Friday, August 1, 2008

Madden NFL 2009 Demo Review (PS3)

Graphics: 9.3 out of 10 - Madden NFL 2009 brings the most realistic player models and stadiums to date. The grass, which I thought was awesome in 2008, has budded even more out of the ground in this year's game. The player models, while still not perfect, have improved greatly. Each player's face and built has been scanned and transferred from image to 3D. Similar to the NBA 2K series, you can now see sweat on every player's forearm. Also, the sideline players, coaches, and personnel look like they are actually interested in the game.

Gameplay: 9.0 out of 10 - Again, I thought 2008 had so many different in-game features that that game couldn't be topped. Well, 2009 brings more realistic catching animations (more dropped balls, less spectacular catches) and a more realistic running game (spins are effective at the line and you can mash your way through defenders using a combination of the R stick and X). In terms of passing, the defense keeps you on your toes. You can't expect more than five seconds in the pocket without a hurd of defenders around you. Throwing the ball feels better (thanks to the 60 Frames Per Second upgrade), but user catching has gotten more difficult. The timing is a bit off (credit the new and improved on-field camera) so this will take some adjustments to get used to. Since I sucked so much in my first fifty drives (scoring a touchdown not once), I never got a chance to play defense. Kicking and punting controls are the same as last year.

Features: 10 out of 10 - I can already tell that this is going to be the deepest video game ever in terms of features. When you first turn on the demo, John Madden appears and instructs you to take part in Madden IQ, which is a system that determines which difficulties to put you at. The idea of setting different difficulties for each major aspect of the game is a good one. For instance, I blew past the defenders rushing the ball. As a result, my sliders for rushing were adjusted to All-Pro. I didn't do as great passing the ball. As a result, my sliders for passing were adjusted to Pro. To put defense into perspective, I didn't tackle the offensive player once (when they threw and when they ran!). My sliders were adjusted to the lowest level possible. At any time, you can go back to Madden IQ and play the mini-games over to improve your ratings.

Overall: 9.4 out of 10 - I might be over-rating the game a little because I have gotten a chance to play defense. In that case, hold tight for August 12 when I will do a complete review of the game.

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