Review by SmilinSphere

Reviewed: 08/11/05

It's all a reality check

I've been a Madden fan over the years so I had to pick this game up. I have never really been GOOD at the game, so from what I heard this would bring a whole new learning curve into the game.

Gameplay: 7/10

The biggest additions into this year's Madden come in the form of gameplay. Of course, the biggest one of all is the Quarterback Vision Cone. Not only does it make the game realistic, but it also prevents people from being cheap and throwing 20 yards behind the line of scrimmage off their back foot. However, it comes at a price. It makes the game increasingly difficult that WILL, no matter how good at Madden you are, take time to get the hang of. My first game, I was sacked 13 times. Because you are fumbling around with the QB Vision, you really can't pay attention to the pass rush. The offensive line blocking is subpar also so you may not have any time at all to do anything before you get sacked. In most cases, you have 1 or 2 seconds to snap the ball, make your reads, move the vision cone if you need to, make your decision, and throw the ball. Rarely do you get a lot of time in the pocket. Am I saying QB Vision is bad? No, but it makes the game a lot harder and will alienate Madden Players who get frustrated by it to the point where they don't want to play the game anymore or turn it off(which is an option). But I guarantee whenever you master it, the game will be a lot more fun than in years past. Another addition is Precision Passing. Really, the feature has been in years past, but they gave it a name this year. All it is is pointing the control stick in the direction of where you want your pass to go, for example, pointing it up makes it go over the recievers shoulder, while pointing it right makes it go to the right of the reciever. This also takes getting used to, as you will frequently throw passes out of bounds, too short, or into coverage. Running the ball is the biggest improvement in my opinion. In the past 2 years, running the ball was difficult and often you got poor blocking. Not this year. I do very well on the ground. If you can get the hang of jukes and the new "Truck Stick", basically a hit stick for the Running Back, then running the ball will be the best it has ever been in Madden. Especially running to the outside, that is no longer an automatic loss of yards. Once the gameplay can get mastered, which will take a while, count on this to be one of the best sports titles of all time.

Features: 9/10

Boy, I love the features. Superstar mode is a good idea, but lacks depth. You take on the role of a future NFL star and enter the draft, become a player, get endorsements, and all of that show biz. The downside is that it gets boring quickly and its novelty wears out. Its not something that I would buy the game for, as its really nothing more than a distraction of what this game should be, football.

My favorite feature throughout the years has been create a team. I created 32 high school teams in my area and threw them into a franchise. Now I basically have High School Football 2006. Creating teams is fun, and deep, but its the same as in 2004 and 2005. It adds replay value incase you get bored with the normal NFL teams.

Most features remain the same, like create a playbook, create a player, 2 minute drill, practice, etc. One minor addition is create a fan, where you create your own fan. In my opinion it is kind of cheesy, but its fun to create rowdy fans and watch them throughout the game.

Graphics: 10/10

Perfect for a football game. You don't need outstanding visuals when what you have here does a fine job. It's a good thing, so they can spend more time on the game play and features rather than eye candy.

Sound: 6/10

I think in the soundtrack that there are too many rock songs. They should diversify more and add in more rap, hip-hop, and such. There are a few non-rock songs, but most of the time you will be hearing rock music. The metal track in there could be done without too. The less-than-stellar sound track is made up with the sound effects and commentary. The sound effects pass for being legit and real, and the commentary is great. There are some new lines, plus the classic old ones(I don't think you have a choice here. Punt the ball!).

Buy or Rent?

This is a game you buy. I don't see how you can rent it, unless you like renting a game over and over. It will take a while to master, so practice is needed. With the huge replay value and nostalgic factor, this game is a keeper. It's worth the $50. Once the game gets mastered, it can be the best game you own.

Overall: 9/10

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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