Madden NFL 10 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3WiiPS2PSP
Madden's back, but is it more than a roster update?
Madden's back, but is it more than a roster update?

Madden's back, but is it more than a roster update?

It’s no longer okay to simply dismiss EA’s humongous Madden franchise outright as that video game of that massively complicated sport where mammoth-sized men covered in protective armour smash their helmets into each other like demented bison until one team falls down. You see, American Football is actually hugely popular in the UK.

So much so, that Wembley Stadium has played host to two regular season games over the last couple of years. They both sold out. Another will be played this season. It’s already sold out. Imagine a Premier League game, perhaps Manchester United versus Chelsea, being played in Giants Stadium, New York, instead of Old Trafford?

So, here in video game land, we need to do Madden justice. With the release of Madden NFL 10, the latest in the long-running series, we actually have to work out if it’s actually any good.

The answer? Well, yes, it is good, but only if you’ve got a base understanding of the sport in the first place. Madden doesn’t want to teach you how it works. It assumes a complete understanding of the running game, the passing game, defence, offence, end zones, first downs, touch downs and everything else America’s Game has to offer. This isn’t the problem – nobody turns to FIFA or PES for the finer points of the offside rule.

American Football is a complex sport, and so is Madden.

American Football is a complex sport, and so is Madden.

The problem is that even if you do know the rules of the real sport, Madden doesn’t tell you how to play the video game version. Play calling, snapping the ball, running, passing, catching, and, even more difficult to get to grips with, defence – tackling, intercepting, and again, play calling – the buttons you need to press to make it all work aren’t explained. If it weren’t for a hazy memory of playing the game to death while at university, Madden would have proved an impenetrable fortress of astronomical proportions. There’s a practice mode, which doesn’t help. The Virtual Trainer mode is useful, but not useful enough. If you fancy dipping your toe into the virtual world of NFL, then, be prepared to read the manual and do a bit of research first.

If you put the effort in, though, Madden NFL 10 reveals itself to be an impressively realistic, graphically gorgeous sports game that’s absolutely packed to bursting point with content. Just playing an exhibition is fun – the difficulty resulting in a rewarding experience. When you snap the ball, the play will unfold with the camera positioned behind the quarterback. With any luck, your offensive linesmen will have carved a hole for your running back to burst through. With any luck, your receivers will get open. With any luck, you won’t be sacked by some monstrous brute from the Deep South. Eking out first downs, inching your way towards the end zone yard by yard, then finally scoring a touch down, is great.

Gameplay tweaks this year are small but noticeable. The new Pro-Tak (which sounds like some performance enhancing drug) animation system allows up to nine defenders to gang tackle. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s bone-crunching stuff. You find yourself checking your spine, just to make sure it’s still in one piece.

New stuff to check out

5 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

saint_markperth's Avatar

saint_markperth

AFL 50 year DLC is now out,

Available now, the comprehensive add-on brings the heritage of the AFL to Madden NFL 10 with all-new 1960’s-style presentation elements. Referees don the orange striped AFL uniforms, official AFL markings and logos decorate the field, and more – all while featuring a retro football card-like user interface and classic film grain broadcast camera.
The eight original AFL teams will be represented by name and wear their historic uniforms, including the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs (as the Dallas Texans), New England Patriots (as the Boston Patriots), New York Jets (as the Titans of New York), Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Tennessee Titans (as the Houston Oilers).

The 15 AFL Legacy Game matchups during the 2009 NFL regular season will include the Legacy Pack presentation in the offline Franchise mode, as well as during the Play Now, and Superstar modes. Historic AFL uniforms can be selected in any mode – offline or online!
Posted 11:53 on 28 September 2009
Herc's Avatar

Herc

This is a GREAT review from a UK gamer (no offense.) I don't know how you guys enjoy football, but I had to just make an account to talk how much I appreciate you reviewing the game, and not the franchise (GameSpot?) Again thanks for it, and you will see me on the site more because I am a VideoGamer :)
Posted 15:28 on 30 August 2009
TomGameStop's Avatar

TomGameStop

It's almost that time of the year again - time for hardcore Madden addicts to put their skills to the test against the best of the best in GameStop's annual Madden tourney! Round 1 kicks off on August 22nd - find the closest participating store and get practicing!

http://www.gamestop.com/gs/tournamen...0/default.aspx

Good luck!
Posted 00:31 on 20 August 2009
hotwadd's Avatar

hotwadd

lets see if they have it crammed with bugs as per usual...i still play madden 07 as the last two have been soo poor and unplayable...i will no spend the 40 quid to be yet again left feeling ripped off...i love the sport however i will hang on till its a tenner in game
Posted 09:53 on 18 August 2009
JediKnight's Avatar

JediKnight

Excellent review, Wesley. For a "joker" like you, I think you finally nailed it on the head when it comes to this franchise.

I agreed with your "luck" paragraph, because this applies to die-hard Maddenites that I know all too well. Even if they are the best players, it is always big luck if you get a good running lane or that interception.

It looks gorgeous, however, there is so much going on as you stated and sometimes too much. It's the same game with better graphics and some additional bells and whistles.

No amount of fantasy drafting is going to change that. Best Madden review I have ever read.
Posted 00:45 on 17 August 2009

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Madden NFL 10
8
Out of 10
Madden NFL 10
  • Wonderful graphics
  • Great animations
  • Hugely complex
  • Wooden dialogue
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 14/08/2009
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , Wii , PS2 , PSP
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Sports
No. Players: 1-8
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 4,765 25
View Full Site