Madden 10 review

I can’t say I’m a big fan of what we in the UK call American Football (or just Football to the Americans themselves). Yes I’ve played a few games in the Madden series before (most notably the original on the Commodore Amiga) but even so the series for the most past makes me go, meh. Can Madden 10 for Wii with its family friendly graphics and control system win me over? It’s time for a review of Madden 10 for Wii.

If you’re unfamiliar with American Football I will try to explain the rules in the most basic fashion I can. The goal is to run and pass the ball towards the opposing goal line to score a touchdown, your opponents will try very hard to prevent you from doing so by knocking you to the ground. To keep possession of the ball you need to progress a minimum of 10 yards every 4 turns, if you fail possession swaps to the other team they become the offence and you become the defence. Obviously just like any sport there is a lot more to it but that should give you an idea of what we’re looking at here.

EA have once again tried to balance Madden as best they can between new users and previous players of the franchise on Wii. New or Casual players can play the game with little or no effort thanks to generous CPU assistance and the ability to just point and click at the screen to perform actions. Core players can jump straight into the action with full control using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck to control things. Motion controls are available to all players for passing the ball and performing field kicks but fundamentally control is quite straightforward without tons of arm waving.

As you may expect you can choose to play single matches against the CPU or other (up to 4) humans. Multiplayer has always been a favourite of Madden players and thankfully this still remains true here on Wii, 2 players is really the ideal but if you have extra friends they can help out in a special Huddle Up mode that can see them assist you invisibly like a Godly force.

For the real Football fans amongst you then trying to win the Superbowl is what counts and Madden doesn’t let you down here either. Now up to 4 players can play together in this mode but typically Superbowl mode has been a single player affair and that’s how I played it. Now sadly I can’t pretend I really enjoyed my time because when it gets down to it, all of the matches against the CPU feel very much the same. Unless I was playing using the advanced control scheme it felt to me as if the game was playing itself. Whilst Madden 10 does feature a full NFL roster with real NFL players the new graphic style does away with next gen photo realism. I don’t mind this but I doubt real fans will be able to recognise their favourite players on Wii and may have to look into the Xbox 360 or PS3 versions of Madden 10 for that.

When you are under full control of your team things get very complicated; choosing runs and formations is something for the true Madden players because I quite frankly can’t tell the difference between any of them. In all the games I played and won I simply either passed the ball and ran through the middle of the defence or let the Quarterback throw it upfield to a waiting player. Of course the CPU was trying to and often succeeding in intercepting the ball or making me fumble, but when they came to play my team was quite easily able to prevent them from scoring which soon made play switch to me being Offence once again. This isn’t to say that Madden 10 is easy; if you play by the rules and understand what you’re doing the game actually becomes harder because both teams are being quite tactical. However it just feels that not really knowing what you’re doing makes you fall into a style of play that allows for easy wins.

This does mean that new players can still win the trophy playing by their rules and tough players can attempt to win it by playing the game for real. What I don’t understand is how EA envisaged pictured families playing together in a happy way.

Let’s assume Dad and Son who have playing Madden games for years come up against Mom and Daughter who have never played it at all. Mom and Daughter play using the All Play mode with CPU assistance which in turn gives them a chance of winning and (after a couple of goes) maybe even a win. So if Dad and Son with all their skill do actually lose they will be quite annoyed at being beaten by the ‘cheating girls’, probably then storm off in a hiffy. This makes me think that adding such an extensive easy mode in a game really only suited for true Madden fans is a waste of time.

If you really like your American Football then Madden 10 for Wii won’t disappoint you; all of the teams, commentary and plays you’d want are here. If you do own one of the more powerful consoles you will probably appreciate the broadcast quality visuals a lot more than a couple of Wii specific features that may attract attention. Being able to point at a player with the Wii Remote to pass really does give you that directorship feel and puts you closer to being the quarterback than ever before, but it’s not such a standout feature.

If you want even more to explore then there are many mini games and practice modes available to hone your skills. I went into the mini games expecting them to be a bit Mario Party but I was wrong, again this is ok for NFL fans but your kids will wonder why these mini games are no fun.

Oh and before I forget you can now take Madden 10 online and play with random people or friends who own the game also. I’ll be honest and say I wasn’t able to find a random game and I don’t know anyone who owns it. However I assume that playing someone online is similar to playing them locally but without being able to seen them laugh or cry.

Madden 10 for Wii looks and feels ideal for an NFL lover who has taken a break from the series and wants to head back into it gently without investing many hours into learning the full complexity of the next gen versions which are more like simulators than games. 8 out of 10.

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Related: Madden NFL 10 video review, Madden NFL 09 video review

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