The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
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.
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
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.
[Click after the break for more]
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
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.