Archive for 360

Madden: If It Sells… Don’t Fix It

Posted in DS, Industry, Playstation 2, Playstation 3, PSN, PSP, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE with tags , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by mcnast


I have been playing Madden football since ’92 in the Sega Genesis days. Madden has always been one of the best if not, the best place for gamers to ball on the gridiron. Yes, there have been some stumbling blocks along the way, but Madden has always recovered and gotten back to glory. That is until now. Since the jump to the now current gen systems, Madden has done just enough to get by. Riding the coat tails of its former greatness like Freddie Prinze Jr. does with his father, Madden has skated by on past glory and the deep pockets in which it helped create at EA. As many of you know, EA has the rights to all NFL properties, including player names, likeness and stadiums until at least 2013. With the lack of competition, Madden has become a shell of its former self only improving enough to silence casual critics with their smoke and mirrors.

The gameplay of Madden, while functional as of recent, is still half of what it used to be. The graphics are also substandard. It is a sad day when the biggest sport in America has arguably the worst graphics in sports gaming at this point in time. As a matter of fact, Madden 09 had the worst graphics of any game that came out last year that got a rating of 75 or higher in Metacritic excluding RPGs and downloadables, which would make Madden the ugliest non RPG, disc based game to be in the Metacritic green zone. Casuals have no idea or don’t care how the game has lost its former greatness and some hardcore fans have adjusted to its mediocrity. I fall in to the category of neither, and this is my reason why.

Ever since Madden and NCAA 98, you could transfer players leaving to the pros with your memory stick on the PS1. It has never been perfect, some players would be black in college and end up white in the pros and vice versa, but it was pretty much a working system. However, since the jump to the current gen, Madden has not been able to get it right. Since Madden on the new current systems has been out, graduating players have vanished into thin air, players have their speed ratings dropped 15 points, and worst of all, players are not editable in season mode. I understand not being able to modify every Florida Gator graduate to be unstoppable, but to not even let the user modify name and jersey numbers is ridiculous. Instead of playing with Michael Crabtree #80 for the San Francisco 49ers, I’m stuck with first name “BLANK,” last name “ WR #5,” wearing #5 instead of the normal numbers for wide receivers in the NFL. I know that this is a tiny part of a game, but it is a vital part to gamers like me and these are the attentions to detail that are missing from the game.

Madden sells like gangbusters for a reason. It has built a pedigree for many years and has overcome stiff competition from Sega Sport Football, Gameday, and the 2K series. Ever since EA’s monopoly over football, however, the quality has dipped significantly. It’s funny that EA in collaboration with the NFL has taken away what fans enjoy most about the sport; competition. Without a worthy competitor, Madden can overlook intricacies like player transfers, spotty online tournaments, frame rate issues, graphical progress, etc. Fans of virtual football are being repeatedly kicked in the shins by EA because their love and loyalty to the game of football. It’s like being a fan of 3rd person shooters and only having Army of Two to choose from. Decent game, but given the option I’d rather play Uncharted or Gears. EA and the NFL have left us no option, so gamers have Madden or nothing. I know that if the NFL had nothing but the Detroit Lions to offer, the league would not be such an entertaining way to spend a Sunday.  So I ask, why would EA and the NFL do the same from it’s virtual counterpart?