|Dev: Electronic Arts North Carolina|
|Pub: Electronic Arts|
|Release: March 27 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
It's not unreasonable to expect a little less when you play a handheld version of a console title. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule (Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, being one recent example) but on the whole, I'm always one to lower my expectations just a tad when it comes to a handheld port. However, Madden NFL Football sets the bar so low for what a 3DS game can be that it's almost criminal. The game feels more like a demo than something you might pay $40 for, and if you are a big sports fan, there probably won't be anything here you'll like.
The only sect that Madden NFL Football might appeal to is the casual audience. The game features a barebones approach to the gameplay that has you making plays, passing the ball, and attempting interceptions with single button presses. The gameplay is so simplistic that there isn't even a tutorial mode. The game is constantly reminding you how to play, and even though you can ramp up the AI difficulty, the game never really crosses into the "challenge" zone that you would expect from a console version of Madden. From what I've seen so far, the 3DS is courting gamers of all types, but those hoping to have a hardcore experience in Madden NFL Football will be sadly disappointed.
If you don't mind the ease of play though, there is still plenty of room for disenchantment. The game only features two modes for play, and a lot of the signature elements that make Madden the king of football sims are truncated or completely absent. The standard mode allows you to play through a game of either 5-on-5 or 11-on-11. There are no team swap-outs, no variables to factor in, and there's not even an option to change your team's uniform. This mode lets you play a game of football between two teams that you like, and that's it.
The second mode, Season, allows you to follow a team all the way to the Super Bowl. Again, no options are included, so this mode feels pretty hollow. One of the biggest draws of the Madden series is its ability to pool together stats and help you make managerial decisions as well as gameplay decisions to lead your team to victory. Here, there are no such options beyond free agent signing. Just play through the game, win the season, and then you're finished. It's really hard to get excited about a game when there just isn't that much to do, and you know it is a bad sign when you are running through the "Options" and "My Madden" modes to see if there is anything else to do in the game. But when all you have is two basic play modes, options menus, a practice mode, and "Credits" to view (no really, the game credits is a selectable mode from the main menu), it's hard to believe that someone thought this game was worth $40.