|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: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Though Im not the worlds biggest fan of virtual football, the real game is something Ive loved since I was a kid. Unfortunately, EA Sports year-in-year-out schedule of production for the Madden series makes it even more difficult to get excited for a video-game version of one of Americas favorite pastimes. Does this latest addition to the line-up change all that?
If you played last years Madden offering for the Wii, youll likely recognize the visual style, as well as much of the gameplay content included in this package. Madden NFL 11 doesnt do a whole lot to freshen up the locker room, and quite frankly, its a game that may be a tough sell for fans still enjoying last years roster. That being said, folks just getting into the game for the first time, or back from a series hiatus, will find a solid football experience here worth checking out.
If theres one thing in particular I appreciate about this latest Madden for the Wii, its the simplicity of the games presentation. As far as gameplay is concerned, theres still plenty of depth to discover; however, the menus, gameplay systems, and options make the game surprisingly accessible to newcomers and casual players. Theres certainly room for improvement in terms of clarifying various football concepts, but overall, Madden NFL 11 for the Wii finds a nice balance between catering to long-time fans and newbies.
As per usual, folks can jump into a quick game with Play Now, and the Franchise mode is where youll kick off your career. These are your two main options when it comes to single-player, though you can also include friends here as well. Franchise offers a Sims-like experience in which youll oversee everything from your teams finances, to the buzz of your fan base. Much of the decision making can be left up to the A.I. with mostly positive results, and interactions between you and your advisors consist of running through brief flashes of text and still images. Managing your team isnt a terribly engaging process, but it is a fun diversion from the main game.
When youre ready to make your mark, youll lead your favorite team out onto the field to go head to head with the NFLs finest. There are three play styles to choose from: Gameflow, Arcade, and Conventional, and two options for control. Gameflow is a nifty addition to this years Madden that will likely be a boon for more strategic players who want to track all of the action on the field. Audible lines are tied to each individual player, and the pacing of the action allows for a more methodical approach to each play. Weighing the play styles side by side, however, I preferred the Arcade style, which allowed me to quickly set up plays and keep the action moving at a steady clip.
Upon first jumping into the fray, I instantly took to the controls for playing offense, but it was hard for me to wrap my head around an effective defense. Once I managed to get over the learning curve, I had a surprisingly good time with the game. Though the mechanics themselves are deceptively complex, theres a lot of fun to be had here once you settle into the experience.
Not all of the Wii extras are appreciated, though. You can gesture with the Wii Remote to juke, swipe passes, and kick the ball, but I quickly strayed away from these options when not a requirement. Field goals and punts are straightforward, but tossing a short pass to a receiver, not so much. Thankfully, a simple point-and-press approach allows for more precise and reliable plays that are satisfying to execute. The only drawback with the point-and-press controls are you have to wait until the ball reaches the area of the target player before you can successfully select that player for control. Still, everything comes together with a generally fun ebb and flow.