I have always been a fan of the Madden series. It’s true that the games don’t seem to change very much and you could buy a Madden from 2004 and have an even better experience than if you went and bought Madden 25. The reason is not only was Madden 2004 the best Madden game of them all, but it essentially did everything right. A lot of the “improvements” that have been made have actually been bad for the series. This review is of Madden 2010, so I’ll be focusing on that year.
When launching the game, you’ve got several options. Franchise mode and many others, but that’s the only one that you need to care about. Franchise mode is what I’ve grown up with and it’s the best thing to play. I do miss the fact that we don’t have a minicamp mode anymore. You can play them in franchise mode, but what about checking them out for fun? That was one area where Madden 2010 took a turn for the worst, but let’s talk about the critical difference.
Turning the game on and paying an ordinary match is what Madden is all about. Unfortunately, the actual gameplay isn’t quite as fun as it used to be. It’s still really fun and I could play it for hours, but there are several factors that hurt it. One of these is the fact that the gameplay is a lot slower. I suppose that you could take this to be more “realistic” but it just doesn’t work. Playing on a virtual field is much different than on a normal field for many reasons. One is the fact that the field itself feels a lot smaller. Odds are that if you’re sacked in the game, you’ll lose around 10 yard because of how short the field is. Trying to run an outside route is risky because if they catch you, you’ll end up losing a whole bunch of yards.
They’ve “refined” the passing game so that your throw greatly depends on how you angle the control stick. This is okay since Madden 2004 did this as well, but Madden 2010 overdoes it. If you hold up and throw the ball, you’ll often overthrow your receiver and if you’ve got the wrong direction on the controller, you’ll probably be throwing a pick six. Making the controls more sensitive isn’t a bad thing in itself, but it takes some of the fun out of the passing game. I loved throwing a lot of deep balls and seeing what would happen.
The running game also seems to be a lot more difficult than in previous games. Because of the reduced speed of the gameplay, breaking into a sprint may not be enough to get our of the backfield. If a defender punches through the defenses, you won’t have the speed to evade him. This game seems to emphasize running between the tackles as opposed to taking outside pitches, which is too bad since that’s how I typically like my running game.
All the same, these changes may not be my favorite, but the gameplay is still very fun overall. Maybe the running game is more challenging, but that will just make a long run more satisfying right? For passing plays, it’s still easy enough to throw a short pass to your tight end or a screen pass to the running back. I may just have to lighten up on my Hail Mary type throws.
The animation is definitely solid and while we aren’t in the perfect Gamecube era anymore, the PS3 is the next best thing in terms of graphics. Yep, after the Gamecube, I believe that the PS3 has the greatest graphics from all of the consoles so far. PS4 has a shot at taking it down, but we’ll see if it can take down the Gamecube. The tackles have more variety in Madden 2010 than in Madden 2004, but the sacks aren’t as impacting. You could practically feel the charge when you sacked an opposing quarterback in Madden 2004. It was just so thrilling to see! Likewise with interceptions, but they don’t feel as exciting in Madden 2010. I’m not sure why that is, the sound effects may be lower or something. Either way, it’s minor and I’m sure that you can adjust something like that in the options menu.
Let’s talk about one major positive where I feel that the game may have improved. That would be in the kicking area. Kicking a long range field goal was virtually impossible in Madden 2004 because you could never really defy the wind currents. Your kick would go off target towards the wind or against it, but it was hard to actually get the field goal. In Madden 2010, it’s not quite as difficult and while kicking a 60+ could still be unheard of, 30-35 yards and under are a lot simpler.
Overall, the game may have made the gameplay a little less enjoyable by taking away the speed factor, but it’s still a very fun game. If you had not played the older games, then you wouldn’t even notice. The fact that kicking a field goal is now an easy task is definitely a plus as well. The animation is solid and the games are slowly adding more and more features that make it like a real football game. Some things may just slow down the flow of the game, but if you’re in the middle of Franchise mode, you’ll probably be glad to see how the other teams are doing. This game and 2009 are my least favorite Madden games that I’ve really gotten to play, but things take a turn for the better once we hit Madden 2012. I shall be reviewing that game shortly so keep an eye out for it! I’ve already said it several times, but I’ll say it one last time to make sure that the message lasts. While the review may have pointed out most of the negatives in Madden 2010, it’s still a great game. The gameplay is really fun and never gets tiring. If I wasn’t so busy with other games, I could see myself playing it for many hours. There is a ton of replay value and franchise mode could theoretically last you years if you play season after season after season. I definitely recommend getting this game if you want a fun football experience, but if you want the ultimate NFL experience, make sure that you buy Madden 2004.