Madden NFL 11 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii | PSP
Madden NFL 11 box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS 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. 10, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-8 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Play by play commentating duties have been picked up by CBS’s Gus Johnson, replacing Tom Hammond. While Gus does a serviceable job, he doesn’t have the same voice and familiarity that Al Michaels offered. On the other hand, Chris Collinsworth is back this year providing color commentary. Collinsworth has shot up in recent years as a highly respected NFL guru and keeping him on the broadcasting team lends the announcing an air of credibility it would lack with anyone else in the broadcast booth. Here’s hoping Collinsworth is kept around for many years to come.

Madden NFL 11 screenshot

The musical selection is a pleasant surprise, but your millage may vary based upon taste. There are not as many tracks as some sports titles with roughly 15 or so songs, a bit light and prone to repetitiveness. Harping on the musical selection may seem a bit trite in this instance, but when you’re pouring hours upon hours navigating menus and comparing stats between games, the music better not suck. Classic bands such as AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, and Ozzy Osbourne manage to keep the musical wear and tear to a minimum. If you’re going to listen to a song repeatedly, why not have it be a song that’s stood the test of time?

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much work done this year on the Franchise or NFL Superstar modes. Franchise improvements have chiefly come to give more realistic simulation stats for players and to improve the free agent and contract signing process. NFL Superstar mode continues to pale in comparison to MLB The Show’s Road to the Show career mode, and this is coming from a football guy. Frankly, every sports game could learn from The Show’s career mode, but that’s a topic for another day.

If there’s one thing Madden does do, it’s offer a bevy of ways to experience the game online. Online modes include Madden Ultimate Team, Online Franchise, Head to Head, and the new Online Team Play. Online Team Play is the stand-out feature this year, allowing up to three players to take on the CPU or three other players in a game where each player is responsible for one unit on the squad. For example, you may be in control of the defensive line while your buddy is managing the linebackers and some stranger is handling defensive back duties. It’s a wonderful way to make each player responsible for a very specific part of the game and brings accountability. I’d just start to feel sorry for the guy on your team controlling the secondary now. The massive room for error there makes me apprehensive to ever want to be the one explaining how an accidental button press led to a 5 yard slant turning into a wide open 70 yard touchdown.

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So what’s the verdict? Well, if you’re one of the Madden-head sports gamers out there, you were going to pick this one up regardless of what any review told you. The hype train is too difficult to resist. For the rest of us, particularly those of us who have been playing Madden off and on for the last 20 years, it’s a little more nuanced of a question. If you’ve been taking it easy the last couple of years like I have, this seems like a perfectly acceptable place to jump back in and experience the cumulative improvements the series has made. At the same time, if you live for online play, the new Online Team Play mode will bring many new dynamics all on its own. But if you’re the guy who has Madden 10 and typically keeps to franchise mode or playing with friends in the dorm room, you really could save yourself the money and wait for the inevitable price drop or just take a pass (no pun intended, hey-oh!) on this one, if you can stomach it. Madden NFL 11 is certainly a good game, but doesn’t offer enough changes to necessitate it a must buy to casual player.

By Caleb Newby
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.5
Graphics
Graphics have been a strong suit for the Madden series and this is no exception. From the players to the presentation, Madden 11 looks great.
4.3
Control
The removal of the sprint button is a much bigger deal than it sounds, but it simplifies the game while removing a fairly redundant command. Players move more fluidly and have more weight to them than ever.
3.9
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music selection is solid, but fairly small. Chris Collinsworth is great to have in the announcers booth, but the jury is still out on Gus Johnson. He’s no Al Michaels, that’s for sure.
3.6
Play Value
This is a tricky one. If you’re not a dedicated online player and own last year’s game, the play value goes down substantially. But if you’re big into playing online or have taken a break from the series, this is as good a version as any to jump into.
4.1
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Simpler: from 350 plays down to 1, the all-new GameFlow system puts you in the helmet of an NFL quarterback, to execute an authentic, situational game plan, one play at a time.
  • Quicker: with 60-minute game times reduced to 30, spend more time on the field and less in the playbook. Same drama, half the time.
  • Deeper: Madden NFL 11 is feature-rich, with improved animations and control options, enhanced online functionality, and new broadcast and audio presentation that delivers the NFL experience fans have come to expect.


  • Screenshots / Images
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