Madden 2010 – A Quick Review

Hi, well as per my annual ritual I’ve purchased Madden 2010.  I’ve been buying Madden on PC, PS2 and 360 since 1995 and recently I started to question whether I should continue to do so in the face of lagging game quality, copious amounts of plainly obvious bugs and a general lack of support for end users.

Well, in my hours’ play with the new game tonight, I’m still firmly on the fence.

Allow me to elaborate.  What I normally do when playing a brand new version of Madden is to kick off a new franchise.  I like my games to count, so why bother with an exhibition match?  Pre season in Franchise is a good way of getting the feel of the new game.

So I picked the Packers and went to work picking up choice free agents to fill the (glaring) roster holes.  Given the real Green Bay Packers have real problems with their offensive line, I fixed that right away.  After about fifteen minutes of “balancing the roster” and working within the cap space available, I had a workable team.

So when you try to a sign a player, most of the time you can’t just choose the default salary/year combo – or anywhere near it.  It’s rejected as too low or not enough years.  You then play a game running the numbers up (depending on how good the player is, this can literally take 3-5 minutes of guesswork).  This is really annoying.  Why not……….start the salary closer to what the player will take.  We all like to haggle, but this is ridiculous.  If it’s going to take 3-4 minutes to sign a free agent, then the game sucks.  I didn’t buy the game to play “see how long it takes to sign a player”.  I hate to think how long it’s going to take to resign players in the offseason.  #FAIL

EA still haven’t addressed that ridiculous "”Can’t save player changes as it will drop players below the minimum level;” garbage.  If I want to edit a player’s position and it drops me below the limit that is my business.  Just let me do it, OK?  Changing a LG to a RG should be possible.  Heck, if I wanted to I should be able to edit a player from RG to TE or CB!  This has gone on for years and is and has always been one of the glaring holes in Madden’s roster management.

What happened to the roster depth chart (showing Offensive depth, defensive depth and special teams depth)?  I can’t find it.  It’s been progressively buried into sub menus since Madden 2007, but now it seems to be gone altogether.

Now, let’s talk about playing the game (the bad things). 

  • It feels like a new games engine – not sure if anyone can confirm or deny that for me?  In any case I think the graphics have regressed.  The players movements are awkward, even sloppy.
  • The Quarterback’s mechanics are horrid.  Aaron Rodgers has a heck of a lot better mechanics than his animated double in Madden!  It felt like I was controlling Akili Smith or Tim Couch.
  • Next – defensive pass interference.  It doesn’t get called nearly enough.  I’m watching my wide receivers and tight ends getting hit and tampered with at least 10-15 yards from the line of scrimmage, and the interference seems to lead to far too many interceptions.  That’s not right.
  • The players all seem far to slow.  Even a Kick Returner rated OVR 97 has slow acceleration and speed.  I know that with Madden 2010 they decided to reset the bar on all player ratings (few players now rated above 95) to bring parity, but they seem to have crippled the players natural abilities.  This is the NFL folks, not NCAA and not high school football.  Even the Lions have players who can run fast.  Crippling the players abilities isn’t what we see on TV every weekend.
  • About the only passes that really seem to connect are short ins/outs even corner/post routes have the Wide Receiver running too slow.  Because the pass mechanics are crap, it leads to weak passes which float (and are too often picked off).  I’m going to have to play with the game settings, because the default settings seem very bogus.
  • Tackling is really dubious.  It was pretty bad in Madden 2009 but it is way worse in 2010.  I had a guy break four successive tackles (including a gang tackle) to return an INT for a TD and the guy was running sideways for half the return.. That’s not right.

OK, so I’ve had a bit of a bitch session, let’s talk about the positives.

  • I like the new half time format.  It makes you feel like your game is one amongst many.  The info is informative, and makes it a bit more realistic.  Wish we had the 3 fastest minutes.
  • There are a few more cut scenes (like measuring for first down) which is neat
  • The in-game injury menu when a player gets hurt is excellent.  You can decide whether to put a key player back in and potentially risk re-injury

So that’s all I have for now.  I’ll write up more notes once I’ve managed to play a bit more and tweak the settings – hopefully I can find a more natural balance.  What I’ve seen with the default settings has made me sad.


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