Madden NFL 09

Overview

Everyone knows that the Madden franchise doesn’t exactly reinvent itself every installment, and that while the games are always solid, never feels like a new game. While this is true for this year’s game does it do enough right to be worth the price of admission?

Gameplay

Over the years Madden has become more and more complicated to the point of almost turning new players away. With every edition it seems like the audible system becomes more complicated, or in the case of this year, defense (specifically passing and tackling) become much more difficult than before. To some this may be a good thing, but to others it could further alienate them from the ideal Madden experience.

Don’t get me wrong Madden 09 is a great game, and can be a lot of fun to play both online or off. It’s just unfortunate that it really doesn’t distinguish itself more from last year’s game. This isn’t all bad because last year was a very good year for Madden, but with the main offline single player game modes almost identical to 08 it’s a bit disappointing. Despite all of this, we do get an incredibly deep football experience, just like you would expect from the franchise.

Online play is very solid, and relatively lag free throughout. The new league feature seems cool in theory but the actual execution is less than stellar. All of the extra features such as fantasy football, and news tickers work well, and are good additions to the experience. The game also features a very deep stat-tracking service that works very well, and includes everything you would expect.

The new features for this year are good, and work well, but don’t make quite the impact on the experience as they should. The backtrack feature is great for seeing how things went wrong, but it seems unlikely it will ever be used outside of single player games.

Another thing that was largely touted that works quite well is the virtual training center which is fun, and really helps you get over the difficult learning curve. Lastly the adaptive difficulty is a great idea, but doesn’t seem to make as large of an impact as it should. Hopefully EA will release a patch in the future that changes the difficulty, but unfortunately it will probably be put off until next year.

Graphics

The visuals are where this year’s game really sets itself apart, and I would have to say is the best looking sports game to date. The menus all look fantastic and you can tell form the minute you start the game that the graphics have been fully updated. Load times have also been reduced and don’t feel as long as they did last year.

Player models look better than they ever have before, and the animations seem to have improved as well. The stadiums look fantastic with some great weather effects, and as the game goes on the jerseys get dirtier which is nice to see. One complaint that I have to mention is that the people in the stands look alright from far away but once you get close to the stands they look awful. This is very surprising because the fans in my opinion look a heck of a lot better in the latest NCAA Football title. With all this being said, the game is still drop dead gorgeous and puts the franchise back on track.

Fun Factor

Madden has always been the most realistic football franchise, but also manages to be a very fun game as well. This is true for this year’s installment as well, with a very deep football experience that manages to stay interesting even after all these years.

Any football fan will find more than enough enjoyment out of this game with its deep, if unchanged offline modes, and great online play. If you enjoyed Madden in the past you will definitely enjoy it this time. It’s tough to find anything wrong with the game other than the fact that it really hasn’t changed that much, but that is almost expected at this point.

Overall

Madden 09 is a great sports game with its only major flaw being one of many sports games, and that is that it didn’t change drastically from the previous year. It makes up for this fact with great visuals, fun online play, and some good new additions. EA Sports consistently turns out these great sports game, and Madden 09 is no exception, and is recommended to any fan of Madden or football in general.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.