Madden is Maddening

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#1 Posted by MAST (891 posts) -

So, I haven't played a realistic football game since back around NFL 2K1 on the Dreamcast. Most of my football experience is from games like NFL Street, or Blitz. So in a sense, I guess I shouldn't be expecting to do very well in this game with the difficulty set to "All-Pro." However, to get any trophies/achievements, you are forced to play on All-Pro, and that's is the source of all my frustration.
Playing against the computer in Madden is an exercise in futility. To be clear, I have went through all the Virtual Training modes, as well as the Madden IQ test mode. I understand that in order to complete passes, you have to understand routes and throw them at the right times. I understand that you have to keep receivers covered and not leave them wide open. Etc. Knowing this does not help you at all. 
When playing on offense, I release my passes at the right times, yet the defenders, seemingly by an act of sheer magic (or rocket boots), get to my wide open receiver by the time the ball reaches him. Even when I hold the throw button, and throw a bullet pass, the defender still gets their in time to swat the ball away, if not intercept it. This ALWAYS happens on throws longer then 10 yards. The only way i can ever receive a pass is by throwing short, line-of-scrimmage passes, and then running the ball. 

The same cannot be said for the computer while it is on offense. No matter how I try and play, the computer always finds a man open. I pick man-to-man coverage, and the computer finds a wide open man. I pick zone coverage, and the computer still finds a wide open man. I decide to take control and cover a receiver on my own, and the computer just throws to a different receiver that's wide open on the other side of the field. No matter what I do, no matter what play I pick, the computer will find a receiver wide open. 
I've even gone so far as letting the computer take control of my team, just to see how it does. I figure in a computer vs. computer match up, it has to be pretty even right? Wrong. Even when i let the computer take control of my guys, the other computer controlled team still finds a man open. Even when i pick the highest rated team, and give the computer the lowest rated team, they steal wipe the floor with me.
Long story short, I can't do anything. Running, passing, etc. No matter what play I pick, it fails miserably. On defense, no matter who I control, no matter what play I pick, no matter what I do. The computer still regularly finds a man wide open. I can't control the entire team at once. I have to rely on the computer to control most of my guys. Yet it seems completely unreliable to do that. My guys regularly let someone get away from them, or flat out don't even cover them at all for some reason. I don't understand what I'm not doing right. I don't understand how to make the rest of my teams fulfill their roles, and cover their men. It's very frustrating not even knowing what I'm doing wrong.
It seems like Madden is meant only for people who are pure geniuses when it comes to any nuance of football. It assumes you can look at the positioning on the field before a hike, and know exactly what's going to happen before you even start the play. Which is just an unreal expectation for the average video game player, and casual football watcher.
Anyone got any advice, or tips as to what I'm not doing right?

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#2 Posted by bretthancock (798 posts) -

I'd say try turning down the difficulty a little.  It doesn't really change the computers approach just makes them a little "dumber". 
Control a linebacker and just zone him the whole time, this brings a little bit more pressure from your d-line as the computer always seems to do a better job. Also early reports are that zone plays might be broken so I would stick with lots of man coverage to see if you do a little better.

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#3 Posted by choffy21 (1521 posts) -

Try My Skill. It'll take a few games, but the difficulty will make itself perfect for you.

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#4 Posted by JamesF (1546 posts) -

Just change the difficulty.

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#5 Posted by MAST (891 posts) -
@JamesF said:
" Just change the difficulty. "
All three of the replies in this thread speak of changing the difficulty, which is why the very first paragraph of my original post talks about that very thing. As i said, i'm forced to play at the "All-Pro" level if i want any of the trophies. Which i do. So i don't really have a choice. I'm wanting to figure out how to do better against an "All-Pro" computer. It's not even the hardest difficulty setting, so there has to be some trick to beating it consistently.
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#6 Posted by GoldenGopher01 (5 posts) -
Though changing the difficulty isn't an option, I wonder if you can lower the CPU Skill sliders while still being eligible for the achievements. Either way, hopefully my years of playing Madden will be able to help you some. 
-The best way to improve your game is not through the Virtual Training or Madden IQ modes; it's through either exhibition games in the 'Play Now' tab, or through Practice Mode. Personally, I've always used practice mode, because it helps me become accustomed to the playbook I plan to use. Starting on All-Pro difficulty, you really have to start playing to your team's strengths and limiting their weaknesses - for example, I know with the Titans that I can use Chris Johnson's 99 speed rating and 90+ elusiveness to outrun the defensive line and create 1 on 1 matchups with the secondary, which I should win more often than not. The same can't be said for LenDale White, since he couldn't outrun a three-legged mule. With him, I have to run inside the tackles and play a brand of power football. 
-As for the defender's rocket boots, it can be a frustrating issue, but it helps to lead the receivers by using the right analog stick (This is for 360, I imagine it would be the same on the PS3). Be warned though, if your quarterback doesn't have a high accuracy rating, you could end up leading the receivers too far and throwing an incomplete pass, or worse. Personally, I've noticed the majority of my completions coming on routes that send the receiver into the middle of the field. If you can get a quick receiver running through the middle against linebackers, that's a mismatch in your favour.
-More so than any other year I can remember, unpredictability in play calling seems to play a big role in the success of my offense. For example, if the computer sees you running a predominantly passing formation, they'll adjust to play the pass. The same is true with running formations. If you call run plays out of pass formations and pass plays out of run formations, you can sometimes catch the computer in formations that you can exploit. 
-There will be times when the computer just seems to know what play you're running, regardless of formation or how well you think you've disguised it. In those situations, your best bet is to audible (X button on 360) with a play of a different kind. You'll have to know your audibles and be comfortable with the new plays, but that's easily done in Practice mode. 
-Part of the problems you may be having on defense could stem from a lack of pressure on the quarterback. As it is in the NFL, the longer a quarterback can stand in the pocket and look downfield, the greater the chances his receivers will have to get open. This is why I almost always control a defensive lineman on the defensive side of the ball (It's not a set in stone requirement to win games, just personal preference). If you want to do the same, you'll have to flick the right trigger in order to perform defensive line moves, and when you get near enough to the quarterback that you might get a sack, hit the X button to dive. Be careful with your timing though, because if the quarterback has released the ball and you dive at his legs, it will yield an additional fifteen yards to the offense. 
-Just as unpredictability works on the offensive side of the ball, it works on the defensive side of the ball as well. Try to switch up man coverages and zone coverages (if you aren't doing so already). Throw in the occasional blitz by a linebacker or a safety. Do anything, so long as you can avoid falling into a situation where you call the same plays over and over. The computer will be able to exploit it if you do. Knowing your ratings on the defensive side of the ball is also important. If you have two cornerbacks who are much better in man coverage than in zone coverage, then adjust accordingly. If they both have high press ratings, then hit the Y button and flick the left trigger down to press on the opposing receivers to help throw off the opposing wide receivers' routes and give you more time to pressure the quarterback.
-If you have one receiver that seems like he'll cause particular matchup problems (I'm thinking Randy Moss of New England, and Andre Johnson of Houston as good examples), you can hit the R trigger before the snap and choose to 'Spotlight' that receiver, meaning the defense will give him a little extra attention and make it more difficult for the computer to complete passes in his direction.
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#7 Posted by TooWalrus (13391 posts) -

You didn't know Madden 2010 had Rocket Boots? It's the future, man!

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#8 Posted by Grilledcheez (4066 posts) -

I would suggest changing the difficulty simply to get used to the game itself and how everything works.  Then when you feel more comfortable with the scheme of things you can ramp it back up.  Basically look for the intended receiver first and throw it slightly before when you think you need to (at first)...also try to recognize whether it's man coverage or a zone.  The computer can play a bitch of a zone.  Ultimately, do not lose patience because only bad things happen when you do.  That being said, the game is far from perfect lol.

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#9 Posted by sixghost (1716 posts) -
@MAST said:
" @JamesF said:
" Just change the difficulty. "
 All three of the replies in this thread speak of changing the difficulty, which is why the very first paragraph of my original post talks about that very thing. As i said, i'm forced to play at the "All-Pro" level if i want any of the trophies. Which i do. So i don't really have a choice. I'm wanting to figure out how to do better against an "All-Pro" computer. It's not even the hardest difficulty setting, so there has to be some trick to beating it consistently. "

Maybe you aren't good enough to play at the level required to get the trophies? It's amazing how people will bitch when they are forced to be anywhere near decent at a video game. All-pro isn't even that hard, I suck ass at madden and I'm fine playing at that level. Maybe take some time to get better at the game.
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#10 Posted by MAST (891 posts) -
@GoldenGopher01 said:
"Either way, hopefully my years of playing Madden will be able to help you some."
Your advice was fantastic, thanks for taking the time to type all that up for me. My game is definitely improving because of it.
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#11 Posted by AgentJ (8995 posts) -

I agree with Grilled Cheeze. You need to spend some time learning the basics before you start playing at the second highest diffuculty level. play through a season each on rookie and pro modes, then try all pro. It'll still be challenging, but i guarantee you wont be struggling nearly as much

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