As a long time football fan I have always been more interested in college than pros but I still pick up Madden from time to time and this installment is pretty good. I think there are some questionable decisions that EA Sports made, removing the import draft class, but overall the game is still good. Now rather than saying good over and over again here is my break down of the game.

Game Play - 7.5/10

The new physics system in the game is great. I have noticed a few times it seemed like I was pulled into an animation but for the most part that will never happen. The hits look much more realistic now and there have been times I've jumped at how hard a hit is. That said it is still far from "real looking" in that players arms can bend in way that should break them and they don't even notice. Also after a play has ended the player trip over each other all of the time. This looks funny but it may bother those looking for a very realistic game.

The game also has poor zone coverage in my experience. There are to many open spaces and the players often times don't move out of their zone even if no one is around them or moving towards them. Man coverage however is really good in this game. The players will only make a play on the ball if they turn their head and see it which is a tremendous improvement from the sixth sense ninjas we had before. The wide receivers must also look for the ball to before catching it which has improved passing all around.

Finally the passing system has changed allowing for a bit more control than in past games. The downside is if you are anything like me you have gotten so used to the passing before you wont get much use at of the new system and when you try to use it you are likely to screw something up and throw a pick. This should happen less with more practice, I have already improved a lot, but it will be annoying at first.

One final thing is in my experience challenging a play will never work. I have challenged a few dozen plays and not once has a play been over turned and when going through the replays my self I know only two or three plays could have stood as called.

Sound 5/10

Well it is kind of nice to have the new announcers but we all know how repetitive they were before and this game is no exception. I like to run the football and each game I hear the line "it's all about winning the war upfront and you win the war by running the football..." at least three times a game, usually more. Other than that the usual issues are still there, you just barely get a first down they say that fourth down is coming up, the defense tackles you in the backfield  it's all the halfbacks fault, a receiver makes a spectacular one handed catch will diving through the air into the end zone it is a great pass from the quarterback, and so on.

Now the reason I give sound a score of 5/10 rather than 1/10 is because all the other noise. It's the same P.A. that has been in the games for years but you don't fix what isn't broken right? The crowd noise is great, the stadium music is a cool addition, and the on field sound effects are still great. Overall if you turn down the two idiots it is kind of like going to a game in person and sitting in a luxury box, I guess; I have never got to sit in a luxury box but I imagine that is the closest the game gets.

Graphics 9.5/10

I'm an optimistic person so I'm holding the perfect 10/10 rating for when players can not reach through each other. Now the number of limbs popping through players is down dramatically, I would guess easily over 60% (maybe 90% if I'm feeling brave), but it does still happen occasionally. Overall the lighting system is solid, the players look great, stadiums look amazing, and the announcers are kind of creepy, EA was spot on for that last one. There isn't really much to say after that though, you will just have to see it for yourself to really decide if you like the graphics.

Presentation 8/10

The main menu is a little different but I think it is an improvement once you get used to it. Honestly though the main menu is just something to get in your way while you try to load up your connected career or ultimate team but that is the way it has always been. I don't play online so I can not say anything about the multi-player menus but if they are anything like to other menus they should be solid.

The connected careers menu is really good. The main page gives you headlines from the previous weeks games including big game scores, players of the week, non-PoW but guys who still had a great game, injuries, trades, re-signs, and the occasional mention of a solid player coming up in the draft. The fake Twitter feed is my personal favorite part of the menu. It is basically the same thing as the headlines but it is different NFL analysts "tweeting" them which is kind of fun.

You can then scroll through to the my career page which shows your legacy points, a scoring system to tell you how your career compares to the all time greats, as well as your experience points and some weekly goals. You can choose to view the milestone goals as well but for the most part they are basic  things like gain 500 yards, 30 first downs, win three Super Bowls, and so on. Most of the time you can accomplish those goals with out even meaning too.

The next connected careers menu is is the weekly one, I don't remember it's name off the top of my head, but from it you can do your weekly practice, play your game for that week, scout players for the draft, and any re-sign or trade negotiations will appear here. When you accomplish different goals they also pop on this screen for you to see, as well as your ability to progress players.

Next they rest of the menus are condensed into on page with multiple things to access. You can view player/team statistics, depth chart, rosters, injury reports, trades, NFL records, players of the week, pro-bowl voting, yearly awards, and so on. It is a little cramped here but once you learn where everything is it you can zip through the different menus to find what you are looking for quickly and easily.

The biggest flaw is that an Offline career does not auto-save so if you accidentally back out to far you could lose a week or more.

Final Thoughts

Initially it may seem like a lot has changed but once you start exploring the game you'll realize everything is still there. The new announcer annoy me but I just tack that onto the realism because real life announcers annoy me. It is a solid game but I have played so many of EA Sports's football games I have very high expectations at this point and at best I can only give this game a 7.5/10 rating.