Jerry Maguire Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.
It’s time to look at one of the oldest Tom Cruise films. This was back before he was climbing towers and taking down whole organizations in the MI series. It’s definitely very different from his other movies. This is a fun one but a film that also has its share of flaws. It’s time to look at a day in the life of Jerry.

Jerry is a great sports agent. He’s always been able to snag his athletes and get them to sign him on for the big money. Thing is, his company helps so many people that they don’t get quality face time with their agents. Jerry decides that things need to run a little differently around the office and releases a memo that they should treat the players better. He is quickly fired as a result and Jerry decides to start his own business in response. One girl from the office, Dorothy, decides to go with him. Can they succeed against such a big company?

The sports part of the film is definitely its strong suit. The montage of Jerry trying to contact a bunch of players was a lot of fun even if most of them wouldn’t come through for him. It’s so well done that you even don’t mind the rival who is definitely the antagonist here. The guy makes for a pretty solid villain overall. He has a lot of confidence and certainly a good amount of connections as well. Deciding to fire Jerry at a cafe was also a smart move to endure the lead wouldn’t fight back. It’s under handed for sure, but I’d expect nothing less from corporate.

Meanwhile Jerry is just a fun character to have in the lead as well. He is great at bluffing and acting confident even when that is certainly not the case at all. He certainly made a memorable exit when he was leaving the company and lived up to his own memo about giving his players a lot of face time. Jerry did his best to be fair. Where he falters is in the romance angle. He was already with someone prior to the film starting so you know that she is going to lose out to Dorothy. Usually the films either make the old flame super mean or super nice depending on if they want you to be sympathetic or not. In this case I think they were going for the former but it didn’t work. The lady was brutally honest at times but she was also dependable and just seemed like a solid character. She was also willing to make the relationship work but Jerry was adamant about them breaking up. Keep in mind that later on he talks about the exact opposite since he is apparently no quitter. It was hard to believe him by that point. At least she hit him with a nice combo before leaving.

As for the romance with Dorothy I naturally couldn’t go for it. Of course they couldn’t simply be professional co workers who were friends without taking it a step further right? It had to be a cliche romance. It’s unfortunate because it continues the narrative that you can’t stay friends in such a scenario. It also escalated quite quickly and the actual scenes take way too long. They drag and drag as they pull down the film’s score.

Then we have Dorothy’s kid who is super annoying. He is basically just around to get everyone in trouble and/or guilt trip them. He hangs up the phone on Jerry’s biggest client which turned out to be okay of course but if he client had taken offense and left that would have been it for Jerry’s career. Everything works out for the kid of course but he puts himself into a lot of bad situations so it’s hard to really feel bad for him. His emotional scenes also don’t work so basically any scene with him out the film to a halt.

Meanwhile with Dorothy herself she wasn’t a bad character but not a particularly good one either. On one hand I do appreciate the fact that she stuck up for Jerry by leaving with him even if it wasn’t the most financially responsible thing to do. She made a stand and stuck by it. She was supportive through the company’s tough start and put in the work. Then the romance set in and that was that.

Let’s talk about the best character here, the football player. He is very loud and always talking but the important thing is that he speaks his mind. No one ever has to guess what he is thinking because he will spell it out for you. He is trying to make sure he secures a good future for his family while at the same time working on his game so it’s tough. He is taking a gamble on Jerry the same way that Jerry is getting everything on him. Both characters have a mutual benefit here so naturally they stick together quite closely. Jim is a good friend to have and without him Jerry would have been doomed right from the start.

It was also nice to see the Cowboys dominating the competition in the climax as well. The movie quickly cuts away before the Cowboys steal the win to spare Cardinal fans the tragic flashbacks but from the scenes in screen you can probably tell that they seem to have the edge. The Cowboys were a very intense hard hitting team back then and didn’t lose many games.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film but the romance did hurt it quite a lot. Those scenes would be quite painful and take away from the really fun first half. Considering that this film was handling a lot of genres I’d say that it did pretty well. If it took out the romance drama and focused on the sport comedy part it would have been a lot better. As it stands I would still recommend checking the film out. It does feature the iconic Tom Cruise run near the end which I was starting to think actually would not make it.

Overall 5/10


The Fortune Cookie Review

It’s time for an old school comedy with this film. Fortune Cookie is certainly a winner and the film’s plot is helped out by a great script. I also give the film props for the fact that a Fortune Cookie actually does appear in the film so the title wasn’t too vague. Forget hidden meanings, I would have been a little upset if the actual fortune cookie had not made an appearance here. The film can be a bit sad, but for the most part it is just a great joyride in the end.

Harry was a photographer who was covering a Cleveland Browns game for the NFL. Unfortunately, he was a little close to the action and the punt returner ended up hitting him rather hard. Harry was knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital in case he may have been injured rather seriously. This wasn’t the case and Harry was ready to go back home, but that’s when his brother Willie shows up. Willie lets Harry know that he can easily earn 1 million dollars out of this if he’ll just pretend to be injured. Harry doesn’t like this plan since he’s always been a law abiding citizen, but Willie lets him know that his divorced wife may come back to him if he goes ahead with the deal. She even calls and pretends to care about him so Harry decides to go through with the plan. Can he really keep up the charade long enough for the NFL to back down?

Willie is really the character who steals the show here. He really knows his stuff when it comes to conning people about fake injuries. Not only does he know a lot of cases from back in the day, but he knows how to merge fact and fiction in order to make a very believable narrative. Willie is an incredibly charismatic character and he fills the film with good one liners throughout. He can be a little mean, the film also makes a point of showing that he’s not really a good guy. The one thing that he does really like is money though and he is good at making it. He’s no hero, but he is the character that the film needed to boost it to the next level. The NFL keeps on trying to trick the heroes with underhanded tactics like bugging the apartment, but Willie sees through them every single time and is always ahead of the game. Without him, the film would have been over before it could have even begun.

Harry is not quite as good. In the end he makes the right choice about not keeping up the lie, but the process of getting there was quite painful. He is extremely naive whenever the ex wife appears. It’s extremely obvious that she does not care for him one bit and just wants the money, but he doesn’t seem to suspect anything until he finally breaks down at the end and takes it out on everyone. He is also very wishy washy at times as he keeps on acting as if he doesn’t want to go through with the plan before letting Willie convince him. It’s almost as if it is just an act he is putting on so he looks reluctant before going through with it. It’s just really hard to like Harry even if he is portrayed as the “nice” character. He simply lets himself get pulled along for the ride for too long before double thinking it.

No worries, we have an array of supporting characters at the ready who are solid enough to cover for Harry. The Doctor from one of the first scenes is great as he talks back to Willie the whole time and certainly isn’t afraid to dish out the insults. He may have been played like a fiddle, but he kept them honest. There was also the shady doctor who suspected that the whole thing was fake from the start, but ultimately he could not prove it. The 3 NFL lawyers were also fairly great as they tried their best to take Willie down a peg or two. They may have lost every fight, but I liked the way that they sat down and discussed the situation before making a move. It didn’t work out, but some plans just don’t in the end. They still gave it their all and helped make the film so fun.

Meanwhile, we have a character who is played seriously. Boom Boom Jackson is the character who injured Harry in the first place and he wants to rectify his mistake by helping Willie as much as possible. The thing is, he is a character that you don’t want to see at times. That’s because you can kind of feel bad for him since this is obviously upsetting. How would you feel if you may have just crippled a person for life right? So, Jackson is a very sympathetic character and the fact that you know how he is being used just makes it all the worse. However, as Willie was my favorite character, I was rooting for him the entire time. It was a conflict of interest. I’d say that the film did drop the ball with Jackson towards the end though as he probably took things way too hard. He did his part to help Harry out, but that’s no real reason to start missing meetings, tanking at the games, and getting into bar room fights. It felt a little forced to be honest so that Harry would be pressured into making the right call.

This film certainly did have a lot of fun with itself. You can tell from all of the super over dramatic characters. Take the mom for instance, she spent the entire film being really hysterical and crying nonstop. She felt like a parody character. This colorful cast of characters ended up being a really strong pack. As mentioned before, the writing is also strong and in the end this film is really complete.

I also have to give some credit to the ending because it was handled really well. By “the ending” I’m talking about Willie’s scene by the way. He’s very good at thinking on his feet and immediately knows how to turn a bad situation into a good one. Harry may have bailed out on him, but he realized that now he can sue the NFL for breaking the constitution by bugging and spying on his house the entire time. He has no proof so it’ll be tough, but he can definitely pull this off. I wouldn’t mind a sequel to this film!

Overall, The Fortune Cookie is one of the best films that I’ve seen in a long time. It has a perfect blend of humor and more humor as Willie steals the show here. The mental battle between him and the NFL is really why you’ll be at the edge of your seat for this film, but all of the characters really do a good job here. The unlikable ex-wife is made to be a bad character of course, but at least she is also super exaggerated. Think of it as Harry’s ultimate moral crisis. Can he make the right move while being surrounded by bad influences everywhere? I do wish that he had a stronger resolve and hesitated less, but you can’t be perfect and I suppose this gave Willie more room to shine since he was always the smartest guy in the room.

Overall 8/10

Madden 2015 Stats and Records

Maddeen stats. I did quite good didn’t I?

PS4 Trophy% 49%

Gauntlet High Score 11

Skills Trainer

Basic Offense 100%
1 Bronze
2 Bronze
3 Silver
4 Bronze
5 Silver

Basic Defense 100%
1 Silver
2 Silver
3 Silver
4 Bronze
5 Gold

Football Concepts 100%

1 Bronze
2 Bronze
3 Bronze
4 Bronze
5 Bronze
6 Bronze
7 Bronze
8 Silver
9 Gold
10 Silver
11 Bronze
12 Silver
13 Silver
14 Silver
15 Silver
16 Gold
17 Bronze
18 Silver
19 Silver
Advanced Offense 100%

1 Gold
2 Bronze
3 Silver
4 Gold
5 Silver
6 Bronze
7 Bronze
8 Bronze
Strategy 100%

1 Gold
2 Bronze
3 Silver
4 Bronze
5 Bronze
6 Gold
7 Silver
8 Bronze

Madden 2005 Review

I finally got my hands on another one of the Madden games! The series is still one of the best video game franchises of all time and it’s never had a bad installment. That doesn’t change here as this title can holds its own with the best of them. I still prefer 2004/2013, but those are going to be nearly impossible to beat anyway. The important thing is that this game got the fundamentals right and it’s a lot of fun to play.

You have the usual modes here like play now or starting up a season/franchise. Sometimes the games leave out the season mode and I’m not sure if this one has it or not. Either way, Franchise Mode can be played out like a season mode if you wish so there’s not a big loss there. The gameplay is pretty explanatory as the game is following traditional NFL rules. If you know how they play Football on TV, then you’ll get the hang of the controls pretty easily.

Of course, I grew up with Madden so I already know the controls quite well. Once you have learned them for one game, you are essentially set for the rest of the series. If this is your first time playing the title, then it is understandable that it may take a short while to really have the controls down. Some things you simply can’t learn from just reading the booklet and you’ll need to actually play games and get some experience to truly get started.

As a new tradition for my Madden reviews, I first play a normal game on Pro level, but then I see how the game handles the toughest difficulty setup…All Madden mode! Needless to say, the game does cheat to an extent. Different game use different methods to make hard difficulties more challenging. Some like Mario just speed up the timer, others like Final Fantasy will make the enemies more powerful. Madden takes a different approach, it simply makes you a lot weaker. I definitely don’t care for this strategy and I would prefer for the computer to simply become more predictable and maybe blitz more often.

Instead, you’ll just realize that your receivers can’t hang onto the all! My main receiver dropped over 10 passes and you simply can’t win a game when your receivers aren’t making plays. Running the ball will typically only get you 1-2 yards against an All Madden defense so you need the passing game to be working. I found the perfect play where my receiver would always be open and if he wasn’t, I could simply toss it to my running back in the flat. It was a great plan, but I still need my receiver to make the catch or it’s all moot. Needless to say, it felt like the computer was cheating.

I still did keep it close for the first half. I had only been down 3-0 towards the end of the 2nd Quarter, but ended up leaving the half down by 17-3. Eventually, the score started to get more drastic as I was forced to go for it on 4th down. I can safely say that I was a little salty and a little voice in the back of my controller was probably telling me to “git gud” but I didn’t want to listen to it. No matter how good I got, my receivers wouldn’t be able to keep up and I would have an extremely difficult time beating the computer.

Suffice to say, Madden is one of those games that is at its best when you are able to face off against a human opponent. Pro difficulty is satisfying in its own way as well since the games can be close or you will blow out the computer, but your receivers will never miss the catch. Not often anyway… The stakes are always high when playing someone in the real world and it’s a great way to have a blast. The Wi-Fi element is what really helped Madden 13 become my 2nd favorite Madden title. Hopefully Madden 25 still has online servers going by the time I get to that game. I’m looking forward to facing some strong opponents there!

The soundtrack of Madden has always been really fun if you just listened to the rhythym. The fast music helps you get excited for the match and the jingle that plays before every game is really catchy. It’s essentially stuck around for all of the Madden games even if the theme gets slightly remixed nowadays. It’s a good theme and the games really feel epic as a result. That being said, I could certainly do without the lyrics as they just bring the songs down and don’t allow you to listen to the beats in peace. Naturally, the graphics are pretty great. Madden’s always been exceptional in this area and I don’t see them faltering anytime soon. EA really knows what they’re doing in this area. Madden may get a lot of complaints over the years, but at least they never concern the graphics.

Madden has more replay value than almost any other video game. It loses out to Super Smash of course, but that’s another story. There is no Wi-Fi here, which hurts, but you can still have a nice franchise mode started where you can fight the CPU for many seasons. It’s also easy to just jump in play when a friend comes over. Madden has virtually infinite replay value and it’s one of the reasons why people continue to buy it year after year. It is a winning formula that has continued to work for over a decade.

By and large, I can also see why Madden became such a popular series from the start. Even if we ignore the fantastic gameplay, it is simply a well designed game. The cover is very clear and engaging. It is a title that would have stood out over at Gamestop. The menus are all very easy to navigate through and it’s very new gamer friendly. I’m sure that many people were introduced to the world of video games through Madden and that’s a good thing. I’d love to be introduced to Gaming through a 9 star game. I forgot what my first game was, but it was probably X-Men for Super Nintendo, Home Alone for Game Boy, or Pac Man since I was probably at the arcades a lot. Either way, that’s not a bad way to start off either!

Overall, Madden 2005 is a great game and I got it for a bargain at 1 cent! (4 dollars shipping) Now, I am just missing Madden 2008 and then my collection (Up through 2013) will be complete! That’s definitely going to be a nice accomplishment and while I essentially get all sport titles, Madden is the best by leaps and bounds. It’s a series that I like to be almost current with since the games are so exciting and fun. This was before the recent upgrade for the defense so it’s still safe to throw deep bombs sometimes. You probably shouldn’t risk it on All Madden, but you can’t risk all that much when you’re playing at that level. I highly recommend buying this game and Madden 2005 is a good way to learn about the NFL. The important thing to remember is that the Dallas Cowboys is the team to root for. Go Dallas!!

Overall 9/10

NCAA Football 2011 Review

This is the first college Football game that I’ve really gotten to play extensively. I own quite a few of the other titles, but I have so many sport games that I typically just play them for a game or two and then move on to the next one. That’s why I love the trophy system on the PS3. It gives me a good reason to keep on playing long past the point where I would have stropped otherwise. The gameplay style may take a teeny bit of adjustment at first if you’re used to Madden, but it’s still EA so the control scheme is similar. It’s a pretty great and while I’ll always prefer Madden, I’ll always be up for a game here!

The gameplay style is a little faster than the average Madden game. You can pick what kind of offensive style you want before hand and then it’s off to the races. That’s actually a very cool gimmick to have and I got to test a few of the offensive formations out. I don’t remember all of the names, but I do like the Spread Offense and the Air Raid team is the best. In case you didn’t guess…I’m a pretty big passing fan. The problem with running the ball is that there’s more chance involved then when you’re passing it. For the most part, you can tell if you just threw a possible TD or a pick six right after you throw it.

I haven’t tackled the strongest A.I. level yet so I can’t comment on how difficult it is, but based on the previous levels it’s sure to be a nice challenge! Running the ball with your QB is easier in this game than usual and that’s a good thing since I love to do that. It’s good that it’s not too easy of course, but it’s a really effective way to move the ball when your receivers are covered. It can be tough to know when to look to run and when to pass, but the challenge of finding a nice mix is what makes this move so deadly!

I’ve gotten quite a few trophies so far although I’m probably not going to end up Platinuming this title. I won’t rule it out, but a few of the Dynasty/Career trophies seem like they would be a little too much work. I applaud EA for resisting the urge to add online trophies to the game so that the Platinum trophy is still a possibility. It was a pretty good move on their part and it’s one that I shall not forget very soon.

The game has your usual modes like Play Now that Madden has and there’s also it’s equivalent to Franchise Mode in Dynasty. There’s also a Road to Glory mode where you start out in Highschool and it looked interesting so I decided to go for it. It’s only four games long and it was pretty fun. The gameplay will certainly get you into the action very quickly and I still like the new style where you can pick a player to progress as you go through the career and then you just play when he’s on the field.

That being said, it’s a nice thing to give yourself a change of pace, but I still like to be in control for every facet of the game. You won’t catch me missing the point after attempts quite as much as the CPU and their defense tends to crumble when the going gets tough. This game has a ton of replay value since it’s Football and there are always more games to play. It’s tough for any title to even dream of matching it in replay value and the only other game that can give it an even fight is probably Super Smash Bros.

The graphics are pretty good. I’ve always thought that EA’s games looked very good and they definitely spend more time perfecting the graphics than the average game. It can be seen as excessive or underwhelming depending on the player, but it just looks great for me. The plays are always clear and you can see who’s open and who isn’t with a single glance.

If I had to list a negative for the game, it may be the soundtrack. At times, trumpets will sound and all of the music will instantly be obliterated. That’s not a bad thing per say, but the game can be more fun at times with a nice background theme. If the game is going to be silent then I think that cutting out the trumpets would help. It just doesn’t work with the style of gameplay. To counter this, NCAA has an exclusive feature where you get to run to the mascot for a celebration after each scoring play. That’s pretty cool and it’s a nice way to motivate your opponent as well.

This may have been the first NCAA game that I got to play a lot, but that won’t be the case for very long. I am planning to dig out the previous year’s game shortly to gather some trophies and then I’ll be sure to review that one as well. I expect it to be pretty good as well, but this one will likely stay on top. Where do I go from here? Well, I’m planning on tackling the full season soon so this game won’t be biting the dust just yet!

Overall, NCAA Football is a pretty great title to play and it’s one of those games that will continue to be fun long after you’ve played your 100th game. It’s just hard not to get excited while playing it and especially when the score gets tight. You just need to remember your training and you’ll be fine. The servers are down, which unfortunately halts online play, but it’s a game that is actually still a lot of fun to play with computers. If the price is right, you may still want to buy the latest version, but if not…2011 is the way to go!

Overall 8/10

Backyard Football 2009 Review

I really wanted a quick Football game to play on the go and if Smash Bros can pull it off…why not right? I needed that experience so I ran to Gamestop and made the intriguing decision to buy this for the DS instead of Madden 2009. Madden is probably the better game, but it was also 3X the price….I made the right move. It’s a simple and easy Football game, but it’s still pretty fun and you won’t get bored of it for a while.

There aren’t a whole lot of modes to choose from. We have multiplayer, quick “Play Now” games and the Season Mode. I ran for the Season Mode and that’s where I spent about 90% of my time. I set the difficulty to Hard (Although it seems like it still went back to Normal for some reason) and turned off powers. It was pretty fun and I was undefeated as I crushed the opposition with really lopsided scores. The season ends once you complete it and there’s no continuing on to the next year as with the Madden titles. Instead, you’re free to just give it a whirl again with another team.

After I finished Season Mode, I went back to the quick matches and decided to play a Hard battle with items on. The games are insanely easy with items since you can literally steamroll right through the defenders or cause them to fumble whenever they make contact with you. Items are interesting, but I prefer sport and car games that don’t have them. It’s just more fun without the gimmicks.

Ultimately, the A.I. isn’t very good. Even on Hard Mode, you’ll be able to crush the CPU with relative ease. They cannot stop the run and throwing the ball will almost always work. You do have to watch out for the occasional interception, but they aren’t much of a factor here. This is the kind of game where you’ll need multiplayer since the CPU doesn’t provide you with a threat. Defeating them over and over again will eventually start to bore you. Towards the end, I just started rushing the games so I could finish. It was fairly easy since you can just run rings around the stadium to take out an entire quarter or more with a single play.

The graphics are decent. As far as DS games go, they’re not downright bad, but I’ve never found the DS to be very impressive in this regard. We have the 3DS if we want true portable graphics. Everyone is in chibi mode though so it’s hard to tell how much is intentional or not. It’s cool to see everyone as kids and the graphics won’t distract from the gameplay so I give them a pass there.

I didn’t really discuss the gameplay. I’ll let you look at the NFL rules on your own. The main thing to note is that you can only dash for short periods of time and pressing Y/X while near the ball will usually result in an interception. A more efficient method is to just rush the quarterback and get some sacks. Once you get a sack, it’s easier to get more since the CPU will keep on trying for some deep balls. The offense is fairly simple to handle since you just run on handoffs and press the button over your intended receiver to throw it. It’s simplicity itself and this is more like how the old Madden games would play. They were still more in depth, but they were easy to pick up. I’ve been buying each Madden as they come out so I have fun with the new upgrades, but this came around the peak of Madden. (Slightly after though since 2004 is where it’s at.)

The soundtrack isn’t anything special and you’ll probably start to tune it out by the 4th game. It’s just very uninspired and you want something a little more fast paced for a Football game. These themes just don’t get you very excited and you want to be thrilled about facing off against new teams. I think there might only be one theme in the game, but there must be more so I’m just going to assume that they all sounded the same to me.

There are a few made up teams in this game as well as some made up players. Each of the real teams basically get one player to represent them and then you put them together for your dream team. Since each of the players have reverted back to their kid years, it’s like putting together a team on the sandlot. A trust system is in place, which means that there are no penalties to slow you down. Just get ready for some fun Football action!

Overall, Backyard Football 2009 is a pretty good game to get. As far as Football games go, just about any other title is superior, but it’s fun to have on the mobile. The gameplay is more like the classic arcade games than the current sport titles and it may remind you of the Techmo Bowl. (I may get that one someday) For a little under 5 dollars, you can’t go wrong with this title. If you play the whole season, it should last you around 5-8 hours. If you’re willing to shell out 15, then I guess I would sooner recommend Madden 2009 for the DS. This is a good title, but it’s a little lacking in content and it just gets beaten by the other titles. The big edge that this game has is that all of the players are kids of course. You can’t go wrong there.

Overall 6/10

Madden 2013 Review

img8420 (1)
It’s definitely been a while since I got to play a new Madden game. In case you are not aware, I am a huge fan of the Madden franchise. I’ve played almost every one of the titles since 2002 and they were all rock solid. I’ll admit that Madden 2010 may have slipped a little, but it was still a blast. 2011 and 2012 were also enjoyable experiences so I was all set to grab this one. I didn’t realize that it had already dropped to 6 dollars so it was a steal! Madden 2015 just came out so I’m sure that this game’s online days are numbered. That being said, I’m really glad that I finally got to try the online experience because it is amazing! This is easily the best Madden title for the PS3!

I also know that I need to make this one last because I likely won’t be getting one of the newer Madden games anytime soon! There is no Madden 2014 because they decided to come out with the special Madden 25 package. I’m looking forward to playing it, but it’s still going for 25! I love these games, but I always wait for the price drops since they’re so frequent. I wouldn’t expect to see another Madden review on this site for even a year, but maybe I’ll surprise you guys and get one of the few titles that I missed for Christmas!

Back to the game! Madden 2013 uses a lot of elements from the past games while changing things up. I know that everyone has already heard the stories and some are still upset that EA refuses to change the formula with any drastic measures. There’s no need to change a system that is already great and EA still does provide a unique experience each time. In this game, the defense is probably the most notable change, but the whole game is really impacted. Is it in a good way? It depends on the effect. I won’t really explain the rules because I’m sure that you are familiar with the NFL. If not, it’s an easy game to figure out.

One of the ways that Madden seems to have changed is how fiercely the cornerbacks will go after the ball. It is essentially impossible to throw a deep ball anymore. You can still do it of course, but you’ll be forced to watch your receiver get shoved out of the way as the cornerback snags it for a pick 6. Sometimes, your receiver will just stand there and wait for the football while the cornerback jumps up for the steal. They can jump extremely high by the way and they aren’t opposed to catching the ball with one hand in a rather fancy athletic movement. One way to stop this is to quickly take control of your receiver and turn around to grab the ball. Of course, this is a Lot trickier than it sounds and it requires perfect precision on your part. More often than not, this won’t work. Once in a while, your player will actually catch the ball, but you’ll have already thrown a lot of interceptions by that point.

It’s great for the defense and I’ve always enjoyed getting an interception. It’s pretty thrilling and it’s one of my favorite plays along with kickoff/punt returns. On the flipside, it makes you hesitate to throw the football. You’ll find yourself relying on basic screen passes and other short throws because you can’t risk going downfield. Throwing it into the centerfield for your tight end is usually a decently safe throw, but I miss the days where I felt comfortable throwing to any part of the field. You can definitely forget about slants unless your receiver is in a great position. So, this is definitely a mixed bag.

One area where the game really excels at is how realistic the hits are. It’s great to see your player get tackled or to record a sack on your own. You really feel the hit and it’s usually interesting to see how your player will go down. Sometimes the game will even revert to slow motion although that could just be the frame rate hitting the ball. This is more like the Football that we’re used too!

The graphics for the game are always pretty solid and that doesn’t change in this installment. You can clearly see all of the players and every option available on the field. You’ll never find yourself squinting to see something and the field looks as real as ever. I definitely have no complaints with the game on this front and the commentary is also good. There are some obvious mistakes like when they say that there are 15 minutes left when only 6 are on the clock. Some of the lines can get a little old when you hear them so often, but I actually enjoy it. It really makes the game feel professional and it means that I won’t have to listen to any (awful imo) music like in some of the other titles. Remember NFL Street? Great game, but the music was pretty terrible. I’m not a fan of EA’s music so the commentary means that the music has to go away. I don’t think it plays at all during the games anymore and that’s fine by me!

The game does have one annoying cutscene that plays after every timeout. If you call a timeout, your opponent’s player will meet up with one of the staff for a drink of water. The trainer will get him the water and the player always stops the guy from leaving so that he can get a second drink. This happens every single time and it gets old rather quickly. The character models are constantly chewing as well although I believe that it’s supposed to depict them talking to each other. Trust me, you’ll wish that it wasn’t there after a while!

If this game had one big weakness, it would be how they’ve made every action a lot more complicated. Gone are the days where you only needed to worry about running and where to throw the ball. Now there are so many buttons to press! You have to remember to hit a button so that you don’t fumble, there’s a button to sprint as per usual, but you can also tilt one of the joysticks to bring your head down and charge. There are like three different ways to juke and you really need the hit stick on the defensive side or the opponent will just break your tackles. I don’t think the game really needs to be this complex. It wouldn’t be so bad either if your player wouldn’t fumble all the time. Never run right into the opponent player without pressing something or you’re almost guaranteed to fumble. So much for my wild charges into the crowd eh?

Franchise mode is long gone and now we have the Connected Careers mode. It’s essentially the same thing so it’s all good. You can play as the Coach or as the players. I only use the latter of course and you can even add yourself to the game through Gameface. The EA account is actually pretty handy since it really does a good job of recording your online stats. The online ranked battles are really where the action is at. It’s almost hard to go back to the classic offline battles when you can fight such talented players online. (Almost is the key word! Regular matches are still a blast.) My current record is 5-4 as of this writing and I already scored over 150 points, which netted me the first few online trophies. The highest one is at 600 points and that is likely where I would stop online gaming for this title. It’s a blast, but I have so many other games where I need to accomplish that I wouldn’t have time for it anymore. The offline world is another story since there are more trophies to get there.

The trophies are pretty fair for the most part, but I think that EA is asking too much for the offline ones. You would basically have to play over 10-20 seasons if you wanted to snag them all unless they expect you to start simulating all of them. There are many workarounds to grab a lot of the trophies, but adjusting sliders and such, but that doesn’t seem right. Thus, I am doomed to have a relatively low trophy% in this title, but I’ll still do my best to snag as many of them as I can. At least there are more trophies to be collected in this one than in the previous Madden titles!

I almost don’t even need to bring up the replay value. The trophies alone can last for weeks or even months. This Madden also has quite a few different modes to play. You can relive famous moments in NFL history and try to complete each of them. The Connected Careers mode can go on for as many seasons as you want and you can play it from the coach’s point of view or from the player’s. The replay value to this game is essentially endless and the servers are actually still up so you can have fun online or offline. The game is really a bargain at 6 dollars and it would have been well worth the original 60 dollars if I had bought it then too. It just goes against my buying code to do that. I only go that far for Smash Bros at this point in time.

Finally, it’s worth noting that EA has done a good job to really make the games feel alive. On the main menu, you can actually see the scores for the current NFL 2014 Pre Season games. Not to mention that there are Facebook and Twitter options inside of the game so that you can post your scores and stats throughout the season. Everything is completely up to date, which is pretty fun. You won’t lose touch with the real world by playing this game and their Origin system helps you to link your account through all of their titles. EA may have a very bad reputation with the average person at the moment, but one can’t deny that their games are great!

Overall, This is an excellent Madden game. As mentioned earlier, I would say that it easily clobbers Madden 08-12. It’s tough to take on the Gamecube ones, but this is easily one of the best installments. I do believe that the game has gotten a little too complicated in some areas, but you can still choose to simplify things based on your playstyle. I got used to it after a game or two and the only troubles that I’m having now are with the audibles. It’s hardly something that will really cost you a game since audibles are pretty rare. I highly recommend getting this game and you’ll have fun for dozens of hours. Madden is one of the only games that can compete with the new Super Smash Bros for how much time you can pour into it! It’s going to be tough for Madden 25 or the new Madden 15 to keep up with this one!

Overall 9/10