|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. 12, 2008||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|
by Pete Richards
The PS2 is becoming more and more outdated as the months go by, and it's only logical that development companies focus more attention on creating games for current-gen consoles. Lately, PS2 games feel like dumbed-down versions of new releases and PS2 owners have no choice but to feel a tad ripped off after spending money on a lackluster product. In the case of Madden NFL 09, PS2 owners should be wary of how much they actually want to play a game that is very similar to last year's installment.
It becomes hard to review annual sports titles such as this, which sometimes offer nothing more than updated rosters and a few new features. While the PlayStation 2 version of Madden NFL 09 is a great game, you have to take into consideration how much this title has to offer longtime fans of the series - and it's safe to say those who purchased last year's title may be disappointed.
As soon as you open the package, you might notice the booklet is in dull black and white as opposed to bright, glossy color, automatically making PS2 owners feel as though EA is doing all they can to save on manufacturing this PS2 game. Of course, Brett Favre is still in a Packers' uniform considering his decision to sign with the Jets was only made a couple weeks ago. When you load up the game, you'll notice the menus look crisper than ever, and this edition is backed by an energetic soundtrack featuring the likes of Offspring, Gym Class Heroes, Busta Rhymes, and Disturbed. The menus make for a great presentation, doing a good job of getting the player pumped and ready for some football.
Jump into Play Now and it takes short time to realize how simplified this PS2 version of Madden has become. Where last year's installment simplified things on the defensive end with the introduction of the Hit Stick 2.0, which also makes a return this year, 09 takes things further on the offensive side with the all-new QB Avoidance Stick. When being rushed by defenders, tapping the Left Analog in any direction makes your QB perform a rapid sidestep or another maneuver to avoid being sacked. It's still a bit tricky to pull off, however, since you are mostly looking up field for an open receiver, but it can work for you to get out of hairy situations. Passing is easier in 09 than it seems, A.I. defenders don't make a lot of effort to intercept the ball or bat it away. When the opposing team is carrying the ball, it seems turnovers are more frequent, as the A.I. fumbles easily and is incredibly slow when it comes to recovering loose balls. Juking is also much easier when performing several sidesteps in a row to move past defenders.
When it comes to new features in Madden NFL 09, there aren't many to speak of. The all-new Family Play is the only new mode, which was introduced by EA earlier this summer on their NCAA Football 09 title. Family Play is basically intended for those who aren't used to the series, and it offers an extremely simple way of playing the game that involves nothing more than hitting X to pass to anyone on the field, as the computer selects the most open man for an easy reception. You don't swing the Left Analog back and forth for kicking at all - tapping X allows for the perfect punts, kickoffs, and field goals - and there aren't as many plays to choose from, while the best ones are highlighted for you as if you selected the Ask Madden feature. While Family Play is a good addition for those looking to get the whole family involved or just learning how to play, experienced Madden fans will rarely use this seemingly tacked-on mode.