Madden NFL 11 Xbox 360
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Released on 13/08/2010
Madden NFL 11 redefines the way you experience the game of football. SIMPLER: From 350 plays down to 1, the all-new GameFlow system puts you in the helmet of an NFL quarterback to execute an authentic, situational game plan, one play at a time. QUICKER: With 60-minute game times reduced to as little as 30, spend more time on the field and less in the playbook. Same drama, half the time. DEEPER: Madden NFL 11 is feature-rich, with improved animations and control options, enhanced online functionality, and new broadcast and audio presentation that deliver unprecedented access to the NFL experience. Madden NFL 11 – SIMPLER. QUICKER. DEEPER.
- From 350 Plays Down to 1 – Introducing GameFlow, an all-new playcalling system that automatically selects the best play for your team based on situational, authentic NFL game plans. Listen as your coach calls in the play from the sidelines based on your favorite team’s real-life tendencies, or add a new level of strategy by creating and customizing your own offensive and defensive game plans.
- Full Games in Half the Time – With an all-new playcall system, spend less time in the huddle and more time on the field. Experience all of the drama and excitement of a full game in as little as 30 minutes.
- Less Buttons, More Moves– Enjoy success using only the two control sticks. Run through holes, break tackles, and explode in the open field thanks to the intuitive and responsive Dual Stick Control. All-new locomotion provides true acceleration and deceleration, as well as natural planting and cutting, making Madden NFL 11 the most authentic looking and feeling football game to-date.
- See It. Hear It. Feel It. – Experience a new level of excitement with completely revamped audio presentation from the booth to the field. Gus Johnson, one of the most electrifying commentators in sports injects his energy into the play-by-play call, while Cris Collinsworth provides his Emmy winning analysis. Authentic team specific chants and stadium music bring game day to your living room like never before.
- Build the Ultimate Team – Madden NFL Ultimate Team combines the best aspects of Madden NFL 11 gameplay, card collecting, and fantasy football - all into one unique mode. Earn, purchase, and participate in user auctions to collect unique player cards, all while you build and manage your fantasy roster. Compete in matches online and see where you rank amongst your friends. Madden NFL Ultimate Team has something for every fan of the NFL.
The Madden series has sold more than 85 million copies since its debut over two decades ago, becoming an annual item on the shopping list of American football fanatics. Yet a large portion of the gaming community views the 12-month development cycle of sports games negatively, suggesting little changes between iterations, and Madden is often cited as evidence.
So, in the hope of appeasing that crowd, the men and women behind Madden NFL 11 went back to the drawing board, outlining and executing a new game plan of Xs and Os. The plan was to get back in the good books of hardcore videogame football purists but also to bring in new fans by simplifying the experience. Their summary for this vision is straightforward: Simpler. Quicker. Deeper.
The complaint heard most often from those who struggle to get to grips with the Madden series is that the control scheme is as comprehensible as Ozzy Osbourne speaking Greek. As with the NHL 10 series, the right analog stick pretty much controls everything you'll need to fake out your oncoming opponents. Use it to truck over a defensive back, shield the ball or attempt to break free of a tackle and gain extra yardage.
If doesn't make things easy enough the introduction of GameFlow, or a one-button play selection option, reduces the amount of playbook homework you'll need to do to get the ball down the field. This, along with better clock management, cuts down the game time of a full 60-minute match down to a manageable 30 minutes.
Get with the GameFlow
The issue we have with GameFlow, however, is that it is awful on the defensive side of the ball. It's not quite adaptive enough, so an opponent who has a tendency to throw down the field will almost always find an open man due to the delinquency of the GF system. The moral of the story is to try to choose your own plays whenever possible.
Whether or not this is a deeper Madden experience will depend on your playing style, but on paper, there is enough on the table to make it worth a try. The Online Franchise mode makes its triumphant return with all sorts of new tweaks, but doesn't offer anything revelatory in nature. The biggest addition is the new Web management site players can access, allowing them to view automatically-generated game recaps and photo slideshows. Not much to write home about there.
The same goes for the Franchise Mode, which is a bit disappointing. The only changes more astute gamers may notice is a new Rookie Draft Class with over 8000 generated names and profiles of players to recruit from.
One of Madden NFL 11's most exciting new offerings is the 3-on-3 Online Team Play (OTP). It's essentially the eponymous mode from NHL 10, but adapted for the gridiron. For the duration of the game you can either control the quarterback, the running back or the wide receivers on offense and the defensive line, linebackers, or defensive backs on defense.
The point is to learn how to play as a team in order to perform well. The downside is you have to find two other people who aren't complete newbies, or else you'll play much of the game with palm held firmly to face.
Another mode, Madden Ultimate Team, is essentially a card-collecting campaign which tasks you to take your team of starter pack nobodies and acquire additional players by winning games. The better you do, the more in-game currency you accrue. This is used to buy card packs that contain unlockable players in order to build your so-called Ultimate Team. It's not exactly a mind-blowing concept and it has been done before, but it's definitely a welcome add-on to beef-up the value proposition.
The bottom line is that Madden NFL 11 is a solid, highly enjoyable gridiron game. It won't blow your mind but it simulates the sport of football with such specificity that you're left wondering if there is actually anything else left for EA to do to make it any more realistic next year. (Prediction: They'll try. Oh, they'll try.)
We would've liked a little less cut-and-pasting from some of the publisher's other franchises and more innovation. But considering the time constraints involved with producing a yearly title, what you get in this year's package is a pretty good offering.
Diehards who pick this one up with no questions asked won't be disappointed. And if you skipped last year's instalment, this is a great time to get back into the series. Let's just hope that next year, EA addresses some of the more neglected parts of the franchise.
+ The new Locomotion animation engine is superb.
+ Gus Johnson is the most exciting sports announcer in years.
+ 3-on-3 Online Team Play is fantastic.
- GameFlow lacks defensive prowess.
- Too much cut-and-pasting from other EA franchises.
- The outdated Franchise Mode was barely touched.
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