hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Impressions: Madden NFL 11

11:00 AM on 08.02.2010 // Samit Sarkar

“Everything you see on Sunday, see it in Madden NFL.” That has been the mantra of the design team at EA Tiburon for the past two years, and while a TV-style presentation is great, most gamers would likely tell you that they’d prefer to see everything that happens on the field in an NFL game get replicated in Madden.

I’ve spent a few hours with a final version of Madden NFL 11 (both at an EA press event in New York three weeks ago, and at home with a boxed retail copy this past weekend), and I’m here to report on how well the game plays. Hit the jump to read about the thing I’ve never been able to do in a football videogame until now.

[Editor’s note: Look for my full review of Madden NFL 11 in one week.]


Madden NFL 11 (PS3 [previewed], 360 [previewed], Wii, PSP, PS2, iOS)
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: EA Sports
To be released: August 10, 2010

NFL fans know that pro teams run a wide variety of plays, and Madden has always been good at representing them well in its playbooks. The summer after the wildcat formation rose to prominence in the league, you could snap the ball directly to the Miami Dolphins’ Ronnie Brown in Madden. But having a play in the game only meant that you could run it; for certain classes of plays, you’d have to have been a fool to actually try to use them. Longtime Madden players are probably nodding as they’re reading this; the “don’t ever bother with this” options included draw plays, in which an offense tries to bait the defense into pushing upfield by making them think that a pass play is being run, only to hand the ball off to the running back. Unfortunately, because the blocking in Madden didn’t work properly, running a draw play was asking for a loss of yardage.

In a game of Madden NFL 11 against the Philadelphia Eagles, I broke off a 20-yard run with the New York Giants’ Brandon Jacobs -- on a draw play. I had literally never gained more than five yards on a draw play in a football videogame before that moment, so the run left me ecstatic. Last year, Tiburon did a great job with pass blocking: offensive linemen actually formed a pocket around the quarterback. This time around, they’ve made a ground-breaking improvement to run blocking, and it’s evinced in the play art: you can actually see the entire blocking plan of a play, and it will change dynamically depending on defensive positioning.


When you consider the new movement engine alongside the vastly improved blocking, the running game feels more fun than it ever has before. It also allows you to pull off feats you’ve never been able to achieve in a Madden game until now, like juking a defender out of his shoes by bouncing on your feet and then cutting in a direction. The new ball carrier controls, which allow you to perform all the moves you’ll ever need (aside from stiff-arming and hurdling) on the right analog stick, offer an unprecedented degree of control. For instance, once you’ve been hit, you can control the direction in which you fall, which will help you eke out that crucial extra yard or two.

The audio/visual presentation is top-notch this year, thanks to the addition of Gus Johnson in the booth and a variety of interstitial cut-scenes, such as shots of fans outside the stadium. (For more of my thoughts on the game’s presentation, check out my impressions of the demo.) There’s a strange hitch that occurs almost every time the game wants to show highlight replays -- where it freezes for a second, as if it’s searching for and cuing up the footage -- but aside from that, the game looks and sounds fantastic.

One aspect of the presentation that hasn’t been as popular, especially with longtime Madden players, is the new Strategy Pad. In the past, different button presses corresponded to different pre-snap adjustments (such as rerouting receivers or moving your linebackers). Tiburon mapped all of the options to a single location -- the D-pad -- and series veterans who were used to the old controls rebelled. An option to get rid of the Strategy Pad will be patched in, but frankly, I don’t have a problem with it. Sure, it takes some getting used to, but the new system isn’t any worse -- and it’s more intuitive, if you think about it.


A highlight of my time with Madden NFL 11 at the EA event was playing (and watching others play) the much-improved online co-op, the Online Team Play mode. Thanks to the headsets that EA provided, we were able to coordinate like, well, a team, letting each other know that we were going to get open by heading toward the sideline, or that we were playing a shallow zone as a linebacker. If you get a group of serious Madden players together, you’re bound to make some great plays happen -- and in the process, write a few great football stories.

I’ve only played Madden NFL 11 for five or six hours so far, but it’s already shaping up to be the best entry in the series yet. And I didn’t even talk about GameFlow and Gameplanning! I’m going to go back to playing the game, and I’ll have a full review for you next week.

Samit Sarkar,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Can this be Toy Story 4? [youtube][/youtube]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Also I will be reviewing freedom wars. I didnt make it to the end. I will not be kind to it. There will be blood.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Yeah....been there before.
techsupport avatartechsupport
MGS V review: When using a character other than Big Boss for missions, the intro credits still say, "starring Punished 'Venom' Snake." Sloppy work, Kojima - no wonder Konami dumped you. 0/10.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Grim Fandango......some real good sruff here. As soon as I complete it (vita version, of course) will probably see about a write up. Not perfect, but theres some good stuff here. Glad it got brought back from obsolescence hell.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
*sigh* If only Disqus had a "block/ignore user" option :/
Must. Use. This. Blog. More. But. School.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Just started playing Hyrule Warriors again. Man is that game fun. A bit mindless at times granted, but fun nonetheless.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I ate vanilla ice cream and didn't put on any chocolate syrup. Now wondering if that was racist whitewashing #thanksjed.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
The cat dragged in some action figures !
[img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img]
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
There's a Custom Soundtrack folder in MGSV. I can't think of a better thing to put there than the old episodes of podtoid I've been running through lately. I'll be fultoning guys and Holmes will be puttin' on mesh tank tops. Perfect.
Shinta avatarShinta
MGSV Pro Tip: Turn your brightness down to 0. It actually makes the view distance for the guards correct, and doesn't make nighttime the best option for you every single time. When guards shoot flares in the sky, the lighting looks like Dragon's Dogma.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Proof I listened to too much Weird Al growing up: I really do hear "Living in America" as "Living with a Hernia."
Nic Rowen avatarNic Rowen
I've been playing a shit ton of Heroes of the Storm recently. It's my first MOBA and I'm SHOCKED at how much fun I'm having. Anyone else into it? Would love to get some games in with Dtoiders.
Script avatarScript
I would wait for a chance to play the game by myself, but I just have to know. Is David Hayter in MGS V in any way? Please no spoilers.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
Guys, serious question... How can I make D-Horse to poop?
gajknight avatargajknight
Goddammit @ FullmetalJ, you have poisoned my mind with...whatever the hell this is.[youtube][/youtube] It's so, so catchy. Go suck a baguette. And thanks :3. Yes I have listened to all of it.
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
That time when Mr. Destructoid went to Vegas [img][/img]
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
As someone who hasn't played the MGS series at all, should I play it by release date or story order?
Vuster avatarVuster
Been watching a good friend play the Metal Gear game on twitch soon. I will say I can understand the appeal 100% and Kojima knows how to make a great piece of work. I think will hold off on a new pc and get this if this keeps up!
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -