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Video Game of the Week – Madden NFL 11

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In many ways, Madden NFL  11 is competing against itself. The long-running and much-acclaimed football franchise so dominates the space that new releases can really only be compared to prior editions. Even here, the publisher is caught in a Catch 22: do too much and it will risk turning off the legions of existing Madden fans; do too little and it won’t be able to justify the $60 upgrade.

By these onerous standards, Madden NFL 11 comes off pretty well, adding enough new features to make it fresh and interesting, while sticking religiously to its roots of realistic hard-hitting action.

The most obvious change in Madden NFL 11 is the inclusion of GameFlow. The GameFlow system basically acts as an offensive and defensive coordinator, automatically calling plays based on the game situation. Although not for the hardcore player, GameFlow is a big help for the casual gamer who might otherwise struggle with the increasing complexity of the schemes and play-calling menus.

The artificial intelligence in Madden has been improved on both sides of the ball, with linemen and other position players moving with a greater sense of purpose. At the higher difficulty levels, players will have to run a variety of different plays, no longer relying on just a few money plays to march down the field.

On the online side, a new 3-vs-3 feature allows players to grab two friends and take on any other 3-person team. One player controls the quarterback, a second manages the running game, and the third player handles the receiving. It makes for some intense action and the 3-vs-3 mode is likely to dominate online play for the foreseeable future.

Every year Madden makes small improvements to the overall graphics and this year is no exception. Well-known characters like Saints quarterback Drew Brees (featured on this year’s box cover) and Rex Ryan, coach of the Jets, are depicted in astonishing detail, capturing gestures and mannerisms that are eerily lifelike. Other improvements include the commentary booth, where new play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson teams up with returning color man Chris Collingsworth.

All-in-all, Madden NFL 11 confirms the franchise’s status as probably the best sports video game ever. It’s a must-have for existing Madden fans everywhere, and will richly reward those newcomers that decide it’s finally time to jump on board.      

Madden NFL 11 is rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB. Check out their video game ratings and content descriptors at ESRB.org 

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platforms:
Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, Sony PSP
Genre:
Sports simulation
RRP:
$39.99 - $59.99
Release Date:
August 10, 2010
ESRB Rating:
“E” for Everyone



Comments:
Comment by geekbabe, posted 8/20/2010, 9:20 AM:

We are definitely ready for some football in this house. The Madden NFL offerings are a favorite of both my husband & son.
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