Madden NFL 10

James Batchelor

Madden NFL 10

As the summer continues, so too does the regular roll-out of EA Sports titles, updating each of the publisher’s series to ensure they stay ahead of the competition.

With Tiger Woods and Fight Night already enjoying commercial success and FIFA 10 mere months away, it’s time for American football fans to immerse themselves once more in their sport of choice.

While not as popular on these shores as our own breed of ‘football’, EA’s Madden series has always fared well at retail, building up an impressive established userbase that will be queueing round the block for Madden NFL 10. This year, EA Sports has a few special treats for both long-time followers and newcomers.

As with many of EA’s other sports titles, the key to immersion is in the detail and Madden NFL 10 will be the most comprehensive, detailed American football game to date. The leads SKUs on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC will once again boast stunning visuals, as well as new technology to take players closer to the field than ever before.

Perhaps the most notable example is the new Pro-Tak animation system. This gives players unprecedented control over the action, allowing them to recreate the brutal tactics seen on screen during the real matches.

Gamers will be able to drag defenders towards the first down marker, orchestrate nine-man tackles, fight for a fumble at the bottom of the pile and use the all-new quarterback avoidance actions to evade the opposing team. The attention to detail is even carried across to the characters around the player – with referees peeling footballers off the in-game fumble pile.

All this and more makes the action on the in-game pitch just as intense as that of its real-life counterpart. This is further enhanced by the overall authenticity of the Madden package: from the arenas to teams, from
the players to the equipment, everything in the game can be seen in the on-screen leagues.

The general presentation also lends the game that authentic NFL atmosphere, modelling itself on the style of a TV broadcast. Cinematic camera angles will make the instant replays even more impressive, and the inclusion of commentators will make players feel like they’re part of the big leagues.

THE MIDAS TOUCHDOWN
As well as controlling the action directly on the pitch, players will be able to get a taste of the power wielded behind the scenes in the Franchise mode. This management-centric campaign allows gamers to run every aspect of their chosen team, including drafting players, signing up free agents and managing the salary cap. They then watch the action via the new, TV-style highlight show.

This mode has also been expanded online. Players can manage all of these options and compete in leagues of 32 teams, with EA organising these in the style of real NFL scheduling. In addition to managing this mode through their console, virtual managers can even adjust their strategies and rosters through a web browser and a special iPod Touch/iPhone application, meaning Madden is never more than a click away.

For fans of a more traditional multiplayer mode, Madden NFL 10 introduces online co-op for the first time in the series’ history. Players can team up with a friend and rotate through a variety of positions, giving them an experience of everything American football has to offer.

The Wii version also features a variety of multiplayer modes, taking a slightly less serious approach to the sport in order to appeal to the console’s expanded audience. Families can enjoy standard tournaments for up to four players, either competing on a full team of 11 or dipping into a quick five-a-side game.

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