Review- Madden 09 (Xbox 360)

Real Madden 09 cover with Brett Favre as a Jet

Well, I got myself a copy of Madden 09 on Tuesday, and after spending some time playing with it I must say that it is a very worthy successor to the Madden franchise.  Wanna know more on this game and what I liked and didn’t like about? Hit the More link.

Let’s get to some of the features of this new game (just a note: I haven’t been able to test every new feature out yet, though I did use most).

New, Better Graphics and Gameplay– Very noticeable, and also expected. This new version of Madden includes a lot of updates to the overall regular football game. Some of those new updates include:

  • EA Sports Backtrack– In depth instant replay in the game, shows coverages of the Defense, where  you made a mistake etc. I really liked this, but it could get long at times and for that regular replay is also in the game.
  • EA Sports Rewind- For those of you looking to learn from your mistakes that were uncovered in EA Sports Backtrack, EA Sports Rewind lets you run the play all over again from scratch.
  • Better look of field and snow– Also very noticeable, and nicely done with the game scenery looking much more realistic.

Field in Madden 09

  • Better movement controls, tackles, catches, and overall football play– Everything in this part of the game (the football part) looks and runs very well. EA really made some nice updates here to make the game look more like its real life counterpart. For example, now you can do more realistic jukes and spins that actually make the defender miss if done correctly, return missed field goals (Devin Hester anyone?), more celebrations (I think they actually put in Soulja Boy) that you control after a score, bluff plays (really good for when your playing with two or more players- definitely love this), as well as much more.

New commentary– Anyone who played a Madden game knows this was a huge downside with combination of John Madden and Al Michaels a few years back and the radio guy from last year (sorry forgot his name). This year EA decided to try and improve that part with Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond taking over the play by play. I gotta say, they do a better job from what I can tell over years past, but they still got their share of problems (see Drawbacks).

Madden IQ– My hands down best part of the game- the ability for the game to adapt to you and how you play. How does this work? Well, when you first start the game you’ll be asked by a virtual John Madden to take this Madden IQ test of offensive and defensive passing and running. Based on how well you do in those respective tests, you will receive a skill rating of Rookie (easy), Pro (medium), All Pro (hard) or All-Madden (expert) for those respective categories. Then when you go into the real game, you will be facing a computer set to your skill levels for those categories. I love this and it really provides a great competitor over the regular computer.

New “Beyond Broadcast” Presentation– Another thing new to the presentation of Madden 09. This only works when playing one player, but what this feature does is give you a full half of the screen (other half is picking your play) loaded with features such as Instant Replay, stats, Madden Tips, your Madden IQ (it gets updated as you play), and much more.

New Beyond Broadcast Presentation

Online Leagues– For those of you who want to take Fantasy Football to the next level, Madden offers Online Fantasy Football leagues for both the PS3 and Xbox 360. This lets you basically control your team (either real NFL roster or Fantasy Drafted) and play against other people around the world over the Internet. This by the way is one of the features I haven’t yet checked out, so I can’t fully say how it goes.

Online Madden 09 League

Madden Moments– Wanna replay some of the great moments of the 2007-2008 NFL season? Well Madden 09 lets you do that to with the ability to rally the Giants back in the 4th Quarter of last years Super Bowl versus the Patriots, get the Dolphins their first (and only) win… There are a lot here, but they’re all good.

I think that covered the features part of the game, now lets go to some of the drawbacks.

Drawbacks:

Commentary still isn’t TV like– While Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond are a nice upgrade, they still aren’t anywhere close to a regular NFL broadcast. For example, they hardly ever refer to a player by name- and most of their stuff is generic like “That was a great route by the receiver.” They also make mistakes like saying a run went for a loss of yards when really it gained 4 yards. I know, its hard to reach perfection, but after 20 years I would hope EA would be a little better than this.

Roster updates only through playing an online game– It would’ve been great for EA to make a dedicated “Update Rosters” page in the Online Lobby of the game like other games such as MLB 2K8 (especially with all the preseason trades like cover boy Favre to the Jets). I also hate that if you don’t have Xbox Live Gold (paid version) then your really out of luck for a roster update at all because you need to go into playing someone in an online game in order to download the update.

Rating system of teams isn’t the greatest– Very minor problem, but I think the Jets should be much higher than the 76 their given with Favre (it is also the same rating they’re given with former QB Chad Pennington), and I’m a Giants fan 😉

Final Verdict: The greatest Madden game I’ve played (and I’ve been playing all the way back to the Maddens’ on the Nintendo 64), and a very worthy successor to carry on the historic video game franchise.

Notes: Madden is also available now for Xbox 360, Xbox, PS3, PSP, PS2, Nintendo DS and Wii from EA Sports’ online store as well as many other stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Blockbuster, Amazon.com etc. Also available now is the new Brett Favre cover with him in a Jets uniform (for those interested you can snag it here), and also I think all “new” (read: not already shipped) copies of Madden 09 will have the new cover soon on them as well.

What you think- you gonna go and buy this new game, or stick with you old Madden and think you can live without the new updates? Let us know your choice, how it goes if you do buy it, and what your take on the game is, in the comments.

Pix from EA Sports.com’s Madden site

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Posted on August 13, 2008, in First Look/Reviews, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I waited on line for about 4 hours to get this game the moment in debuted, and after playing the game, here are my thoughts. I mostly agree with the master blogger about the 09′ game however some things can be added to the drawbacks. The commentary isnt just “that was a great route by the receiver” its also…..”great play by the defense” and so on……..greatest madden game ever? i dk bout that greatest football game i ever played was espn 2k5….remember that game????? let me know your thoughts… BRING BACK 2K FOOTBALL!!!!!!

  2. Since I’ve already got about six versions of the game, I’m still on the fence as to whether or not I’ll buy this year’s copy. It’d be nice to have the graphic update, but I’m not interested in getting a Gold account and I may as well play last years copy if I can’t get updated rosters. For now, my plan is to lay low and see if I can get a cheap used copy later on in the season.

  3. I like that you can show a bluff play and a real one. It is really confusing to your opponent and they can’t decide which one is real thing.

  4. i bought my copy of madden 09 on tuesday but i still cant play it yet because my xbox360 is getting fixed because it got the red ring of death:(

  5. i got madden 4 the ps3 and i love it. the commentators is such an improvement over last year and if ur playing against som1 on the same console u can bluff a play so they cant see wat ur calling. the graphics are outstanding and so is the all new actioncam. any1 who wants 2 start a league who has a ps3 post it here

  6. marc right espn2k5 was the best football game ever then madden bought out 2k football so they would not get sold out by them

  7. NCAA 08 is the best ever all the other games are nothin accept madden 09

  8. Madden is such an awesome game. I found a site with even more info about Madden NFL, http://www.themaddenlab.com 😉

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