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Madden NFL 10 review

AT A GLANCE
  • Best Madden gameplay yet
  • Online franchise mode
  • Realistic player mannerisms
  • Godawful halftime show
  • Scads of small visual hiccups
  • Blase commentary

The NFL has long prided itself on parity. Each new season has little, if anything, to do with the year that preceded it; players come and go with astonishing speed as 5-11 teams become Super Bowl competitors and champions fall apart. In many ways, the Madden games of the PS360 generation mirror this erratic arc. They’re (almost) always entertaining, but dedicated franchise fans still haven’t been given a truly definitive high-definition gridiron experience.

The good news is that from snap to whistle, Madden 10 is the best football we’ve played yet. Pacing is more realistic than ever, allowing running backs to see and exploit holes; meanwhile, your quarterback can settle into an actual pocket and fire a pass to an open receiver in a manner eerily reminiscent of real-life Sundays. While the old Madden standby of backing waaaaaaaaaay up to throw a long bomb can still be done, it’s less effective than it used to be. That alone is reason enough to cheer wildly.

EA has been touting its new “Pro-Tak” system ever since they started dropping hints about Madden 10 several months ago. It may be a terrible marketing name, but as an in-game mechanic it works beautifully. Collisions between ball carriers and would-be tacklers are more realistic and violent than ever, featuring rapid changes in direction based upon the momentum of attacker and attackee. Ballhandlers have plenty of opportunities to get out of tough spots, while defenders can gang-tackle like the real thing.

So the most important aspects of Madden are superb - what’s the bad news? That lies in many of the so-called bells and whistles on the periphery of the virtual gridiron. The presentation is haphazard in many ways, from an abomination of a halftime show (complete with hyper-repetitive “analysis” from lifeless voices) to a sideline full of zombified players all wearing ‘00’ on their jerseys.  You’ll be constantly exposed to the same animations ad nauseum, from quarterbacks talking to their coaches over the phone (which magically disappears mid-scene) to coaches yelling at players after a turnover. Each of these gets more annoying with every game you play, along with the other myriad hiccups you’ll see.

Complaints aside, Madden 10 offers the most bang yet for your football buck. Between offline and online franchises, a create-a-player mode, online multiplayer, and a series of Madden moments scenarios, there’s something for every flavor of NFL fan. As you’d also expect, the dizzying amounts of adjustments you can make before the snap are old hat to Madden vets but will befuddle newcomers; these days, that simply comes with the territory.

While Madden 10 is our favorite football game of this generation, it suffers from trying to do too much. We love the new gameplay engine (more, please!) but could’ve happily done without most of the presentation “improvements” that get more irritating with each game. We’re still waiting for our Hall of Fame experience on next-gen systems, since Madden 10 doesn’t quite reach that level.

Aug 18, 2009

More Info

Release date: Aug 14 2009 - Wii, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, PS3 (US)
Aug 14 2009 - Wii, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, PS3 (UK)
Available Platforms: Wii, PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Sports
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: EA Tiburon
Franchise: Madden
ESRB Rating:
Everyone

10 comments

  • michaelmcc827 - August 18, 2009 8:55 p.m.

    because gamesradar is full of ps fanboys who hate microsoft.
  • Fiin - August 19, 2009 10:17 a.m.

    I honestly wouldnt recommend this game.. the controls at times felt like I was stearing a battleship though butter.. they seemed to have gone backwords on the game modes abit, and thewy had the idea of making you pay MS pts for powerups and the new feature.. stick with 09.
  • bron1417 - August 19, 2009 6:16 p.m.

    i didnt get 09 but from all i've been hearing about 10 i will be getting it at some point. (once my xbox comes back from repair)
  • Fiin - August 20, 2009 10:08 a.m.

    Very possible yer right NightAce to be honest with the momentum controls, I might just not have been used to it. I dunno, I just couldnt get a feel for it. The offline franchise was good, I'll agree there forsure. Superstar was what I played most in 08 and 09, and your right, its vanilla in 10, which is maybe why it left such a bad taste in my mouth though.
  • NightAce84 - August 18, 2009 8:08 p.m.

    Why did this come so late after the PS3 review?
  • bernie10 - August 18, 2009 9:30 p.m.

    I think this is the same thing as the PS3 review.....
  • HBSS - August 18, 2009 11:21 p.m.

    Hi all – If you own Madden NFL, you may have overpaid for the game. I work with a law firm that’s filed a lawsuit against EA, claiming they made unlawful agreements to nearly double the price of Madden NFL for consumers. The lawsuit alleges EA drove competition out of the market and prevented new competitors from entering, which increased the price of the game by 70 percent. Anyone who purchased Madden NFL from August 2005 through present can participate in this suit. You can learn more at hbsslaw.com/maddennfl or contact attorneys at maddenNFL@hbsslaw.com.
  • NightAce84 - August 19, 2009 1:47 p.m.

    @Fiin Stick with 09? 09 was one of the worsts Maddens so far! I haven't felt anything wrong with the controls, but I think you are talking about the momentum while running. It just makes the game more realistic, and it isn't difficult to navigate around. Offline franchise is the best ever and so is the overall gameplay. Online franchise, although limited, is also very fun just because you are playing with your friends. Superstar is very stale though. And I'm right there with you Fiin, paying Microsoft points for upgrades is stupid.
  • bron1417 - August 19, 2009 6:16 p.m.

    i didnt get 09 but from all i've been hearing about 10 i will be getting it at some point. (once my xbox comes back from repair)
  • frenchie007 - September 1, 2009 11:16 p.m.

    @HBSS wtf? madden never doubled their prices...they went up like 10$ from the ps2, xbox, etc. versions.

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