Madden NFL '11

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First, a little history on me:


I'm an old school Madden vet. However, the last game I PURCHASED was '06. After having been buying every year/every other year prior.


The reasons I had for stopping the purchase is the game continued to get less and less 'fun' in it's quest for 'realism'.


Every year, I look for a new Madden that goes back to the oldschool gameplay, and each year I'm disappointed.


So, when I saw the '11 demo on the PSN last night, I swiftly downloaded it.



After a quick game this morning....Jets vs Colts....


THIS may be the first Madden I'll buy in a long time.


I tried this new 'gameflow' feature.


This amounts to letting the AI call your play for you. And, to my surprise, the AI is not an idiot.


My first set of downs, I was cursing it. "ooo, pass on down 1, run on down 2, pass on down 3...who coulda guessed that?"


But, as the game went on, it actually called the game more or less how I would have in terms of when to pass vs when to run. Ending up at about 60-40 run heavy, due mostly to a big lead in the 4th and running out the clock. Now, it DID pick a couple plays I would have never called in a million years (option play. Streak routes from the 10 yard line...), but they actually, who am I to complain?


I've never been a huge fan of the massive playbooks anyway. Typically finding a few dozen or so I really like and just repeating those.


And, the game allows you to enter a 'gameplan' to have the coaches call 'your' plays more often if you want as well.


There were two distinctly noticeable improvements to the actual gameplay.


Blocking first and foremost. They're not idiots anymore! Pulling linemen actually pull, sweeps actually get lead blockers...who actually block.


And...pressuring the QB actually does something. Many Madden's past, pressuring the QB typically lead to 2 outcomes: Sack, or a pass knocked straight to the ground.


I had Manning throwing stuff short, over, lame duck, everywhere but near the receiver when there was a lineman right on top of him.


The most memorable play of the game was when I hit manning as he threw, out came a wobbling floater over the middle, picked off by my LB.




That said, it's not all roses.


While there seems to be a better view of the field, playing DB is still a difficult prospect.


There's very little time on defense to pick the defender you want to be prior to snap.


The AI still have difficulty with manually overstacking one side of the line (IE. pulling the LE to sit over the RE position and rushing from there...).


Choosing the gameflow playcalling during the game automatically runs off some time off the playclock.....up till you hit the 2 minute warning. I suppose this was in effect so you could have comebacks and 2 minute drives easier. BUT, when I'm up 27-0 in the 4th, I really just want to run out the clock, WHY not run out the clock automatically instead of making me either run more plays or manually wait 30 seconds between runs?


Also, why was the defense in a soft zone in the 2 minute warning when it should KNOW I'm running out the clock? :huh: Sure, that 40 yd run padded my numbers and all, but come on...1st and 10, soft zone?


Some facial animations were a bit off. Not all, just some, but enough to notice.


Do I really need product placement? Verizon every damn screen, Doritos play of the game...



Still, all told, this was the most enjoyable Madden demo I've seen since '05.


Just gotta see what's up with franchise mode....

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I just downloaded the demo, haven't played it yet. Gameflow sounds awesome, but I've heard that the AI snaps the ball uber fast, which sucks.

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I attempted to play the demo with my boys last night...


The demo is limited to 2 players, unfortunately, was hoping to see the three of us on together.


Gameflow is not an option in this kind of multiplayer (both of us on the couch) unless you have one of the headset thingies, or want to play cooperatively. Otherwise you have no clue what is being called. With a headset, you'ld at least know run or pass, and could read the play from there. Defensively, you have no way of telling whether your particular guy is supposed to drop into coverage or rush the QB, and a headset wouldn't help that.


So, we tried the full playbook, which is a bit of a mess to navigate compared to the '05 and '06 we're used to. Sure, it's organized for swift picking in a SP/online sense, able to lump all "short passes" together, for instance. But for our situation, it was a nightmare. Once you navigated to where it wasn't telling the defense what you were picking, it was only bringing up 3 plays per screen anyway.


Playing cooperatively went much better. It was actually fun to NOT control the QB. I could switch to the FB or pulling guard with my son the RB on a run play, and it was rather satisfying to pancake the LB for him to open holes. And, it seemed my blocking tended to be a lot more all or nothing than the AI blocking. Either the defender ran right through me, or the guy got leveled. Very little tying up the defender. Might be some particular controls for blocking I'm not grasping...


Passes are as goofy as ever when you try to manually run routes. I don't know why the AI always throws way behind/overthrows the manually controlled WR, but is spot on to AI controlled ones. Even on simple slants and crosses. But, as I say, this has always been a problem with Madden for us.


Going to play it one more time with the boys, and change the playcalling away from 'gameflow' to "classic" pre-game to see if that fixes the playbook issues for us.

Edited by Unorthodox

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I'm interested to see what comes of this, I'm really looking forward to some of the new features.

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I got it, I love it.


PSN: zackizabeast

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