Moving In New Directions - Madden NFL 11 - Xbox 360 -
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Madden NFL 11

Moving In New Directions

Football fans often debate about the relative importance of the positions on a team. Can a great QB make the receivers around him better? Can marquee receivers make a mediocre QB look good? Does an ineffective pass rush doom even the most skilled corners? Madden NFL 11 spurs a similar kind of discussion based on the features it has chosen to address for this latest iteration versus those that have remained unchanged. Does the inclusion of online co-op play trump a bare-bones online franchise mode? Is making a stud running back like Chris Johnson feel like a world-beater more important than not cleaning up past AI issues? The answers to these kinds of questions are up to you as a Madden player. I like a lot of the new additions to this year’s game, but the lack of progress in some areas is unfortunate.

Madden NFL 11 features a new motion engine that makes running with the ball a dream. Subtle cuts, bursts of speed (without the turbo button), sheer physical power, and other characteristics are layered on and make NFL players come alive and showcase the abilities that make some of them stand out from the crowd. The game makes you feel like you’ve got unprecedented control over the runner, and every run feels a little different – particularly in the tackles or the lack thereof. Because of all the different factors that go into a player’s running and tackling, you’ve got to watch that your defenders wrap up the ball carrier, otherwise it’s common for a guy to get loose after a couple of sloppy tackles.

I love the varied outcomes in tackling and animations, but inconsistency elsewhere in the gameplay is maddening (no pun intended). Running with the ball is one of the highlights of the game, but the passing game shows some flaws. Players can be shockingly unaware of the ball as it sails by within their grasp. You also see players standing around without a clue of who to block or tackle. This is conspicuous when such great work has been done to highlight receivers’ tracking of the ball for sideline catches and grabs in the back of the endzone. For every cool catch you see, you’ll also see the ball suction into a receiver’s hands or vice versa (where it looks like a player shoots forward suddenly to catch a ball otherwise out of their reach), as well as old staples like dropped gimme interceptions and auto-INTs.

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Second Opinion:


Like NCAA, Madden 11’s biggest improvement over last year is the new locomotion engine and running controls. The new animations perfectly capture what announcers are talking about when they say Adrian Peterson “runs angry.” The difference between average and great backs is now evident in the way they make cuts, burst through open holes, and attack defensive backs. The other highly touted change, the truncated GameFlow play-calling system, is a great tool for varying your offensive attack, but lacks the sophistication to deliver a sound defensive scheme. Putting a linebacker on Percy Harvin in the slot would get most coordinators fired, but I was caught in a base defense too many times when teams lined up in three receiver sets. On the presentation front, new commentator Gus Johnson talks circles around the robotic hack Tom Hammond, and Tiburon finally gives the Super Bowl the unique treatment it deserves. As a franchise guy, I lament that EA neglected to improve my favorite game mode; the Madden devs instead focused on strengthening the game’s online offerings with the three-on-three Online Team Play mode. OTP adds teamwork and coordination to the equation, which makes playing with friends more enjoyable, but with no custom teams, career stat tracking, or scouting info about your opposition, EA missed an opportunity to flesh out the experience and make it a destination mode.

User Reviews:

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  • 9.00
    10/13/12 (Another anecdote incoming!) About six months ago, I got invited to a kid's birthday party who I barely knew. This kid didn't have a lot of friends, so most of the people who even dared to come (including me) didn’t really know each other. To make a long story short, we played...
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  • 9.00
    I bought Madden NFL 11 instead of Madden NFL 12 because someone told me it was better. I haven't played Madden 12 yet, but this one has turned out to be great. Not perfect, but great. The graphics are amazing, the lighting is very realistic, and the player's faces look great, and the soundtrack...
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  • 7.75
    One of the most influential franchises in the sports genre is Madden. For many years now the face of football games has been Madden NFL. The games have seen remarkable change in the last decades, but the core concept will always remain the same. It is a football simulator after all. So, while the core...
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  • 9.50
    This years Madden is another huge improvement from last year and is definitely going in the right direction. Some new features make the game smoother and quicker. Madden demonstrates once again why it is the best football franchise. Presentation: Great looking animations and players look like they do...
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  • 7.75
    Kinda lame, I have more fun playin 10 then 11. Even though all Maddens are ***. Madden is the most *** game and full of *** game I have ever played in my life. F@#$ Madden.
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  • 7.00
    Dont Get me wrong Madden 11 is a nice game and has wonderfull graphics but sometimes graphics dont make a game. Being that I havent owned a Madden game since the 07 version, I was hoping they would have kept some things together, I was wrong. Superstar is more like the College Star that couldnt handle...
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