|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Tiburon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 14, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
All in all, I love Pro-Tak, but it does seem to skew gameplay more towards those who prefer to execute a West Coast offense. I've always tended to use running as my bread and butter to set up the deep ball - this year I found myself passing on first down and setting up lots of draw plays and counters. The new physics have had a great effect on gameplay - mostly to the player's benefit, though there are some who will find the running game somewhat hampered. Hopefully next year greater balance will be struck.
Controls in Madden have always been really precise. Building on that precision, the development team has apparently slowed down the action just enough to put even more control into the hands of the player. Rather than relying solely on flawless knowledge of the button layout and then reacting appropriately with twitch reflexes, players now have just a bit more time to see the play develop. This makes angles of approach on defense and the execution of the running game more accessible and integral. Controls in Madden NFL 10 are the best they've ever been, and that's saying a lot.
In addition to standard exhibition play, the devs at Tiburon worked extensively on honing the Franchise Mode in Madden NFL 10. According to EA, "over the past few years it [Franchise Mode] had not received the amount of improvements" the developers wanted. Considering this is the most played single-player feature in the entire game, it's good to know that it has been overhauled. The new Franchise Mode is as robust as always, but the new gameday, half-time, and around the league presentations draw the player deeper into the game than ever before. Also, deep features such as custom draft classes, franchise upgrade bonuses, and better out-of-game CPU logic make building a franchise more realistic and engaging. I also really liked the way drafted players grow under your tutelage exponentially in their first few years as professionals. This really makes it feel like you're leaving your mark on the team.
Outside of single- and local multiplayer, a couple important online additions keep the series' sticks moving forward in terms of multplayer action. For starters, the Online Franchise mode allows up to 32 players to join in on the action. Online Franchise features live drafts and player transactions, and league message boards which can be managed via your console, PC, or even through an iPhone/iPod Touch app launching on August 18, 2009. For the first time ever, online co-op has been introduced to the Madden frnachise. Unfortunately, the tweaked camera views and occasional glitches make this a less interesting prospect than it otherwise could've been. Nevertheless, it's nice that the option has finally come about despite its shortcomings.
Bottom-line? As it was with all of the game's recent predecessors, there isn't a substantial need for casual fans to upgrade to Madden NFL 10. If you're content with the version you already have, you can get by without picking this one up on day one. Nevertheless, it is definitely an outstanding game - the best the series has ever seen. A great technical foundation has been laid with this year's outing, and true Madden fans will appreciate the package EA has put together. Likewise, if you've patiently waited for a true next-gen football title, now's the time to pull out your wallet.
CCC Editor / News Director