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Saturday | October 20, 2018
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Madden NFL10 (X360 & PS3)

Madden NFL10 (X360 & PS3)

The biggest gaming sports event of the year is upon us – the new release of the ever successful Madden football game – dubbed ‘NFL 10’ in its latest incarnation. The game hits the retail market on the 14th of August and now arrives with new modes, broadcast style presentation changes and new gameplay tweaks. On paper this looks to be one of the best in franchise history, today we find out if it really is.

Graphically there is no question this is as good as it gets, over the last 3 years the game has received enhancements each year and this year we are presented with the most polished, dynamically smooth and graphically rich version yet. All of these improvements are to ensure you get the closest possible experience to playing the real game and for the most part it works. Additionally there is more happening on the sidelines, players get shouted at by coaches, refs will argue the calls and there are a bunch of pre game warmups. All of this is enhanced by the wonderful touches from the commentary team of Chris Colinsworth and Tom Hammond. The level of presentation is almost without fault. I say ‘almost’ because there are some minor glitches which should be mentioned. Sometimes background graphics will fail to load, such as people holding (missing) phones and there are even times that player helmets will vanish, and this looks really unusual. It doesn’t seem to happen all that often, but when it does, its immediately noticeable. To be fair in the grand scheme of things it is the high level of presentation that improves the game on a variety of levels, even the menu configurations have received attention to detail from the development team Tiburon. The aforementioned issues are minor.

All of this presentation is helped by the fact that the core gameplay is the most fun yet. The speed of the game has been refined and at a slight distance it would be hard to tell if you were watching a real replay of the actual live events on television. The difficulty levels are more refined and players of all skill levels will find a challenge depending on the setting.

There are new moves added, such as when you are on defense you will be able to achieve swim moves with the right analog controller when grappling – this is a massive improvement over the bumper configuration used in previous games. Offensively the jukes are more realistically handled which adds considerably to the immersive nature of the game.

Another change is procedural tackling nicknamed Pro-Tak – this allows for player pileups like in the real game and it also alters the blocking mechanic which will form a protective shell around the quarterback. While on the subject of quarterbacks there is a new system of avoidance in place which means by using the right stick you can avoid some sacks and attempt to duck attacking play.

In regards to the artificial intelligence it is very similar to last year with a few minor tweaks to improve the situation a little. There seems to be less of the randomly directed AI player runs and although it still happens the odd time it seems to be mostly ironed out.

Franchise mode has had notable changes because it is immediately apparent that there is no longer a calender system in place. This has the effect of not being able to schedule in practices before a game to improve specific players. Instead you jump between games which might appeal to some people in speeding up the game but equally so I can see a few diehard stats fans finding this a step backwards.

Superstar mode makes a return and has been changed somewhat in the implementation. Selecting a practice day for instance has little reward because your stats don’t improve, so it seems pointless. The mini camp drills are also now omitted which will annoy some of the hardcore fanbase.

The system hub has been altered and gamers will receive a constant update of league news being updated when you aren’t playing. There are injuries, trades and team signings as they happen and this will appeal to many people who love a real life style environment. There is now proper scheduling after the first year and all of the items of Franchise mode has been kept in place. Heck you can even design your own stadium and move your team location if you so wish.

To sweeten the deal there are two new modes of play – Online Co-Op and Online Franchise. Co-Op annoyed me in a few areas, particularly the slow moving camera which does not seem to be able to keep up with a fast moving defensive game. Online Franchise fares better because you can play with up to 31 friends and jump into a league and play through the seasons, just as you would offline with the AI opponents. You can trade with other players, draft players and do all the things you would do in a fantasy draft. Can you say ‘wow’?

Both console versions are great but there is an added feature that Electronic Arts are keen to promote, the fact that if you have both the PS3 and PSP versions of the game you can design custom plays on your handheld then upload them to the Playstation 3 later. Its a nice idea which is unfortunately a little clumsy in execution.

Graphically both Xbox and Playstation versions are very sophisticated and even with the minor issues mentioned earlier they are some of the finest graphics yet seen in a console sports game – the Xbox version seems to run slightly better but its possibly only a few frames per second when the action heats up. The character models are detailed and move very well on screen – the animations in particular really deserve a special mention as they are fluid and add a lot to the overall visual appeal. The audio commentary from Hammond and Colinsworth isn’t bad at all and it is a significant improvement over the previous years version.

Madden NFL10 deserves to sell well because if you are a sports fan then there is something to be playing here for a long time to come. It isn’t perfect, but the core gameplay is solid and there are plenty of modes and options to keep gamers entertained until next the release of NFL11. Most of the new touches improve the experience and while its not a radical enough change to cause an upset there is the age old saying that ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. EA have sensibly just refined many of the areas and have created one of the finest sports games this generation will enjoy, en masse.


Fantastic options all round, long term playability is guaranteed.
Very detailed character models and environmental details.
Good commentary and ambient effects.
Long term playability, especially with the polished online options.

Highly recommended to all American football sports fans.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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