Madden NFL 10 – The PS3 Attitude Review
But how well does the game perform at attracting new audiences, while still living up to the high expectation sitting on its shoulders by long-term fans of the series?
EA has revived the look and feel of the franchise to new heights with the best looking graphics seen so far in the series.
Madden NFL 10 also packs in a brand new animation system and an impressive presentation that makes you feel like you’re watching a real life match, only this time you have a say on who wins.
This may sound too good to be true, but after actually playing it, it’s hard to deny that the developers have done an immense job with the visuals for this game.
The title feels so real and when playing you will even see various sponsors such as Snickers and The Weather Channel. Luckily, these promotions don’t get in the way too much that it affects the overall enjoyment of the game.
Some could argue that the overall style of presentation is way over-the-top, and perhaps makes it harder to find items through the various options and menus, but once you have been playing for a couple of hours it should become second nature.
Madden is known for its in-depth gameplay and this entry is no exception to this rule. For most people new to the franchise, or perhaps even American football games, playing this title will appear daunting, and it does require good knowledge of the sport to make the most of it.
But luckily on the very lowest of settings, Madden 10 is quite easy to master. You are given the opportunity to finely adjust almost every aspect of the CPU’s skill such as QB accuracy and pass blocking. We would have liked to have preset level options available here, but that’s no real quibble.
Additionally, there are constant hints and tips throughout the game including from Madden himself to help you through, although we found that sometimes learning the tricks of the trade by yourself was the quickest route to success.
They have also packed in a training mode like last time so that rookies can practice with the game’s mechanics and prepare for the big matches. In addition, the gameplay speed has been slowed down which makes it slightly easier to play, while at the same time appearing even more realistic.
But Madden veterans should as always find the game challenging at the highest of settings and it will generally feel very familiar to play, although not so much so that you get constant déjà-vu moments from last year.
Madden NFL 10 offers a variety of customisation options such as editing of players, teams and uniforms, or the ability to create brand new ones. This makes us gamers feel that we have a lot of control on how we play Madden, so Kudos is deserved for EA here. Plus it’s a bit of extra fun when not scoring another touchdown.
This title also offers two different Career modes. The first one is the standard franchise mode where you can choose any number of teams to manage and play from a selection of 32. There are also various options available to choose how this feature runs such as the inclusion of injuries, salary caps, and trade deadlines. Although this gives us a lot of freedom on how we play, the majority of users will be happy with the default settings.
You will be glad to hear that we really enjoy this part of the game and you can easily wave goodbye to a lot of your spare time as it can become very addictive. Not only can you play the season games, you can also sign new players or trade them so that you have complete control of your team.
The second choice for Career mode is one that focuses on a single superstar. You can choose to play as a rookie or as a brand new player that you have created yourself. Just like a real football player, throughout the season you can play games and attend training sessions. For us, the Franchise mode is more exciting as it has a lot of depth to it and you won’t have to worry about regretting your choice of footballer as can happen in Superstar mode.
Online is of course back from previous years and this is what sets Madden 10 apart from most other sports games. Obviously there are the standard options of playing ranked or unranked matches against other players, as well as mini-games that focus on particular areas of American football. But most of your enjoyment can be found in Online Franchise mode.
This big new addition for 2009 allows you and up to 31 people to seize the role of one team each and then compete against everyone for up to ten seasons. One player takes the role of commissioner where they can remove users from the mode as well as change other options. Every gamer can join up to five online franchise clans and they all follow the official NFL schedule.
This mode goes beyond the PlayStation 3 though as you can manage your franchise straight from the EA Sports website, or even via a free iPhone app.
Online Franchise is an amazing addition but there is still room for improvement in future games with extra features, such as financial information that should make it into a true online version of the original.
The online features go beyond playing games against your friends as EA have again added a shop for enthusiasts to enhance the gameplay. Purchasable items available include the newly released AFL Legacy Pack, as well as other minor enhancements that players can use once or twice in the Career modes. But the shop and its items is this game’s downfall.
We understand that the publishers want us to buy content from them so they can fill their pockets up even higher, but they really do go out of their way to force it down our throats. They have an over-the-top promotion of the Legacy Pack throughout the game that makes us quite frustrated. These adverts include adding a menu option on the home screen even when the Legacy Pack isn’t installed, or advertising it on the loading screens, or insisting on running a trailer whenever you want to play against someone online.
This kind of behaviour spoils the integrity of the game and makes us feel that they should just be happy that we bought the game in the first place. And then we have the purchasable minor tweaks like 10% bonus to injury recovery time that are most likely already on the disc, and should really be there as free rewards for in-game achievements.
We know that all of this behaviour is not exclusive to Madden, but when it gets in the way and affects our enjoyment of the game, it’s worth mentioning about.
Overall, Madden NFL 10 is an excellent entry into the series and there are very few things that we dislike about it. If EA didn’t insist of constantly promoting their purchasable content available online, and if the commentary was done with a bit more enthusiasm, this game would be pretty much perfect.
So our closing comments are these: If you are a fan of the series, you shouldn’t be disappointed with this game. But if you are new to the franchise or sport in general, even though the game will help you settle in, there are probably other titles you should invest in instead.