The legendary football simulation franchise has pumped out yet another installment, but will Madden NFL 11 be able to bring back the slowly fading series?
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Another Year, Another Addition: Madden NFL 11, as with every other past installment in the older-then-time franchise, has added in a couple new features and additions to persuade your wallet to open up this year.The most obvious and most advertised new element is the "Gameflow" system. Gameflow allows you to choose a play nearly instantly, though the gimmick here is that you are not choosing the play, the game is. The system was most likely enacted so that you, the player, can focus more on the actual plays then the playcalling. Gameflow decides what plays to choose for you depending on the current situation in the game, what down it is, how far you've got to do until a first down, etc. It does a decent job of picking acceptable plays for you, but it seems that Gameflow prefers to pick passing plays significantly more often then run plays. You can alter the play with an audible before the snap, but obviously you only have a couple of different audible formations to choose from. If you so choose, you can also ignore the Gameflow playcalling and just pick your own plays though, so really there is nothing to complain about with the system. Its not necessary, and frankly it feels like its does little else but replace the "Ask Madden" option, which also suggested a play for you. In addition to Gameflow, some other things have been altered in the game and probably have a bigger impact on how the game is actually played. First off, the commentary team has been changed up a bit this year. Cris Collinsworth is still around, but the rather bland Tom Hammond has been kicked this time around. His replacement is Gus Johnson, who you may have seen commentating on Showtime sporting events. Gus Johnson is certainly more enthusiastic, but perhaps he gets a little too excited during the game. Even the smallest gain will cause Johnson to have a heart attack, and if you score a touchdown expect to go deaf. Aside from factors that have little effect on the actual gameplay, the overall AI in the game has been beefed quite a bit as well. AI stupidity has always been a problem in the Madden NFL series, but this time around it seems as though your teammates and opponents are actually capable. The defense does a better job of covering areas and players that they need to cover, and they rarely, if ever, run into each other or back pedal far longer then they need to. Offensively, your team has gotten a nice boost as well. Linemen do a better job of protecting the halfback, but for some reason they still do a poor job of keeping the quarterback safe. Obviously, the AI has been improved pretty significantly in most areas, but it could be said that the offensive linemen do a worse job when it comes to QB protection.
This Feels Familiar: Gameplay wise, I believe that Madden NFL 11 is just more of the same. You pick a pass, you throw the ball and it still feels like it did last year. You pick a run, you run the ball and it still feels like it did last year.Honestly I can't blame EA here, because it is a sport and can only be played a certain way. I will say that the player animations are much smoother and more fluid then ever before. Tackles look significantly better, player models are more detailed and visually the game is the best it has ever been.
Milking The Cow Dry: Madden NFL 11, like previous years, features an online mode that, after some time, ends up being very important in terms of keeping the game's longevity alive.Before I go into the new features, it is important to note that unless you buy this game new and sealed, you will be forced to fork over cash to play this one online. Each (new) game comes with an online code that enables the online functionality, and if that code is used (as it most likely would be if you bought the game used), prepare to pay up. I think this is a terrible money making scam (UFC Undisputed 2010 did the same thing) and way to still make money even if they don't get the sales from a new game, but obviously most people won't mind paying up to play online. In any case, this year, Madden NFL 11 allows you and some friends to hit the field at the same time, on the same field...and on the same team! Yes, you and your real life teammates can play on a single team, in different positions, in a game. It is a great addition, but playing from any perspective but the QB just looks odd and takes a good amount of time to get used to. Overall though, the online mode is just more of the same. The gameplay is still extremely fun, and it's still enjoyable to play head to head with somebody online, but if you've played any other recent Madden title online, you've played this one.
Rent vs. Buy: Madden NFL 11 has added a couple new features into the franchise, but I think it is evident that EA is running out of ideas and new gimmicks to add into the series.The Gameflow system is OK, but its nothing special and as I mentioned just feels like the "Ask Madden" option of previous years. As well, I don't know many people who would like to have their plays selected for them. The gameplay is more of the same as well. While still immensely enjoyable (it's still obvious why Madden is the king of football games), its nothing you haven't seen before and the improved player animation and AI just don't do enough to alter or seriously enhance the gameplay. I would most certainly give this one a rent before picking it up, especially if you are uncomfortable with the idea of having to pay for the online play if you buy the game used.
The gameplay is more of the same as well. While still immensely enjoyable (it's still obvious why Madden is the king of football games), its nothing you haven't seen before and the improved player animation and AI just don't do enough to alter or seriously enhance the gameplay. I would most certainly give this one a rent before picking it up, especially if you are uncomfortable with the idea of having to pay for the online play if you buy the game used.
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