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Madden NFL 09!

The long-running football giant has been in business for 20 years, but will 09 be able to breathe new life into the popular football franchise?

First Impressions: Whenever possible, we try to give our loyal website viewers the most video footage and most in depth unbiased reviews imaginable. Part of that development is our "initial impressions" where we offer up our first impressions of the title that we are playing.

This gives our website visitors more of clear understanding of what to first expect out of the game when they initially pop it into their consoles.

If you scroll to the bottom of the page in the Rent vs. Buy section of the review and do not see the "final impressions" assessment then it's safe to say that you are reading our initial impression of the game. Once the final impression is up, there will be no further video or review done to that particular title.

Final Impressions: The final impression is just that, our completed breakdown and overall thoughts on the game based off of our entire game playing time.

You can locate the final impressions assessment in the "Rent vs. Buy" section of the review (always located at the very end of all of our reviews). Here you will be able to read our final thoughts on the title and also see any potential grade changes that were made to the game as well (higher or lower). Should a grading change occur, it will be clearly noted with the previous grade, the new grade, and why the change occurred.

Although this approach is more time consuming and requires many more man hours, our entire goal has always been to provide the best and completely unbiased reviews possible and we feel that the inclusion of the Initial Impressions and Final Impressions sections will give you a better view of what to expect from a new game.

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Grass Stains: The first thing you will notice when you pop in the 20th year version of Madden and get into a game is the much improved presentation that you will be treated to.

The game now has a much bigger focus on giving you a presentation that really makes you feel like you are at a game, and Madden NFL 09 succeeds.

When the game begins, you will be treated to an amazingly gorgeous shot that shows the parking lot outside the stadium (with cars parked and arriving), as well as the incredibly accurate stadium itself.

In addition to the improved beginning presentation, the game itself also looks unrivaled by anything a sports game has produced.

The graphics are vastly upgraded over last years installment, and the graphics tend to be so clear that you can see the grass get rubbed into the player's jerseys, and sometimes you will be able to see a penalty before it is called because the graphics are so detailed.

Also, the weather actually makes a difference this time around. If it is raining, your player may slip in a puddle, and even when you are running, you will be able to see rain puddles splash when you step into them.

Friendship Terminated: Two other huge additions to Madden NFL 09 are the Rewind and BackTrack features that have never been seen before.

The Rewind features allows users to rewind any play that they thought went wrong, in an attempt to try the play over again.

The Rewind feature is very interesting and works perfectly, allowing you the opportunity to re-do a play over, but the fact that you tend to overuse it makes Rewind a guilty pleasure.

The Rewind features tends to turn even the most honest players into Rewinding machines, and while you can set the amount of Rewinds you can use to 1, 3, 5, or unlimited, you always tend to keep it at unlimited.

Also, while you cannot use the Rewind feature online, you can use it when playing against a friend in your house, and being able to Rewind your friend's TD feels overly cheap.

The BackTrack feature is a great addition to the Madden franchise, and lets you hear Chris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond's breakdown of a bad play that you performed.

The only small quibble that the BackTrack features has is that sometimes Chris tries to say that you should have thrown the ball into a spot that nobody would have been able to pull off or makes some weird, very inaccurate comments.

These small flaws only show up occasionally though, and you never usually feel like a computer is calling the game.

The commentary in Madden NFL 09 is also vastly improved, and Chris and Tom fit perfectly into the Madden NFL 09 presentation.

Stopped In The Backfield: Before you can get into the actual gameplay of Madden NFL 09, you must compete a virtual training mode called Madden Test, that gives you the level that which you play at in different sections, such as you play at an All-Pro level when you run the ball.

The Madden Test then gives you a Madden IQ the end of the test, and when you play the game, each play that you call be at a different difficulty, such as when you pass the ball, the defense AI is maxed out.

The only trouble with the Madden Test is that the running test makes running in the real game way to difficult, essentially killing your chances of running successfully.

The other tests are perfectly tuned, and you will feel like the AI is set right with all of the other aspects of the game except for running.

He Got Drilled There: The gameplay of Madden NFL 09 is essentially the same as last year, with some minor improvements made to enhance your experience.

You will still play with the same camera angles, same type of throw and run controls and feel, and if you are good at any other Madden, you will excel here too.

The changes, while not very large, are still very welcome and include a Breakaway Cam, which shakes the camera and zooms in on the running player to make for a very cinematic feel and some other minor details like populated sidelines.

Possibly, some of these additions made this years version a tad more buggy then any other year, and the game can occasionally freeze up on a picture, but the gameplay will go on.

While we only experienced the freeze a couple of times, it may happen more depending on how old your PS3 or Xbox 360 is, or how scratched the Madden disc is, there really is not a way to tell.

Draft Bust: The Superstar mode returns again this year, but unfortunately not much has changed since even 07's version.

This time around you will have the option of being able to take one of the draft picks of the 2008 NFL Draft through his career in an attempt to get in induction into the Hall of Fame as well as creating your own unique player.

The gameplay of Superstar mode remains the exact same, and has you going through your weekly schedule, which includes practice, occasional interviews and of course games.

The Superstar mode is still enjoyable at first, like it was last time, but nothing has really changed, and if you have played and got sick of the Superstar mode before, you will not find anything to revitalize the experience.

Also, the game tends to still feel overly difficult when you are playing with a user created player because he can never break any tackles, throw very far, or catch very well unless you are some how able to ace the stat-deciding drills.

Overpriced Beer: The Franchise mode has also returned, but also with few new additions added to the feel of the mode.

Franchise still has you choosing your favorite NFL team, and then leading them to the Super Bowl, all the while trading, signing, cutting, training and drafting.

The Franchise mode in Madden NFL 09 is not different from 08's mode very much, and the only thing you will notice that is different about the Franchise mode is the cleaner presentation and the more impressive menus...that's it.

Roar Of The Field At Home: The online mode included in Madden NFL 09 is absolutely magnificent, and is unrivaled by any other Madden's online mode.

The process of getting connected to online is amazingly easy, and the actual gameplay is incredible.

There are constantly well over one hundred people online to play with and when you get into the game the experience is flawless.

The gameplay of Madden NFL 09 while online is amazing, and there is never any lag at all during, the game.

The game runs just like it does in single player, but will allow you to play with real life opponents online.

In addition to playing online in a game, Madden NFL 09 also features online leagues that allow you to create a league with up to 32 other players, fighting for a Super Bowl-like championship trophy.

These leagues are interesting in theory and would be very enjoyable, but often you cannot find enough people to have the league run correctly.

If you have 6 people for example, when the draft rolls around, everyone will get the best players because there is no one to take the less then stellar players.

Rent vs. Buy: Madden NFL 09 is an incredible game that is nearly flawless in every way. The vastly improved visuals and small added features that make the game even more realistic like group tackling, populated sidelines, and outstanding commentary make 09 the best in the long-running franchise.

The amazing online mode also adds a massive amount of replay value if you do not really feel like playing against the computer, and the streamlined gameplay is unrivaled by anything seen before in a sports game.

If you liked any of the other Maddens, or even if you were turned off for some reason, 09 will be the year to get.

There is no reason anyone who likes sports game should miss out on this masterpiece of a football game.

Report Card

If you liked any of the other Maddens, or even if you were turned off for some reason, 09 will be the year to get. There is no reason anyone who likes sports game should miss out on this masterpiece of a football game. (Krakrabbit.com)


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