Madden 2009 All-Play marks the 20th year of Madden NFL games and the third installment of Madden Football on the Wii, culminating into what is the longest running, sports video game series. All-Play 2009 is a solid addition to the series and takes the gameplay features from the traditional aspect and couples them with an updated party play in what turns out to be a very good game. However, it’s seen somewhat less of an improvement than what was hoped for.
First and foremost, the new All-Play builds on the 2007 and 2008 releases for Madden Wii and grows in many areas, though there are definitely places where the game is still lacking. The gameplay is much more enveloping and hard hits definitely look and feel a lot better, but the interface remains almost entirely the same. Franchise and Superstar mode are almost untouched from ’07 and ’08, which is very disappointing to say the least. Players that traditionally have gone through the game for an in-depth and hardcore gaming experience likely won’t find this game to be up to par. It’s definitely getting closer in some areas, but the lack of improvements is a major setback.
The plus side is there definitely are some improvements. In-game features, such as the All-Play controls scheme, are a lot of fun, easy to pick up on, and optional (in case traditional play calling is a bit too much of a stretch for you). The game is definitely much better with a Nunchuk, but if that’s not an option, the controller-only layout is still easily used. With the single controller, running direction is controlled by the A.I., but alternative moves such as spins, jukes, and stiff arms are all controlled by the computer, which works out great for the casual player or someone who hasn’t had much experience with the Madden franchise. The major issue with using a controller with no Nunchuk is the occasional goof by the A.I. There were a few instances where players would careen out of the way to run out of bounds just before scoring a touchdown.
The real fun of the game comes in the new 5-on-5 mode. This mode casts franchise teams in a very Wii-like game environment, with over sized heads, bright colors, and, overall, a more cartoon-like look of things. This is where most of your time playing through games will likely be spent instead of the traditional gameplay. 5-on-5 mode is much better than the 2-on-2 from the previous years’ releases. It’s easy to get carried away with the backyard-style football and, the best part is, even players with no football game experience will pick-up on the play-style very quickly and easily. The only issue is when an opponent figures out there are no penalties called and destroys a receiver twenty yards before the ball even gets there in an almost NFL Blitz way.
The single largest addition to the game, and what sets the Wii version of Madden 2009 above the rest, is the new Call Your Shots mode. It’s easy, use the Wii controller to pick a new route for any or all receivers to run, no matter how deep or how ridiculous the route may be. Call Your Shots mode is featured in both regular gameplay and 5-on-5 mode, so players should be sure to take advantage of this and be truly creative for the first time in a football game on console.
Party mode has received some updates but is a continuation of more of the same. The mini-games and quizzes are fun and all, but there is very little new there.
Gamers that have been through that particular area are likely to avoid spending much time in this area besides just stat crunching their Miis. If Madden games are a new addition to a game collection, Party mode definitely has a lot to offer after its years of cultivation.
In the end, the Madden Franchise has been a tremendous success for all involved. EA has done a great job in Madden All-Play 2009 for the Wii by taking the motion controls and skillfully bringing that element into Madden football. As much success as EA has had on the Wii, though, All-Play is a mild disappointment with its lack of upgrades within the Franchise and Superstar modes. Yet, the gameplay will continue to develop, and the additions of 5-on-5 and Call Your Shots are great for casual play, but the overall hardcore element of the game definitely needs to be ramped up.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.7 Graphics
Graphics again are improved as well as actions within the game. 5-on-5 is cartoony goodness. 4.1 Control
Definitely easy to use, but some controls didn’t seem to function terribly smoothly. 3.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Not a huge fan of EA soundtracks, but All-Play 2009 has a few good songs to chock up in the “unnoticeables” column. 3.9
Worth playing if you’re into the casual elements, but hardcore gamers won’t get their fill here.
4.1 Overall Rating – Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.