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Nintendo Wii Impressions: Madden NFL 09 All-Play

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I recently spent some time playing the latest Wii iteration of the Madden series. As it is clear from game’s title, EA is focusing more on casual play than simulation this year.

The main focus of that is the All-Play mode and control scheme. All-Play is designed with novice users in mind. Only the Wii Remote is required for these controls. The gamer does not to have pick which receiver to throw to or control any actual player movement.  Throwing, snapping, tackling, swatting, and special moves are controlled by Wii Remote flicks. In actuality, All-Play control is almost identical to the Family Play control introduced last year.

I tried the All-Play mode out with my wife. She is not that big of a football fan and has never played Madden before. She said that she found it enjoyable and easy to use.  If you have kids who like football but have found Madden too complicated, this is definitely something that they would enjoy.

There are other ways the game tries to draw in the casual crowd. Miis are now integrated into the game. Your referee will be a random Mii from your Wii console, and John Madden himself is a Mii. The new play selection screen is simplified and the Ask Madden feature is improved. Now Madden will not just suggest a play, some text will appear giving an actual reason for his suggestion. The Mii integration and new user interface is neat and well done.

Players now also have the chance to celebrate after a big play. The game will tell you to wave your arms or dance; the more movement you do the bigger a boost your player will receive. It is a bit silly, but fun. It is a good way to taunt your opponent and another way to level the playing field between the casual and hardcore.

Casual fans may be ecstatic at Madden’s new direction but I doubt many hardcore Madden players will be. There is not much new in the way of more traditional features. There is the Call Your Shot mode, which allows you to draw your receivers’ routes using the Wii Remote. You can now play through Superstar Mode using an actual NFL Rookie, instead of just a created player. And there is obvious roster update.

Worst, the All-Play Mode pervades the game so much, it may frustrate more serious gamers. You can turn off All-Play Mode, but even then cartoony elements are present. Those who choose plays by formation now will find it a chore; the narrower view makes it take much longer than is used to.

The graphics are a step back from last year. The grass field is just a green blob. The rest of the graphics are about the same as last year but blurrier. The lack of polish in this area is almost laughable.

If you are a serious football fan the only reason to get this version is if you do not have another system.  The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions are much more appealing to those looking for a deep, strategic football game.  If you are more of a casual fan, this is a great version. All-Play would be great at parties, or for young children. If you find the more traditional Madden too intimidating you might want to check this out as well.

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About Mark Kalriess

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/tall_writer Tall Writer

    I reviewed this game and thought it was a nice alternative for EA to entice new fans while building the skills of developing players, so they might “graduate” to the regular versions. Good analysis :-)

  • http://theentertainmentcenter.us/ Mark Kalriess

    Yeah, I think EA is trying to hook the kids young now. Like cigarette companies.

  • http://www.legalarcade.com Nathaniel Edwards

    That game makes me shudder just a bit. I’m sure it’s good for the kids, but that seems a bit much to not be just a different football game.

    In NCAA Football, it’s amazing to me the difference it makes to kids between playing with real people and playing with the mascot teams.
    Real people = most boring game they’ve ever played
    Mascot teams = a giggle frenzy and they find it really fun

  • diamond

    Wow that game is really fun i love it i play it every day