For the 12th consecutive year I went out and purchased the EA Sports Madden football on the day it came out. And for the 12th consecutive year Iâ€™m frustrated at getting used to the new tricks that the staff at EA Sports put into the game.
Madden 2005 was a defense-oriented game revolving around the defense dominating opponents. EA stayed true to this and for every glitch on offense there was a counter on defense. However, there was a whole host of unrealistic glitches within the game which made it more arcade like.
In Madden 2006 there has been a whole host of positive changes that will take some getting used to. But they are all solutions to the glitches of the previous years that made online gaming more like a glitch-challenge than a real game.
WR Shading â€“ This is a very cool feature and built into the game to counter the precision passing game if used correctly. This allows defenders to play to the inside or the outside of a wide receiver. You can still do the usual bump and run and playing off of your DBâ€™s. This just adds another dimension. Again this will take some getting used to from the offensive and defensive perspective as far as what counters this on both sides of the ball.
Precision passing â€“ This is a great feature and counters the people who like to throw it on every down. It is much more difficult to hit what is referred to in the Madden gaming community as â€œmoney passes.â€? However, the creation of this could take the game in the other direction. The passing engine itself is slow and appears to stay that way no matter how good your stick control is. The fear here is that as people discover new and creative nano-type blitzes it will frustrate the daylights out of an offense.
DB Awareness â€“ The DB awareness seems realistic this year as opposed to previous years, where it was overkill one way or the other. It appears that safeties cheat to the passing icon and follow the Quarterbackâ€™s eyes like they do in real life. However, shut down-type cornerbacks do not lock down a WR for as long as they should.
Safeties in the box â€“ It appears in the early going that you can really abuse a defense that tries to put a safety in the box on the same side of a speedy WR. No telling if this can be truly countered on defense, except to pull your CBâ€™s back into off coverage.
Running game â€“ EA added a new move this year called the ‘truck stick’ and eliminated the juke and spin glitch of the past. The ‘truck stick’ is a move where the RB puts his head down and runs with power. Hitting down on the truck stick allows the RB to step back to avoid a would be tackler. As a whole, the running game is much more realistic. The blocking seems to break down on a random, more true-to-life basis. This makes for a much more realistic game since in the early going there does not appear to be money running plays that work every single time.
Pass Rush â€“ The pass rush in this yearâ€™s game seems to be more realistic at face value. However, I think that once gamers get a hold of good blitz packages combined with the random breakdown of the o-line it will make it very, very difficult to move the ball on offense.
Overall, this is a fun game but I do warn the casual gamer that potential glitches within the game still exist, but remain undiscovered at the moment. This will still be a game of a ‘found glitch’ verses a counter. That is just the nature of software development. But if you are a casual or a hardcore gamer, Madden still offers the most real-to-life sports game on the market.
The big question about the Madden series is, “is it worth the $50 bucks to buy this one and scrap last year’s version?”
I would say yes. It is a fun game that has great depth to it.
Hardcore gamers that dominated in the previous year’s version may hate it at first until they figure out all the new glitches, but the casual fans will like it right away.
Bob’s Grade: B+