(maddennfl.easports.com) Rated E for Everyone by ESRB. Who’s ready for some football? With the NFL season just starting, I know there are many of you wondering what you are going to do with yourselves from Tuesday through Friday? Don’t despair! Pick up the newest version of Madden!

Over the years the Madden franchise has been doing many innovations: building out features, game-play modes and controls. The goal of course was to make one of the most realistic and addictive video games of all time. For the most part, they have succeeded. In recent years however, some were turned off by all of the complexities of the game. With that taken into consideration EA built a new iteration of the series with the mainstream fans in mind, at the same time not sacrificing any of the features and game-play that the hardcore-fans are used to. The result is a very clean game that will appeal to new fans to the series and the hard-core vets.

(maddennfl.easports.com) Rated E for Everyone by ESRB. Who’s ready for some football? With the NFL season just starting, I know there are many of you wondering what you are going to do with yourselves from Tuesday through Friday? Don’t despair! Pick up the newest version of Madden!

Over the years the Madden franchise has been doing many innovations: building out features, game-play modes and controls. The goal of course was to make one of the most realistic and addictive video games of all time. For the most part, they have succeeded. In recent years however, some were turned off by all of the complexities of the game. With that taken into consideration EA built a new iteration of the series with the mainstream fans in mind, at the same time not sacrificing any of the features and game-play that the hardcore-fans are used to. The result is a very clean game that will appeal to new fans to the series and the hard-core vets.

Presentation:
Like every year, EA takes the time to augment a few of the presentation elements that were not as strong as the previous version. Graphics, the announcer, the overall game play is much better than last year. The other big addition in the way of presentation elements is new Super Bowl celebrations. When you finally go to the Super Bowl and win it, the experience is amped up. Winning the biggest game in football no longer feels like a regular game.

Graphics:
What can I say; they are better than last year. The faces are noticeably better than some past versions where player faces looked more like blocks. This is not the case with this year’s version. This is a cleaner and prettier looking version of Madden.

       

Sounds:
Let’s face it; sound doesn’t really play a huge role in football games. The crowd noise, the announcer’s comments, and the background music are all nice but never really a major factor on whether a football game is good or not. At least Madden isn’t always saying: “Well you need to score points to win” all the time. This year’s announcer seems more intense and it is a refreshing change.

Here is the list of songs featured on this year’s title:

Original Recordings:
•AC/DC – Thunderstruck
•Archie Eversole – We Ready
•Blur – Song 2
•Bush – Machinehead
•Guns N’ Roses – Welcome to the Jungle
•Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil’ Wayne – Let It Rock
•Kiss – Rock and Roll All Nite
•Ozzy Osbourne – Let Me Hear You Scream
•Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train
•The Hives – Tick Tick Boom
•Todd Rundgren – Bang the Drum
•Ying Yang Twins featuring Homebwoi – Halftime

Cover Versions:
•Rock N Roll Part 2 – as made famous by Gary Glitter
•We Will Rock You – as made famous by Queen
•Crowd Chant – as made famous by Joe Satriani
•Kernkraft 400 – as made famous by Zombie Nation

Team Fight Songs:
•Chicago Bears – Bear Down Chicago Bears
•Detroit Lions – Gridiron Heroes
•Green Bay Packers – Go Packers Go!
•Miami Dolphins – Miami Dolphins #1
•Minnesota Vikings – Skol Vikings
•Philadelphia Eagles – Fly Eagles Fly
•Washington Redskins – Hail to the Redskins

       

Innovations:
For all of the cool innovations introduced in this year’s version, the main game play feature that will be debated and praised is GameFlow. GameFlow is an automated play calling system that shortens the normal game-play experience to about 30 minutes. If you are new to Madden, then this feature will help you a lot. For some people this will actually be somewhat helpful by allowing them to concentrate on the actual game-play experience. Though this feature will not be used for a lot of us hardcore Madden players, because at least half of the game is strategy and play calling – and we don’t want to trust the AI to make the calls for us as it takes the gaming out of the game.

GamePlanning is a feature that allows you to plan certain plays for certain situations. This is cool because you get to still have some control and planning into what plays you want to play but you get the bonus of cutting the game time down. There will still be situations where you need to improvise, but it is definitely an interesting feature. NFL coaches have a game plan going into each game so it is realistic in that sense.

There are good and bad things about GameFlow and GamePlanning, but Online Team Play are one of the best innovations in a Madden game in a long time. It allows up to six players (3 vs 3) to play online to compete against each other or the computer. One gets to be the QB, another plays the RB’s and the third mans the WR’s. There is a similar set up on defense. What this means… my buddies and I can actually play a game of Madden without one of us storming out of the room shouting expletives? This is great!

       

Gameplay:
Overall the core game-play between the sticks is great and looks amazing to watch and experience. The players move and feel even more realistic than in prior versions. Every juke and monstrous hit that you see on Sundays comes to life in this title. There are little things like the de-sensitizing the suction of the hit stick so that landing big hits actually feels special. It also gives players the ability to pivot their upper-body to protect the rock from defenders. Of course there are times when it does not exactly feel 100% real, but it’s already one of the most realistic games out there.

One of the biggest changes to the mechanics of the game is the departure of the turbo button! What no Turbo!? This of course is just on default settings. This will feel weird in the beginning. But you will get used to it after awhile. The players control their own speed. It’s not necessarily great or bad. You can now focus on the cuts and reads for the running back needs to make. Running the ball is tough enough already!

Another awesome addition in this year’s game-play is the ability for your AI teammates to actually land successful blocks! Finally! Thanks a lot Lineman. They even hold the blocks long enough for you to utilize them. If you can read the defense correctly, you can break some huge gains. While this is definitely refreshing, (I could not run the ball for my life in previous versions) it seemed like running is sometimes dare I say too easy. Oh well, I am not going to complain more than that.

On to Defense! This version of Madden turns all of the hot routing and assignment changing functionality you’re used to into something called the Strategy Pad. You navigate through options with the D-Pad, adding one extra button press to access the aforementioned functions. This is sometimes makes things difficult to change and react on the fly, especially when facing a fast paced offense.

Conclusion:
Madden NFL gets better and better every year and this year is no exception. Plenty of new features to entice new and old fans of the game, as well as football fans in general. 2011 is the best year yet to pick up NFL Madden

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