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Madden NFL 10

Platform(s): PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
Genre: Sports
Publisher: EA
Developer: EA Tiburon
Release Date: Aug. 14, 2009

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Wii Review - 'Madden NFL 10'

by Dustin Chadwell on Aug. 19, 2009 @ 3:18 a.m. PDT

On-field authenticity and emotion is taken to another level in Madden NFL 10. With more control over the outcome of the play than ever before, players can drag defenders towards the first down marker, fight for a fumble at the bottom of the pile, and avoid the rush by stepping up into the pocket.
The first thing that I want to mention about Madden '10 for the Nintendo Wii is that I was somewhat disappointed that the game didn't use the new Wii MotionPlus accessory in any way. Since we've seen the accessory used in EA titles from the past month or so, I assumed that we'd also see it used in some capacity in Madden '10.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.

I'm not sure if anything in the gameplay would have benefited from using Wii MotionPlus, but I thought I would mention it for the players who are looking for new games with which to use the accessory.

This is the second year for the All Play moniker for Madden on the Wii, and for those who have felt a little too intimidated by the complexity of the Madden series, this might be the title for you. The All Play feature set allows you to jump into the game with only a few plays to choose from between offense and defense; even at the default difficulty, it's simple to pick up, play and have a fair amount of fun with the game. The hardcore competition that you might find online is going to be too deep to use the All Play features in a competitive way, but if you're just playing around with some local buddies or playing against the AI in a single-player experience, then it'll definitely work for you. Instead of giving you a number of options tied into running and passing plays or defensive formations, you're given a few simple choices. For offense, that usually involves Deep Pass, Pass or Run, and on defense, it's Block Pass, Block Run or Blitz. That's pretty much it, and the game finds the best option for you to use within those parameters, so there's not much in the way of playbook searching or strategy building within the All Play function.

For longtime players, though, the game still comes equipped with a number of plays and options that you'll already be familiar with, so the hardcore aspect of the franchise is still present. For single-player modes, you have a number of options, most notably the Road to the Super Bowl mode and the Franchise mode, which has to be unlocked. There's also a pretty fun party mode included for four players to check out locally, and then there's an online mode that's just a basic one-on-one game, so if you're looking for an online franchise mode, you'll have to check out the PS3 or X360 version.

The Road to the Super Bowl mode gives you the option of a full season or half season and allows you to take a team and run with them through the playoffs to the final game of the year. This mode reminds me a lot of what Madden started off as: a basic football sim without the training, coaching, salary cap, recruiting and other stuff that's been tacked on throughout the years. It's a pretty basic mode in a football title nowadays, but as I've said, if you've been put off by Madden over the years, this is a pretty fun way to jump back into the action without having to worry about trades and salary caps. For someone like me, who's more of a casual fan of the games and the sport in general, it's definitely an ideal mode to have in the title.

Franchise mode, on the other hand, comes equipped with all the bells and whistles you'd expect, but on the flip side, there's nothing new added to this year's version other than a roster update. Apparently the developers had toyed with the idea of scrapping the mode altogether, and you'll notice when you unlock the mode that even the menu presentation is completely different from the other main modes in the game because it was taken straight from last year's offering. This is also why it's an unlockable in the game, so it's a tad disappointing that more work wasn't put into it for the series' longtime fans. If you're a more hardcore Madden fan and want a more fleshed-out sim aspect, then you'll be better off picking up the PS3 or X360 iteration.

One big and noticeable change from last year's version of the game is the visuals, which have undergone a complete renovation in style. Instead of opting for a more realistic approach with the somewhat limited abilities of the Wii hardware, EA has opted to do something more cartoonish, giving each player type a certain build and using that as a uniform design across all the players in the game. I'd compare it a bit to what Red Fly Studios did with the Wii version of Ghostbusters, and it works pretty well here. I'm a far cry from a Wii "hater," but even I can admit that the system can't always hold its own compared to the other current-gen offerings. Going for a more stylized approach with the visuals is generally a positive idea, and I'd love to see more developers taking that approach. There's also something more entertaining about the design in relation to the All Play aspect of the gameplay, and it meshes together really well.

The menu design has been overhauled this year, and it's finally tied into a point-and-click design using the Wii Remote, as opposed to scrolling through the options with the d-pad or Nunchuk and pressing the A button. It's not quite ideal, though; it's a little sensitive at times when scrolling through stuff like team selection, but it's certainly more appealing from an aesthetic standpoint than last year's presentation. If you want a quick comparison between the two, just compare the bland design of the Franchise mode to the regular menu, and you'll have a good idea of what I'm talking about.

The gameplay also works really well this year and offers up two control styles to choose from. One is a simple point-and-push control, so if you're on offense or defense, you'll use the Remote as a pointer to direct who you're going to pass the ball to or who you're going to attempt to tackle. You simply highlight the target player and press the A button for either option, and it's a simple thing to figure out. If you're running the ball, you can tap A, B or the d-pad to perform certain jukes and jumps and even stiff-arm people. Aside from that, there's nothing else to learn about the controls. The other option gives you a little motion aspect with the Wii Remote, allowing you to either swing the remote up quickly or slowly depending on the type of pass you want to perform (bullet shot or lob), and it also works fairly well, but my default choice was the point-and-push control.

All in all, I enjoyed Madden '10 on the Wii and can definitely say that it's the best version for casual fans. It's easy to jump into, it's fun with a group of friends, and the Road to the Super Bowl mode feels like a suitable throwback to the Madden games of the 16-bit era. If you've been playing the Madden titles for a while, this isn't the right version for you because you'll want all of the franchise's bells and whistles that are available in the PS3 and X360 versions. There is a Franchise mode in this Wii iteration, but it's more limited in scope and feels like an afterthought. Even with this shortcoming, the Wii version of Madden '10 is a lot of fun to play. It's definitely worth picking up for Wii owners, and the title will certainly keep you entertained for a while.

Score: 8.0/10

 


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