|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Tiburon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA Sports||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 10, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
After youve built up a sweat in Franchise, you can take a break with the Mini-Games mode. There are eight mini-games to choose from, each with a focus on teaching the player the basics. Mini-games such as Pocket Presence and Chase & Tackle do a fine job of conveying their respective gameplay mechanics, while other mini-games only served to further confuse me about how to approach a particular position.
Lastly, there are the multiplayer modes and online play. Multiplayer consists of Road to the Super Bowl, a co-op component for up to four players, ; Madden Showdown, where you compete for showdown points, ; and Huddle-Up, a co-op option in the vein of Super Mario Galaxy that allows a buddy to zap opponent team members in order to give you a clear path to the end zone.
In spite of a few rough patches, Madden NFL 11 is a completely solid package. EA Sports could still stand to do a better job of easing newcomers into the experience, and again, theres not much actual new content here. The online gameplay is almost non-existent; the lobby menus were completely empty during my testing of the online experience, and I experienced significant lag when I finally did manage to find others to play with. Local play, however, is rewarding and fun, and in light of past entries into the franchise, this latest addition is generally more accessible.
Though the presentation isnt perfect, the visual style serves the Wii well. Sure, the players look more like high school athletes than pros, but the animations are smooth and authentic looking. Aside from a few hiccups during transitions, the framerate holds up well during local play. The backgrounds are plain and the crowds look terrible up close, but vibrant colors and smart camera pans make Madden NFL 11 on the Wii feel like an exciting football experience.
The music was my only real disappointment in terms of production values. Crazy Train? Really? The song selection is crusty, and the variety is sparse. Luckily, you wont have to listen to any of it during actual gameplay, but in the Franchise mode where youll be tinkering with team management, the few tunes on offer here grow old fast. The announcers, however, do a bang-up job of keeping the actual gameplay interesting, and the cheers and crowd noises from the stadium are a convincing addition to the presentation.
I enjoyed my time with Madden NFL 11, but then again, its not a vast improvement over last years offering. The multiplayer and Franchise modes are fun and built to last, but players likely wont get much mileage out of the online component. Its been touched on before, but perhaps its time EA Sports consider a new way to deliver updated content for big franchises like Madden. The updates and tweaks to Madden NFL 11 would make great downloadable content. As a full retail product, however, it doesnt quite satisfy.
CCC Freelance Writer