Ahhhh….here we are, another year another Madden. So, whta do we have…Roster Update? Check. Improved Graphics? Check. New EA tracks? Check. In short,Madden is getting there…it’s slowly but surely starting to get up to the standards that NFL 2K5 set FOUR years ago.
Is it me, or do you have a feeling that this SHOULD have been Madden 08?
Let’s quickly talk about some of what EA finally got right…and believe it or not a lot of those things are small nitpicky things that have bugged me for years.
1. Commentary….FINALLY after 3 tries they finally have 2 man play by play and it’s decent! I still think Visual Concepts did it a bit better but in most ways, EA finally gets this one right and Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond sounds pretty well together but it also does need some work as they hardly ever say the names of players during the game.
2. TV presentation style – EA got it right but you still have to ask the, if they have access to the ESPN licence along with exclusivity, wny not rip the page out of 2K5’s book and run with it? But…you can’t complain too much as what is given this year still feels a lot less clunky than last year and marshall Faulk’s pregame crap is gone…however, they still could have left in the pre game intro.
Also, Chris Collinsworth with the telestrator is a welcome improvement and gives you more of a feel of ‘watching’ the game.
3. More animations and enhanced graphics- by far this is one of the nicest looking games released in awhile….the stadiums look more alive now that they have varied the look and AI of the crowds. There are more on field animations from the players and a lot less broken animations from broken up plays…but…where are the refs?? The lighting effects are nicer this time around really giving you a feel of ‘being there’ at the prescribed time of day…even the weather effects as stated really do have an effect…a lot more sliding around and uglier games in worse weather and of course uni’s getting dirty. The sidelines also show a big improvement.
4. The AI is getting better on D as some plays that were easily paydirt plays are constantly getting shut down and the D will definently adjust more as you keep using certain plays so it’s wise to learn to use audibles a bit more especially in hurry up situaions. The AI also seems to be getting better managing the ball in late game situaions…I have seen too many times in past maddens when the AI attempts ot run the ball late in the 4 the quarter when they need to be throwing it deep and this iteration, you really do and some teams depending on the QB is also going to stretch the field on you if they can.
What are some things that still need improving on.
1. The franchise mode – There was so many things that Madden 04 and 05 did right that made the franchise mode fun and I still can’t see why they won’t bring it back to the next gen systems…I kind of enjoyed managing my team syadiums and tix prices and so on….but none of that has made it back….and BTW until or unless EA comes out with a roster update, you will have to manually make changes to Favre, Thaylor and Pennington. Also I still would like to see other game highlights and scores while my game is playing…I mean come on EA…that’s going to determine how much harder I am going to play if I can see how the rest of my division is doing thru that Sunday!!!
2. The halftime show…..ok…so they finally got rid of the cheerleaders last year…but come on now, 2K5 had it down to a T….EA get on the band wagon…again you have the ESPN licence…what are you guys waiting on?
3. More Realism – Where is the cart for injured players? Where arethe refs? Where is the chain gang? EA we are 4 iterations into the NEXT GEN…get with it!! Speaking of the refs…is it just me or can I barely understand him at times?
4. Sound – sigh….when is EA going to stop using the SAME CANNED crowds sound from 199X??? again, this is something that 2K5 had a bit more on the right side that EA really needs to improve. Crowds boo at dumb plays…they get seriously hyped as a great play goes…if Adrian Peterson breaks out into an open field run on the way to a TD, I should hear the stadium explode…not the same sounding static.
Finally some things EA needs to dump.
1. The rewind mode – ’nuff said….you didn’t want that play broken…you shouldn’t have picked it…suck it up. Thankfully you can turn that feature off.
2. Madden IQ – if you play one really good game, the next one rachets itself up too high for you to keep up plus you can adjust your diffulty level so why bother? Definently the gimmick for this year.