Has it really been
that long? Madden NFL 09 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the
world's most popular video game franchises and allows players to
experience a real authentic NFL experience. With updated graphics
and gameplay, Madden NFL 09 is once again the definitive American
Football game and somehow EA Sports have upped the ante with this
For those unaware of
the Madden series, it basically uses the image and voice of the
NFL's most popular football commentator, John Madden and as for the
gameplay, it's a combination of arcade simulation with a healthy
dose of real world stats. In its essence, it's the perfect NFL game
and even though the game may be a tad difficult to learn for "us"
Australians, the developers have ensured that the learning curve is
relative in terms of picking up the controller and playing.
Although I've missed
a few of the Madden games, I was quite impressive with this current
incarnation because when you first load the game, our good pal John
Madden appears, albeit a little otherworldly who basically grades
you on a variety of different NFL plays from drills to tackling.
Once you have completed the "IQ" test of the game, the title
automatically adjusts itself for a level that is right for you.
Definitely very cool!
The beauty of Madden
NFL 09 is the improved gameplay which borders of realistic and
allows you to perform a variety of real-world NFL maneuvers that has
been perfectly mapped on the XBox 360 controller. With that said,
the learning curve is rather steep if you have never played a NFL
game before and there is quite a large amount of stopping and
starting, however if you persevere, the rewards will be almost
The AI of the title
can be quite brutal at times, however for seasoned veteran's, it
will give them a challenge but for newcomers, they may want to try a
lower difficulty which is helped by the Madden IQ test. If you do
get stuck with a play, you can always ask Madden for advice!
Online play has
always been a lacking feature of the series and Madden NFL 09
finally supports a decent online addition that allows for stat
tracking, player trades and even a scheduling option. If you're
playing with a friend, the game is still quite as entertaining as
Wanting something a
little different? Why not try the Madden Challenge which allows you
to play key moments from the 2007 season and even change them if
possible. It's kind of like replaying the 2007 AFL Grand Final and
beating the Cats. The franchise mode also returns in Madden NFL 09
which is great as you control all the facets of your team and is
quite an in-depth NFL simulation. Of course, the Superstar mode is
another favourite of mine that allows you to turn your "newbie" or
rookie player into an NFL superstar.
The rewind feature
of Madden 09 is great for "rewinding" those poor plays and has quite
a Matrix feel to it in this sporting world. It's sort of like a
mulligan in golf and is great for the inexperienced player as it
allows you to practice on your various plays.
Graphically, this is
the most impressive sporting title that I have seen this year and
it's amazing how EA Sports continues to improve their sports games.
The presentation is first class and is the pumping soundtrack but
graphically, it is almost as if you are watching an NFL game on TV.
With that said, if you don't have a Plasma or LCD TV, you are really
doing the game and yourself an injustice.
The characters are
extremely detailed and are quite fluid of the field and the
developers have added a variety of small touches that make you
smile, even though some of these animations are inconsequential.
Match that with realistic weather conditions that actually hamper
the gameplay and actually make your players get dirty from the mud
etc is pure brilliance. Lastly, the final touch of the game are the
stadiums which are almost photorealistic and go hand-in-hand with
Audio wise, the star
of the game is Chris Collinsworth who commentates throughout the
game and the EA Sports have ensured that his words are quite
accurate without any slowdown or gaps. Even though John Madden is
the man behind the game... he is only in the title by name only but
he does make an appearance here and there. Hopefully John will
return sometime soon to lend his talents to the best NFL game since
Madden NFL 09 has considerably improved gameplay, lush graphics and
perfect audio which may not have the market in Australia, however if
you are a sports fan than I highly suggest you investigate this
amazing American Football game... any closer to perfect, you'd be in
heaven or at an actual match in the US of A.