So another year rolls by and EA release all their new sports titles with next year’s date on them. Madden NFL 09 is no exception and once again slightly tweaks the already established game to make a few improvements.
I guess everyone in the US is going nuts for this. Here in the UK it’s a slightly different story as most people don’t even understand how the game’s played. I do understand it on a casual level and luckily, this Madden video game is very kid gloves with newbies.
When you first start the game you play a few calibration levels so the game can set your skill level. The AI then constantly changes as you play the game to match how well you’re doing. It’s tricky to say if this actually works or not but if you find the going too simple or hard you can still make a few adjustments using some handy sliders in the menus.
All the American teams seem to be included too and you can choose to play games as a team in exhibition and franchise mode. Is there a coach mode in Madden 09? Well you can play as a single superstar quarterback, choose an agent, train to make your stats better and then make the plays as chosen by your manager with some John Madden game plans. All I really know about the game is you get 4 downs to make it 10 yards. Fail to do this and the play switches to the other team. So, you have the choice of who to throw the ball to after the snap or whether to charge through the line of defenders.
It’s all about timing and button presses as to whether you connect with a runner but if you do get caught it is possible to dodge and turn your opponents and even wriggle free in some cases. There’s also handy rewind button which can be used to rewind the action Prince of Persia style if you think you can do things better. Luckily you can turn this off if you’re a purist.
Presentation as always is slick and player animations are as smooth and shiny as the helmets they’re wearing. As usual with EA sports games, at first glance it looks like nothing’s changed but for Madden fans it’s a must-buy. If you don’t like or understand American Football though, steer well clear. So Madden NFL 09 gets two scores – a very good 7 out of 10 for the UK and an excellent 8 out of 10 if you’re American.