With any console transition the first batch of games tends to feel a bit on the rough side. Sports games are not immune to this as we’ve seen from the console launches of the Xbox 360 and PS3. Madden takes everything it has on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions but puts a fresh coat of paint on it. The result is a higher def Madden with some slight mechanic tweaks that can change up your game quite significantly. This review points to the additions and changes made from the current gen version.
Now I’m not a big time Madden player but have seen the various changes the game has made through the years and with a new console transition comes new features right? Well first things first, EA has put a lot of chips on their next generation graphics and mechanics engine they call the Ignite Engine. Running plays, passes and man to man coverage seems to all be affected by this. Plays move faster and you can no longer rely on a player undoubtedly making a catch or run a specific amount of yards with certain plays. Instead running plays are faster, players need to take full advantage of total control passing and coverage is a lot tighter. This gives you a better sense on how a play should be ran somewhat in real time as opposed to our last gen counter parts where your “go-to” plays will get you where you need to go most the time.
The running game seems to have taken more of a change then anything else. When either doing a running or passing play the players themselves move faster which forces you to react in a manner you hadn’t before. I found myself thinking about plays that when I finally threw the ball to the receiver had been standing their for more time then he should have leading to easy pick offs or interceptions. This is also do to Maddens all new True Step which calculates more steps then it has in the past, narrowing your options for a more intense play by play. This isn’t necessarily the greatest thing yet as it forces you to make new choices on how to get the ball to your players successfully.
The defense game is worth noting since we think it’s where the AI is the smartest and smarter then last gen’s AI. We’ve found some teams we’ve faced, like the Packers and 49ers read a decent amount of our plays on the fly for quick turn-overs or interceptions. Sadly enough it might really know how to take into account player stats like never before, making the Jets play like they actually would in real life unfortunately.
Their’s no question this Madden is a better looking game visually. The crowd is now rendered in 3D and sideline crews have more movement then before. I found myself only really appreciate the updated graphics when watching a replay in slow motion and seeing the detailed scuff marks of the helmet or bending of the foot precisely to the ground. We also forget how loaded Madden 25 was in features as well and that remains unchanged. Online career as a player, manager or owner and different fantasy football type settings for online play was what we enjoyed most.
We’ve had a few issues with this Madden and most things is what has been plaguing the games in the past. After a receiver catches the ball it seems to give you less control until a second later. These can be make or breaks as you don’t always want to run upfield with a catch if the clock is low and is crucial to the game. We also found that the Heat Seeking or character detection box for tackles is still a bit off. Defenders going down to the ground were instantly up in tackle position if we were in close enough proximity or defenders disregarding who was guarding them for a quick tackle on my player with the ball.
Is this Madden worth getting? Depends on if you skipped the current gen version of 25. Fans of Madden or football games in general will enjoy the eye candy which is 1080p gameplay but will need to get a couple of lessons in before getting a handle for True Step and the mechanic tweaks. The Ignite Engine writes a few wrongs right but creates some wrongs in its place. It’s fair to say it’s not quite their yet but it does have a lot of potential and we’re betting on that promise.