Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another Touchdown for 'Madden'; Each Year, the NFL Game Just Gets a Little Bit Better Than Before

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Another Touchdown for 'Madden'; Each Year, the NFL Game Just Gets a Little Bit Better Than Before

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT McGINTY

"Madden" used to mean a portly NFL coach in polyester pants. Later it came to mean a NFL broadcaster with bushy eyebrows. Now it mainly means one of the biggest video games of the year, far bigger than even those polyester pants.

Everybody loves the NFL, and Madden is the only NFL game around.

What they're selling: From EA Sports - "Scan the field to identify individual strengths and weaknesses before every play. Read, react and exploit mismatches to gain the upper hand."

What we're telling: Sounds serious, right? Well, this game takes itself seriously. And there is always going to be somebody online who takes it more seriously than you, so practice hard and take that chump to school.

The nut graph: With each step into the next-generation systems, Madden adds a few new features, although the core gameplay remains the same. The big change this year is the Read and React system, where some of the star players have enhanced abilities. It makes for some hustle and bustle to get everyone in position before the play, and it also adds a level of complexity that casual gamers might be uncomfortable with. Fortunately, you can ignore it and just play for the fun of it.

Franchise mode is rock-solid, with enough depth to keep you busy through the fall. And as far as online play, you'll never be wanting for competition.

As usual, the controls work well, and the graphics are acceptable. If you've played an earlier version, you'll be up to speed in minutes.

Reasons to smile: Front Office mode lets you play from the owners' perspective, handling details large and small. And you can move the Jaguars to Los Angeles if you want. Or even Lakeland. . . . Some of the new player animations are entertaining and more realistic than before.

Reason to growl: You would have to be very nitpicky to find something to grumble about. …

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