The pig skin never looked so good
I’ve never been a huge fan of football (American football for those reading overseas). I never enjoyed playing it in the real world, I never enjoyed watching it. But playing it digitally was always a blast. My first Madden experience was on my original Gameboy in 1996, and would you believe it spoke? Like real audible words!
Now, before I dive into the game, I wanted to point something out. Madden 10 is not for someone who doesn’t understand the finer details of football. You can get by with basic knowledge, and with the help of the Madden quiz, practice, and the virtual trainer included in the title, you can pick it up very quickly. Just don’t expect to buy the game, read the manual and kick ass online.
As the game evolved with technological advances and thanks to EA’s talented abilities, the graphics grew astronomically. From legs jittering, yards moving by slowly and other players moving frame by frame towards you to full motion captured pretty movements from all over the field, Madden 10’s attention to detail were just astronomical. The fluid movement in each player as they hurl forward, deke in a hundred different ways, and look around for openings give players an eerie feeling that they are actually controlling real people in some alternate universe of god-like power. The texture of grass, fans chompin hotdogs and tossing towels, and even the detail of each stadium; from the biggest effects like weather to the smallest details like seat arrangement. Madden 10 raised the bar yet again for graphical quality in a football game. Just as long as you don’t mind seeing freakishly odd shaped facial features of the players up close. My favourite graphical aspect? The shakey cam as players run for a touchdown. What I didn’t like graphically? The sponsored replays, granted it does make things more realistic, but for the amount I’m paying for a game I don’t want sponsored ads in my face. What’s next to increase the realism, commercials in between plays?
Sound wise, while Madden 10 boasts Hammond and Collinsworth’s commentary. I understand it’s hard to have good commentary in a game people will play for hours on end, over and over again. I just wasn’t feeling it. They tried, I feel the effort is there, but otherwise it just seemed a little unpolished, especially compared to the graphics. Again, the commentary at times sounds like it was just random words pieced together after the fact, not smooth and realistic in the forms of speaking to say the least. While the commentary is varied and often times customized and useful, after a while you begin to hear the same phrases and comments time and time again. In terms of the sound track, I would have to admit that while I first expected many frat anthems, after playing through and taking a look at what the game had to offer, I think this may have very well been my favourite sound track in a sporting video game. Music from 2Pac, Alice in Chains,Beastie Boys, Mastodon, System of a Down, and Nirvana, just to give fans out there a feel for what’s available. As always otherwise the smashes, tackles, and whistles all sound realistic and well done. EA is good with these kinds of noises by now.
In terms of gameplay, there is just so much depth and detail to every aspect of Madden 10 that I would be here for months writing about it all, and you for weeks reading and soaking it all in. For the sake of both time and sanity I’ll just provide you with a rundown of ALL the modes of play and the feel of gameplay itself, and trust me, there’s a lot to discuss. To start off, let’s talk about what’s new and all the talk about Madden 10 over Madden ’09; Online franchise mode allows up and coming NFL manager types to take the franchise mode they loved, and play it online, much in the same way one could play it offline in ’09, this is again souped up with things like The Extra Point a little segment that summarizes what had happened in the week before. As well, aspects throughout the game have been somewhat tweaked (some times well, sometimes not so well) as the passing system and feel have been improved to new levels as well as the tackle system which provides gamers with new and more innovative ways to bring the pain to their competition. Other aspects new to the game also include more realistic gameplay including pile-ons, fumbles, and a somewhat slower – less arcade like speed to simulate real life. My favourite new feature in Madden 10 may have to be the small details they added in, like Superbowl patches to the jerseys during, well… The Superbowl. Actually playing the game gives a lot of power to the player, being able to tweak nearly every aspect of Madden and having access to so many plays, variables, and being able to alter all of these gives fans nearly endless possibilities… That is, IF you know what you are doing, which takes time, research, and practice for those new to the Madden world. For those that are new to the game, again, there are methods to get you up to speed, but for those who are seasoned pros – the difficulty levels are there for them. Personally, I found Madden 10 to be challenging, hard even, on the easy difficulty… But then again, I found NHL 10 to be just as hard, and I’m a bigger hockey fan than football. The control layout for Madden 10 has been perfected year after year, and from what I can remember from last year’s title, they have remained the same, an aspect myself (and I hope many others) appreciate. The controls are set up perfectly for this football romp and from controlling the QB to audibles, the flick of a joystick or click of a button is all that is needed to score that hail mary touchdown. Like I said before, there are A LOT of game modes and options; for an overall feel, check out our Madden ’09 review which can be found here, otherwise just play the game and see for yourself, I think you’d like it – especially if your a football fan.
Overall like most sports titles, lasting appeal is never an issue. You can play against computers over and over again, play against your friends until you go blue in the face. If you get too good for the game you can always up the difficulty, choose teams with lower stats, or play with one hand tied behind your back. Beat everyone you know, all the computer settings and used every team out there? Madden 10 boasts one of the best online modes available from single games to leagues to online franchise mode. While I enjoyed playing (and getting beaten severely) playing online, I did experience quite some lag while playing my opponent, both of us located in Canada, and both with broadband connections.
Madden 10 is exactly what you would expect from the leading football developers who launch a new title every year. Some new features, some improvements, some aspects that still need work (but mostly all improvements in themselves). If you’re a football fan you owe it to yourself to pick up Madden 10, if however you are on a budget and can’t afford a new title, Madden ’09 can still do what you need it to do and enjoy on a regular basis. You just won’t get the best of what’s available without Madden 10.
Graphics: 4.0 / 5.0
Gameplay 4.0 / 5.0
Sound 3.5 / 5.0
Lasting appeal 4.5 / 5.0