Each season, NFL fans and gamers around the world gear up for another NFL season. Nothing sends the signal, "it's almost here", like the release of the Madden NFL videogame.
There are always plenty of praises and criticisms with each year of the game's release.
This year, Madden 11 has not pulled in the highest of its history of ratings. Many feel that the game still has the same look of its predecessor, Madden 10, with just a few new features thrown in.
Here are 10 things we still hate about the game:
1) Same old franchise mode
Madden took on a fresh and appealing feel a few years ago when EA Sports (developers of Madden) decided to revamp the franchise mode. They added an interesting "Owner's Mode" in which players were allowed to take on the role of an NFL owner, customizing everything from the customizations of their stadium down to the price of their hotdogs.
Another feature that made the game feel fresh was a talk radio show. Radio hosts would cut in and out of the game's soundtrack and talk about upsets of the week, top players, etc.
Both these features have been eliminated, leaving a bland and watered down franchise.
EA needs to get back to making the game feel more immersive, allowing you to feel as if you're a part of the season and the team.
2) No "Madden Cards"
What happened to the good old days where Madden could have the "authentic NFL feel" to it, but also a "fun, arcade feel" too?
Madden Cards used to be a favorite feature among players, existing in older versions of the Madden games. Madden Cards were purchased by players after saving up enough "Madden Points". Madden Points were earned through game achievements. When a player purchased a pack of Madden Cards, he would receive the expected players and coaches, but would sometimes recieve trick cards.
A player card was used to give the player an active boost during a game, while a coaches card may give the whole team a benefit (increased awareness).
The trick cards were where the real fun lied. Trick cards allowed "super powers" to be bestowed upon the players team. You could kick a 90 yard field goal, never get sacked, or have "hands of glue".
These cards allowed the game to have an arcade feel to it, if the player chose so.
3) Same exact game
Plain and simple.
Too often the Madden games reflect one another, and rarely are new features thrown in.
Player models are updated every 3-4 years. This makes sense since developing in graphics is another process in itself, but it would still be nice to see some cosmetic touch-ups here and there in the game each season. Even if you just give us shinier shoes, you've done something.
4) "If it ain't broke, why fix it?"
Too often, EA tinkers with and alters features that just don't need to be.
Defensive adjustments are the biggest one in Madden 11. There was really no major issue with the current methods of making last-second defensive adjustments at the line. By clicking a combination of buttons, players were able to press coverage, blitz linebackers, or pinch the line. You could begin to memorize and understand what combinations of buttons you needed to press quickly in order to make adjustments before the offense snapped the ball.
Now, players have to do everything from the D-Pad.
This makes for a cumbersome and tougher process than previously existed. Once players adjust to this method, it may become just as easy too, but there was really no reason to change the previous method.
5) Presentation still lacking
The presentation in Madden has taken steps and sometimes leaps over the years in progressing the presentation of the game. Recently however, the game presentation improvements have slowed down.
Madden 11 has made some new attempts to increase presentation.
EA has added a new feature in which a montage of events takes place after a player wins the Super Bowl. The player will see his team celebrate not just on the field, but off it as well. They'll see their team celebrating on the field, parading in the streets, and even taking a trip to see Obama at The White House. All this occurs as the Gus Johnson recalls your accomplishment, and what it has meant for your team and city (obviously playing off of the Saints and New Orleans).
This new feature is a step in the right direction, but the game needs more presentation.
6) Player Models Remain Same
As reflected on in reason number 3, the players just do not take on new looks or a feel necessarily every year.
Even just a minor update here and there on players would be nice.
EA has definitely done a good job of focusing in on improving the mechanics and giving players in the game a more authentic feel. Yet, they will not achieve a totally authentic feel until they stop worrying entirely on the player movements, and also pay some attention to the players details.
7) Choppy play and slowdowns still exist
EA has been criticized by many for releasing numerous games that do not quite seem ready to be out on shelves.
Glitches, choppy play and slowdowns exist in Madden as well.
If you're going to release a game, market it, and sell it on shelves for $60, double check that it's ready first.
8) No real game modes added to online play
Online play is best for head-to-head matchups. EA sports has attempted to add a new co-op feature, in which players are allowed to have up-to three players control different NFL players on one team. This is a good addition to online play, but still needs some work.
It would be interesting to see EA add something completely different to online play.
EA did a great job with adding a feature to its NCAA game. Players are allowed to pick their favorite team and the one they'd like to represent. When a player is connected online, each time the play a game both on and offline, they receive points based on their performance and sportsmanship. These points are then tallied together with all the other points from players representing that same school. A list is compiled, and EA ranks the top teams.
It would be interesting to see EA do something like this with Madden.
9) Hit stick is losing "hit"
The hit-stick has seemed to diminish in potential over the years. When it was first introduced, players were excited by the idea of taking control of someone like Ray Lewis and being able to crush opposing players.
The feature added a lot to the game, allowing for more turnovers and bigger hits.
Since its release, the feature seems to be having less and less of an impact in gameplay.
Resurrection or improvement of this feature in some way would be nice.
10) No in-game save feature
The in-game save feature was introduced in Madden's 2005 addition.
Where it is now, no one knows.
Such a handy feature needs to be brought back.
With the busy lives many people lead, having the ability to pause in the middle of a game, save, turn off the system, and return to it later is invaluable.
What happens when you're playing in the NFC Championship game. Your team was down 21 points at half, but has since battled their way back to within 7. After a key stop on defense, you stretch the fingers and mentally prepare yourself to make a game-tying drive. But, you're running late for work as it is, and need to get going. Having an in-game save would allow you to save the game, head to work and return back later, just in time to force overtime and kick a game winning FG in extras.
Bring it back.