Electronic Arts’ Madden NFL ’09 continues the grand tradition of this obsession called football with another successful, creative remediation of the NFL experience. This game series, now in its 20th year, yields yet another amazing accomplishment. This version has a great mix of familiar kinetics where the successful setup makes a dynamic, exciting experience for one to four players.
EA continues to improve this long-running series with improved graphics, new options/customizations (more than 85) and authentic gameplay, which gets anyone ready for some football. With Brett Favre on the cover, Madden NFL '09 provides plenty of pomp and circumstance in beginner, intermediate, advanced and hardcore difficulties plus rival games. Players can also relive and replay legendary game scenarios in Madden Moments.
Don’t worry about the pressure play too much. This year feature some unique “redo” options. First, players can use an in-depth replay called BackTrack to get hints on what went wrong. Regular replays are still available, but having some commentator feedback can help. Last, but certainly not least, is the rewind option, which gives you control over space and time in the Madden universe. Players can rewind and redo the play, which can be done quickly after the play is finished. The best part is unlimited option for this feature (default, set to one, can be changed).
Players also have numerous features to ensure success and tons of entertainment. The smart route makes receivers reach that first down marker. Other notable features include audibles which can be set before snaps; the “whoa” factor bobble catches, teams can return missed field goals and touchdown celebrations – just make sure to reach the specified area in time. These gameplay essentials include some nifty dances like the Lambeau Leap and other acrobatic moves.
Players definitely have great assistance choices like following blockers and well-timed use of the power sprint. Spins, hurdles, jukes and the highlight stick make great evasion tactics while the always effective hit stick (just push in direction of the target) always makes a great defensive weapon.
Practice always makes perfect. Players can get better through testing, practice and several other game modes that build experience and skill levels. Practice activities like the forty yard dash, bench press and offensive/defensive challenges can be customized and skipped. Playing against the CPU in a nice points system pushes players to improve their play quickly in this mini game-like mode. Play challenges were rare and automatically activated on close calls like whether a receiver was out of bounds.
The manual has the basics, but players need, yes, need to experience the important training elements. Now for the Madden I.Q. …and you thought statistics and fantasy standings were a status symbol. Set in the virtual training center, with a similar visual style to the movie Tron, this new feature assesses players a score ranging from 200 to 800 based completed drills in rushing, passing, rushing defense and passing defense (the most challenging in this quartet). The game gives Mr. Madden himself a lot of prominence here as he expertly takes players through each area.
In-game advertising ranging from food to phone service adds some realism to the festivities. The A.I. has a tendency to run out of bounds for no apparent reason and some unexpected player sliding still occurs. Chris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond make decent announcers while new players' details (e.g. tattoos, hair, etc.) and authentic settings/weather effects further enhance the game.
The role playing superstar mode continues The online mode features rivalries and as many as 32 players with customizable game setups plus deep statistics. Players can import a fantasy team (only if built through the EA service) to test the roster. Still no championships online.
A highly enjoyable football experience that strives to improve player performance (if they choose to put in the effort) and pack enough entertainment to get even the most casual fan hyped up for this NFL season and beyond. Players can’t get enough of this football standard, which brings the A-game every time. Essential for fans and highly recommended for all ages.
Madden NFL 09 All-Play version is available on the Wii for even easier play options, especially for young ones. Special 20th anniversary editions (on PS3 and Xbox360) also include Head Coach 09, a previous version of Madden and several other goodies.
Madden NFL 09 is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB. This game can also be found on Nintendo DS, PS2, PSP, Xbox and Xbox 360. En Espanol versions available on Playstation 3 and XBox 360.