to figure out what people should know about what’s included, but then I stopped myself. It’s almost impossible to write a review for a game that doesn’t change, so the best thing I can do is talk about how it compares to last year’s version, and what stands out this year. Everyone knows that Madden is something you can count on every year, and last year was the first time in awhile that I played the game and felt like it had taken some great strides to bettering itself and changing. Bring it to this year, and I guess we are back to the waiting period for something better.

Don’t get me wrong, here. Madden 2010 is a good game, but it’s more like a polished version of Madden 09 than its own entry. The graphics have been smoothed out, and look a bit crisper than last years. The snow and rain effects are great, as is the real time weather system. The animations have been polished quite a bit as well. Most animations don’t repeat themselves at all anymore, and it grasps the feel of football better than ever. One thing that helps with that is the inclusion of signature quarterback styles. They look and throw just like their real life counterparts and it feels a lot better playing as your favorite players when they act and react as they should. The crowd seems to be more vibrant and into the game at hand; cheering for the home team and booing the opposing team. All of this comes together with a presentation that does bring Madden 2010 as close to football as we’ve seen. It’s almost like watching a game on TV, and I have no doubt that EA will up this until it’s almost the same feel.

Feature wise there aren’t a ton of new things brought to the table. You have the standard modes you would expect (play now, franchise, and superstar.) There is an online team option where you and a friend (or random person) plays against the computer. Online franchise mode is back, as is your standard vs. games. Nothing is really new. If anything, some modes/features are removed, but I think this was a good idea on EA’s part. I know I personally don’t care about playing team owner or coach, and I just want to play football. I feel like this year’s version of Madden captures that better than it ever has. The game seems stripped down to get you to playing and it’s probably my favorite thing about the new title. It’s always irritated me that I have to flip through dozens of random and annoying screens in franchise mode when I just want to play a game. I don’t want to set concession prices. I want to start my season and do what I bought the Madden for. I’m glad EA is finally taking a step towards reaching that.

There are still some minor issues I’ve noticed though. Some character models look nothing like the player it’s supposed to be. I understand that they maybe couldn’t render Tom Brady’s face correctly, but the least they could do is NOT zoom in on him on the sidelines. Gameplay wise, I’ve noticed the interceptions seem to occur at a rate higher than normal. When I used to play Madden 09 online, all I heard was complaints over interceptions, both from friends and other players I didn’t know. It just seems that if you throw it down the middle of the field for longer than 10 yards, it’s getting intercepted. The difficulty options in Madden are done very well, up until this flaw. If you are on All-pro or above, just watch for it. It isn’t as bad as it was in last year’s game, but it’s still noticeable. Luckily, fumbles haven’t occurred nearly as often, so I guess it’s just a balancing act. One change that can go either way is the new fumble pile up system. If the ball is fumbled and both teams jump at the ball, the game throws you into a button mashing mini-game. Whoever hits the correct buttons faster gets the ball. It’s fair in the sense that it usually can tell who jumped on it first and they have a slight advantage. On the flip side, sometimes you can see a team has clear possession of the ball, and you’ll lose it anyways. It takes away from some of that realism they managed to make better in Madden 2010.

So yes, Madden 2010 is a better game than 09’s version, but not enough to make it worthy of a purchase. The only reason I noticed most of the changes I’ve explained here is because I had to look for them to give a fair review. Madden 2010 polishes the issues of 2009, and makes the good things better, but doesn’t stand out as a new entry. With Madden 09 now dropping rapidly in price, I would recommend picking up a copy of that instead. Unless you are the type that really needs a roster update, I’d say wait until next year when hopefully there will be enough changes to make a new version seem worthwhile.

+ Can’t say enough about the presentation. If they can continue to get this right, it will bring even more people into the game, if that’s possible
+ New animations are great, makes the game play much better, less predictable.

- You played this game last year.

Grade – C+

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