I have spent a few games with the PS3 Madden 11 demo, and so far color me unimpressed. I was going to title this “Madden 10 in Disguise” however after further review, that would be unfair and a little over the top. Here are a few initial thoughts …
First, I am surprised that the animations do not really seem new and improved. For example, watching Peyton Manning throw the ball is an exercise in how not to animate a game. I am sure there are plenty of differences a more discerning Madden gamer would notice, but I am underwhelmed. Is this really the best that EA can do with the PS4?
Second, the announcing is crap. After Matt Sanchez threw a TD, I was told how Sanchez “has been doing this for years.” Seriously? I am sure that there is a fine art to intelligent commentary, but after years and years of garbage, I think it is about time to come up with something a little better. The current generation of hardware should be able to provide enough horsepower to come up with something original, dare I say tolerable.
Third, at first blush I like the new kicking system. Then again, in my opinion, anything is better than the old kicking mechanics. My only concern is that it is possible that the new double click system has gone too far in the opposite direction, which could make the kicking game too easy.
Fourth, the new Gameflow system is probably just an automated Ask Madden. It will be fun to see how this system works with different teams and playbooks, and it will certainly simplify things for new gamers. It seems a little dishonest to taut Gameflow as a major new innovation.
Fifth, punt coverage (or really blocking) on returns is abysmal. I don’t expect to return every kick for a TD, but I do expect my blockers to, well, block.
Sixth, how many f’ing INTs can be dropped? I don’t really expect Indy and the Jets to drop potential INT after INT. I am not sure if this is a manifestation of a demo, some sort of bizarre game balance mechanism, or something entirely different. If my guys managed to catch half the potential INTs that they dropped, QB ratings would fall like a rock. Is this how the developers are managing QB accuracy?
Seventh, the new locomotion system, which at first glance seems like the same system used in the NCAA Football 11 demo, is worth watching. It will be nice to see some more differences between a wider variety of players when the full game is released.
Hopefully once I dive deeper into the full game I will be more impressed, but right now I feel like one of those mainstream reviewers that describes each yearly Madden release as a roster update. Based on what I have seen so far, I am not sure where the Madden team invested their money to improve the franchise. Hopefully I am wrong and there will be plenty of nuggets of goodness awaiting my football gaming pleasure when Madden 11 is released in a couple of weeks.