Madden 11 Review – Tossing around the ol’ pigskin

reviewheader.jpg

The Madden NFL games are one of EA’s most popular and lucrative franchises. Reason being that in the United States, Football is huge, really huge, so fans are happy to throw their money at EA every time a new version arrives.

I’m a huge football fan (go Steelers), and getting Madden in South Africa has been a problem for the last couple of years, because EA didn’t see it fit to sell the game in a country where most people barely know how the game works.

Madden 11 wants you to play it, as EA have added a whole bunch of new features to make it easier to play and learn. Should you continue ignoring the franchise, or is it about time that you found out what all the fuss was about.

Find out in the full review of Madden 11.

[Note: I just want to point out that the review was done on the Playstation 3, but the EA official Madden site only had screenshots for the Xbox 360, hence the 360 buttons in the screenshots. We are not aware of any major graphics differences between the two]

Madden games are released every year, just like the rest of EA’s sports franchises. Most people know by now that it isn’t always a good idea to purchase a new version every single year, but rather wait until the next major leap in the series hits the consoles.

The last (and only) Madden that I have played on the HD consoles was Madden 08. I went out of my way to get my hands on a copy, and ended up being sorely disappointed with a game that just felt broken.

The AI was incredibly frustrating to play against due to the fact that anything short of a perfect pass was intercepted by your opponents and in the end, it caused me to just stop playing, for the sake of my poor controller, not to mention my sanity.

Madden 11 boasts a whole bunch of new features, designed to make the game that much better and also make it more approachable to people who aren’t very familiar with the franchise.

screen1.jpg

The game now has a feature called Gameflow, which essentially has your AI coach call your plays for you, leaving you to only need to execute them as planned. If you were always confused by NFL playbooks and don’t have a clue what a shotgun formation is, or what it even means, then Madden 11 will make your life a whole lot easier. Hit the gameflow button for every play, and not only will the AI call your next play for you, but they will also nicely explain what you need to do.

If for instance, your coach decides to roll out in the shotgun formation, the coach will explain that your wide receivers are going to try and run deep, and that the shotgun formation is designed to give your quarterback some decent breathing room so that you can patiently wait for the opportunity to let the ball rip when your guys are in position.

It makes it simple, and for those of you who either want to learn about the game, or like me, lazily bask in the fact that I don’t have to call my own plays if I don’t feel like it. Once you have a good idea of how the game works, you can try and call some of your own plays, or heck just keep using gameflow forever.

The game also gives you the ability to fully customise the gameflow as well. You can go setup your gameflow playbook completely if you like. You can let the game know that on 1st down you prefer certain plays, or what to do on 2nd and short, or 2nd and long etc.

The basic idea, is that all of the depth of Madden is there, but if you don’t want it, and just want to focus on playing some football, you don’t need to care about any of it, and I really like that.

screen2.jpg

To make it all a little simpler as well (apparently this feature is not new to 11) you also now have the ability to rewind a play like a mulligan. You can set the game up to allow a certain amount of rewinds per game, but a rewind is limited to only 1 per play. In other words, if you throw an interception by mistake, you can rewind the play and try it again, fail the second time though and you are stuck with it. I like how this is integrated, as it gives you the ability to learn from your mistake, but doesn’t hold your hand so much that you can just keep rewinding over and over.

Madden 11 has also seen major improvements in the AI department. Being on the offensive is now so much smoother, quicker and better and gone are the days that the defense picks off and intercepts every single ball that you throw.

All of this is complimented by a new feature called locomotion, which is just a fancy word to say that Madden 11 has now integrated proper momentum and weight into the players, making everything feel that much more realistic. This has also brought about major improvements to the animations, which means that watching a ton of guys slam into each other has never looked better.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • Bobby Kotick weighs in

    Let me just say that the NFL is a pretty strange game. I’m not a huge fan of it and I rather prefer the awesomeness of rugby, ice hockey and real football.

    Having ranted about handegg like a lunatic, I can see the appeal of it. I played the demo a few nights ago, but the gameflow changes are really not my cup of tea. It feels very simplified and oddly I actually felt like I had less control of my game (than in previous Madden titles).

  • Conor MUFC

    Iam a huge fan of American football I got into it two years ago and iam not even American. So I have enjoyed the last madden titles. But when I rented madden 11 the game had totally changed the gameflow thing is stupid and is only for people who are new to football it also choose stupid plays for you like if your 3rd and 8 it might choose to play man to man coverage No stupid coach play zone coverage . Being the QB has changed passing the ball is frustrating . Being a corner back is pointless as you dont have the ablity to intercept the ball the game does it for you? And some teams are over rated such as the Saints they win one Super Bowl and there the best team in the game rated 92 this was a team that in madden 10 they were rated 71. How did that happen! My team the Colts nearly go 16.0 trough the season but end up with 14.2 they were best team trough the season. We even go to the Super Bowl but we a robbed by the Saints and we only get a rating of 90 WTF! Nick you were to kind to this game giving it 9.0 it should be 5.0. Drew Brees is only half the QB that Payton Manning is he should be cover boy not that one hit wonder.

  • http://www.designwave.co.za Nick de Bruyne

    You can switch the game assists off, you don’t need to have them on.

  • Conor MUFC

    Yeah but its pointless unless your new to the game. I just choose my own plays I find that gameflow is stupid and frustrating I am sure after a while Nick you started to to choose your own plays from the playbook.

  • http://www.designwave.co.za Nick de Bruyne

    Have you tried cutstomising the gameflow in the menus yet? You can actually give it so many options, even tell it what to choose from for 1st down, 2nd and long, 2nd and short, 3rd and long etc.

  • Conor MUFC

    No I only rented the game and only had it for 5 days so I just kept to the my playbook. But gameflow isnt the only problem to the game as I pointed out in my frist comment. Team game rating is stupid so if any team wins the Super Bowl this season they will be the best team in next years game. So if a team like the Detroit Lions win this year won are rated 63 will be 92 next year game which is just a lazy game rating system. Also Nick whos your favorite American football team.

  • http://twitter.com/flmboy flmboy

    So by your definition, the team won who the Superbowl (ie the best team) should NOT have the highest rating in the game? So if someone wins something then they are not the best?

    As for your other statements “it also choose stupid plays for you like if your 3rd and 8 it might choose to play man to man coverage No stupid coach play zone coverage” – All the stupid coaches in the REAL NFL call zone defensive plays. All the teams gameplans are based on their real life counterparts. You can’t just blitz every fucking play.

    “Being the QB has changed passing the ball is frustrating” – You mean you can’t bomb the ball downfield on every play and score a touch down? Well guess what…that’s not how football works.

    “And some teams are over rated such as the Saints they win one Super Bowl and there the best team in the game rated 92 this was a team that in madden 10 they were rated 71. How did that happen! My team the Colts nearly go 16.0 trough the season but end up with 14.2 they were best team trough the season. We even go to the Super Bowl but we a robbed by the Saints and we only get a rating of 90 WTF!” – 2 points…really? Is little baby gonna cry cause his precious team isn’t the highest rated.

    “Nick you were to kind to this game giving it 9.0 it should be 5.0. Drew Brees is only half the QB that Payton Manning is he should be cover boy not that one hit wonder” – Are you related to lans by any chance.

    Just as a matter of interest I support the Giants. And as far as I know Nick supports the Steelers. And Peyton Manning isn’t the best quarterback around at the moment. My vote goes to Aaron Rogers but I guess it’s a matter of opinion or fanboyism…

  • Conor MUFC

    Dude calm down I just thought the game changed a lot from 10 I never thought you could bomb the ball down to the endzone its just a little harder to throw with the lob pass. Yeah but game rating system is a bit crazy 71 to 92 a bit much sure the saints played well but not that well. And flmboy cant we just be friends and not qoute my every word. I might cry as Iam a baby dude lets not start one of those sad fanboy fight as we are both smarter then that .Also I love NY Giants their my second team. Aaron Rogers played decent at Green Bay he had big shoes to fill (farve). But he got sacked over 20 times this season ouch! But as you said its a matter of opinon. So cant we just be mates and agree to disagree flmboy.

  • moose

    Manning is an incredible quarterback,most consistent QB ever,and 4 time MVP.Cant argue with that.

Must Read

Oddworld: New ‘n Tasty Review round-up

The embargo has been lifted, and the review scores are in for ...

Razer Kraken headset review: Release the sounds

Razer's budget version of a pro-gaming headset is exactly that - pro ...

Logitech Powershell Review – Yes but why?

We review the add on controller for mobile gaming, the Logitech Powershell

Samsung Galaxy S5 Review

The Samsung Galaxy S5 gets put through the ringer as we review ...

Crimsonland review – Retro shooting

Crimsonland is coming to PS4 and its gore will remind you of ...

Tomodachi Life Review – An Aleutian of life

Tomodachi Life is by far the weirdest game that I’ve ever been ...