note: This review is for the console version(s)
of the game. Our PC review will arrive shortly, but
this will give you an insight into the new features.
met a guy this morning standing in line behind me
at the Best Buy I frequent. He had Madden 06 in hand.
I asked him "Madden fan, huh?" He says "Yeah.
Love it. I just bought Madden 05 last month. Just
got my Xbox. Need to upgrade Madden though. Gotta
stay on top. It's going to be killer!"
it? Is it really? Is Madden 06 killer?
killer. It's not exactly a first degree murderer,
but it's pretty hot in the right spots.
my opinion Madden stopped being killer a long time
ago. It's been a roster upgrade here, visual tweaks
there, new move here, old move removed there, new
gameplay mechanic here, old gameplay mechanic removed
there. EA has successfully been selling guys like
Mr. Gotta Have It, a game they didn't really need
for at least 5 years now. That's come to the end of
the line now with 2006. There are enough substantial
improvements to warrant buying the new game and now
that EA holds the official license of the NFL it's
the only "real" game in town.
be frank, Madden 06 has some revolutionary "improvements"
that will either make it or entirely break it for
you. That's usually nothing new, but this time I mean
it. In the last ten years Madden has eeked by with
little revision, but 2006 features gameplay that is
entirely different than what you're used to. Quarterback
Vision & Precision Passing has all of the earmarks
of a fantastic idea; ergo it makes the game far more
realistic. When the ball is snapped QBV & PP provides
you with a field of vision that you must train on
your receiver. You must focus this field of vision
on your receiver before throwing your intended play.
If you don't keep the receiver within your field of
vision, you can kiss any yardage goodbye because the
pass will suck. Bigtime suck. In terms of realism,
you can't really beat it. A real QB doesn't have that
wonderful top down view of the field and players like
you have on your big ass TV screen or monitor. Unfortunately
realism doesn't always translate into entertainment
and in this case, your enjoyment level of Madden 06
will be directly proportionate to how well you adapt
to this new scheme, particularly because it makes
Madden harder rather than more enjoyable. The field
of vision works two ways. As the QB, you'll need to
keep your eyes on the prize, but linger too long on
your receiver or select him before the snap, and the
other team will pick up on exactly where you're looking
and it'll be Monday Night sack time almost instantly.
The realism of the new feature extends to large or
small vision lines depending on your QB, which again,
makes the game that much more realistic and consequently,
much harder. Personally I like it but it's not perfect
by any stretch. It has added depth to the game which
hasn't been present in previous games, but players
like Mr. Gotta Have It might be in for a total shocker.
Thankfully for those who hate it, you can turn it
off in the game options, therefore rendering this
fat paragraph of text and the coolest upgrade to the
series in ten years null and void.
you don't feel the love for QB Vision, you're going
to dig the Truck Stick which allows bigger players
to Rhino charge their way through the opposition with
a quick jab of the R Analog stick. This is an innovative
move (sorta like the Hit Stick), to be sure, but you
have to know when and whom to use it with. As I said,
if you use a smaller player, it's not going to work
and you risk fumbling, interception, loss of possession,
yardage...everything. When you do work the magic,
you'll definitely feel that this is one of the touches
that Madden has been missing. It feels so right it
should have been included years ago. It can literally
make or break a game if used correctly.
big improvement for the series is Superstar mode where
you can create a player almost right down to his DNA
(you'll select his parents and you better make some
damn good choices) or you can import a player from
NCAA 2006 or NFL Street 2 and take him from crayons
to perfume. Oh wait, that's To Sir With Love by Sidney
Poitier. Superstar mode outshines the QB Vision as
the number one reason to part with your cash for 2006.
The concept is to take a player from just before the
Draft all the way through his pro career and ending
with his retirement. Superstar mode isn't all about
playing though - you'll have to take IQ tests, meet
with potential sponsers, get your haircut and change
your appearance, maybe even star in a crappy movie.
Training is also a very important aspect of Superstar
mode and you'll be given the opportunity to try different
terms of play tweaking, it seems every year Tiburon
goes through the unenviable process of balancing the
defensive and offensive lines to that special nth
degree which makes Madden play a little bitter than
it did the previous year. In last years game for example
I found that the defense often knew what you were
doing before you did, and therefore the AI was far
too frustrating on the higher difficulties. 2006 sees
a dimming of the AI in the opposition and it makes
for a far more entertaining game. It doesn't make
them stupid by any stretch, it just makes them far
I defy any of you to notice any drastic improvements
in the animations - although there are a few new catches
that I've witnessed - and overall presentation is
much the same as last year. I can't wait to see this
series on the 360 although I have a distinct feeling
we won't be seeing exactly what Tiburon can do on
the hardware at least until 2007. Maybe I'm wrong.
you take the time to adjust to the new QB Vision elements,
you'll find a far deeper game under the hood than
you've ever experienced. Granted it makes the game
harder, but as I already stated, realism is the payoff.
If you want to continue to play your fantasy football
game where you have the vision of a God, turn off
the newfangled feature and play as you normally would.
Superstar Mode is worth the price of admission alone
and I would love to see this area finetuned and advanced
upon as I'm sure it will be for years to come.
2006 is a great game of football and while most of
us game journalists say that every year, this time
it's true. For the first time in years, the game has
been redesigned which completely alters the gameplay
at its core. Tiburon appears not to be satisfied with
just creating an entertaining representation of video
football but to advance the realism so that the experience
brings players that much closer to what it feels like
being on the gridiron. They've succeeded. 2006 is
a must buy for most Madden faithful.