As you can see, the game play experience has had a pretty incredible leap from Madden 10 to Madden 11 and it’s by far one of the largest changes from a year-to-year sports title to date. The changes obviously won’t go over well with everyone, but for those looking for more than just a nice coat of paint should be pleasantly surprised and welcoming of them.
Thankfully, EA didn’t just focus on the game play aspect, but also on delivering a couple of new game modes to enjoy as well through Madden Ultimate Team and Online Team Play. Madden Ultimate Team was first introduced to the Madden franchise last year through a free download and is available from the get go this year. Of course, there isn’t much changed from the original installment to this one, but it does add a nice change of pace element from your every day game of Madden.
As for Online Team Play, if you’ve been a fan of EA Sports’ other franchises such as the NHL or FIFA titles, you’ll immediately be aware of how kickass this game mode can potentially be. Users can compete in 3-on-3 games online where each player selects if they want to control the QB, RBs, or WRs for the offense and the DL, LBs and DBs for the defense. The user will be locked into these positions for the entire game and will have to rely on great teamwork to pull out the victory. Unfortunately, Madden hasn’t caught up to the expansive features for this mode of its brethren (NHL/FIFA), but this is definitely a good starting point to move forward with.
You may have noticed that franchise play isn’t something I’ve put much time into within this review and that’s not because it isn’t important, but rather that EA put zero focus into the modes. Franchise both offline and online are 100% identical to what they were last year. Sure, they made some tweaks to player progression and statistical achievements from the AI over the course of a season, but most Maddenites looking for a big change will be sorely disappointed.
Sadly, gamers who live and die by Madden Online are going to be completely dissatisfied with this year’s product if patches aren’t implemented quickly. As it stands, your opponent can quit within the first two quarters of play and not be penalized with a loss or a disconnect percent whatsoever. Furthermore, you can no longer invite friends to a ranked game or anyone else for that matter. The only way to take part in ranked competition is to hit Play Now and hope some random person doesn’t end up being a jackass that ruins the playing experience. Why did EA choose to make these changes? Nobody knows, but if they plan on keeping its user base happy, patches should be created quickly to modify and rectify these issues.
Visually, Madden is as stunning as ever…not only has the presentation received a major overhaul, but the player model and details have been improved upon significantly. The player detail when it comes to facial features and body types have never been more unique from player-to-player than it has been this year. On top of that, the lighting team has done a fantastic job bringing out the atmosphere of each stadium and making it look like what you’d see on TV each week.
I can’t say enough for the design team and the improvements they’ve made upon the game. If they can continue to build on this model and perfect it for this generation, a lot of gamers are going to start to feel a little bit spoiled.
Madden NFL 11 is not a step in the right direction for Tiburon Studios, but more of a leap. Users continually complaining about a yearly roster update with a new coat of paint should be pleasantly surprised by the chances that have taken place from Madden 10 to Madden 11. Of course there is always going to be the strong group of haters that can’t see past their own nose in order to see the great strides EA has taken with the title, but then again, those are the gamers that will be missing out the most. If you’re looking for a football title worthy of your wallet this year, Madden NFL 11 delivers on almost all accounts.