This is one of those stupid first impression articles that long time sports gamers dread. The kind that ends in It’s the best one yet!”. You know; the kind that we all hate, love to slam, and all that jazz. It had to happen to me some day.
I only had time for a quick game last night. I did not play around with any of the settings, other than changing my favorite team to the Atlanta Falcons. I think that means the game was on Pro, and 7 minute quarters with an accelerated clock. Not sure if the IQ thing was turned on, but I think it was because IQ500 was displayed at the start and end of the games.
I picked the 70’s red helmets, gray pants, and current red jerseys. Horrid combination, but fun. Played Tampa Bay and won 17-0.
The presentation is truly upgraded, and is a welcome enhancement. No, it has nothing to do with the gameplay, but it is worth pointing out. Besides, I only played one game so I don’t have a lot of gamplay bobbles to throw your way!
I started the game on defense, and I had no idea what I was doing so I just used the “Ask Madden” option. Same for controls; I could not work much magic, and after looking at the in-game controls options, I really did not see much in the way of “taking control of your player” or special moves options. I hope this means I just missed a menu or setting. Maybe the game defaults to some sort of easy setting? Regardless, I held the Buccaneers to three and out.
On offense I opened the game up with Matt Ryan’s new toy. Quick Pass route to Tony Gonzalez. While I only had a short gain, I can imagine what the Falcons will do with Gonzalez this year, and it will be impressive. I ended the game with Gonzalez having 4 catches; one other designed play, while the other two where dump off passes.
In past versions of Madden, I never felt like I had time to really learn the playbook. Clock is always ticking. Same for this year. I need to see if there is an option where the accelerated clock runs after you select your play. One thing I did notice straight away – use the Right Analog stick to quickly change the sets. Sub your HB, WR for TE, and put in a Big set. I love the ability to quickly and easily put Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood in the same backfield. The “Falcons” formation is also included; this is Atlanta’s version of the wildcat formation.
The only nitpicks I can offer up right now are not really gameplay related. Sometimes Madden (via the “Ask Madden” feature) will talk over the commentary, leading to a confusing array of dual audio channels. I also saw a couple of graphical animation type screw ups. These resulted in the ball carrier quickly (warp speed) doing something. Usually as part of a tackle sequence.
I won the game 17-0. I had the ball 20+ minutes to the Bucs 7 minutes of possession. I held the Bucs to under 100 yards of offense (2-3 sacks hurt their cause); they did have ~125 kick return yards. I forget my passing yardage, but it was somewhere around 200, while rushing yards were around 60, with a 2.5 yards/rush average. Remember, this is default settings, me not knowing the controls, and after a couple Abita Jockamo IPAs.
I think there is some hope in this version of Madden, but a new season always brings fresh hope. I am not going to end this post by saying that this is the best version ever [WTF, did you think I was a complete tool?], but at least I did not walk away thinking the game sucks. In my book, I call that a win.