Friday, July 30, 2010

UG - Madden 11 (Demo)

Don't call it a comeback, I've been here ... just the other week ... saying I would be back ... screw it. Like my previous post said, I was going to compare the demo of Madden to NCAA to decide which one I would want to buy. I have now had the chance to play both and must say that NCAA has proven to once again be the red-headed stepchild.  Even with NCAA receiving improvements, Madden still just feels like it is further ahead in mechanics, graphics, attention to detail, and on and on.

The first thing that scared me was I found out that Chris Collinsworth is one of the announcers and my first thought was holy schnikes, I hate that guy. After playing many games, I came to the realization that I might have been too quick to judge and I changed my mind about him...I despise him. However, the other announcer (some new guy) spoke the most often and he wasn't that bad so I will call this an improvement over previous years; however, I will still mute them.

The graphics are improved again with better use of lighting and shadowing to give a more realistic feel, but if you read my previous post you will know how I feel about graphical improvements (hint: those are supposed to happen). However, there were some issues with the graphics still. For example, when your players are in the huddle and they have their hands on their knees, they look like they have Parkinson's disease with their hands being all jumpy and vibrating.

Another area that has improved and really was much better than NCAA, was the crowd. The crowd looked like they were actually made up of individuals instead of big monster cardboard cutouts like NCAA. The crowd moved naturally, reacted well, and was well dispersed among what team they were rooting for (it wasn't equally split). The crowd could still use some work since there were times the Jets fans did their famous cheer after I intercepted them or recovered a fumble, etc.

Next up is game play. You will hear all sorts of crap about the locomotion engine, but you really need to use it to feel it and to learn it. It took some getting used to and I missed my sprint button, but it did add a more realistic feel to running. It grew on me while I played and I came to enjoy it. The sprint button isn't the only thing missing, the swim button is also gone. Learn to use those analog sticks boys and girls. The tackling engine showed some more improvements and I saw plenty of gang tackles and guys consistently attempt to strip the ball. It really was good. Another change I enjoyed was the strategy pad. I felt it made it easier to make quick changes at the line (change your coverage, show blitz, hot route, etc), but you still need to memorize the commands to make sure you get what you want before the quarterback snaps the ball. The audible system is pretty slick and it was cool that they show four quick plays you can audible that won't change your formation or you can access the full playbook. One more thing about game play, I miss the old kick control. They have now gone back to hitting the A button three times for a kick (NCAA still uses the stick). I think the stick was more of a challenge.

The game calling system now offers a mode called gameflow in which the assistant coach (some people call it the computer) picks plays for you. It is a lot like ask Madden. In my time with it, it picked some pretty good plays and made the game go really fast. You can use it for offense and defense and the only time it really burned me was when the offense kept going deep and my defense kept playing the run. You can still call plays the old fashion way too. The gameflow really will make it easy for just about anyone to play the game and they will need about zero knowledge of football strategy (hey pg, you can play now). Also, that assistant coach from before will come on before every snap and tell you about the play that has been chosen. This works pretty well, but prepare to be telling him to stfu when on every third down that you are on defense he says "end the drive right here" with the slightly yelling pitch. You can set up a game plan that will affect what plays are called; however, this will take some time because for offense you can set up 15 plays for each of 18 different situations and on defense you pick 10 plays for each of the 6 situations. I didn't take the time to do that because I have no patience, but maybe some day.

Now  for some general complaints. The challenge engine is still weak and who knows what you are actually challenging when you use it. For example, I had a play where I was throwing a pass and got hit. It looked incomplete, but they called fumble, which I recovered, but for a big loss. I challenged the play, meaning I wanted to challenge the ruling of a fumble; however, judging by the replays, it looked like I was challenging who recovered the fumble. Not really what I was going for. Also, instant replays happen at the end of every quarter and they just replay the last play ran. So if your last play is an incomplete pass, the game will replay that twice. I am not that smart, but maybe replay a big play from the previous quarter instead. Along the same lines, the play of the game is always the last play of the game. Nothing like having a kneel down be the play of the game. Ok, I am done crying like school girl now.

In the end, I have to say I love this game. This is the most realistic version I have played and really comes close to that feeling of watching games on Sunday. Some of the instant replays remind me of exactly what I would see on Sunday. When looked at as a complete package, I feel that this is a major step forward from last year and really shows some hard work being poured into the game. Is it worth your $60? Well I really don't care, but I will be buying this game.


1 comment:

  1. I'll consider buying this game if I can pull a "Last Boy Scout", whip out a pistol, and turn the game into a FPS in the end zone.

    Toss some gambling in too... get paid to throw a game or two. I'm good at losing.