Iāve been given the reigns again for another sports title for some reason - but I guess if you ask any NZGamer staff member who the king of Madden is, theyāll reply: āAaronā¦ Aaron is the kingā. After getting my backside handed to me by a friend in a number of games a few years ago, I decided to treat this game like it was my life and get revenge! And after many victories, Iām happy to say: āhi, my name is Aaron, and Iām a Maddenaholicā¦ā
Like most people who first saw the jaw-dropping introduction from E3 2005 for the new next-gen Madden game, I was very impressed and almost walked to the store to pre-order the game immediately.
But suddenly there was a worldwide cry of ābull-shots!ā from the likes of Penny Arcade. Sadly it seemed that EA had fiddled with the rendering a bit, and so we got a watered down version of Madden for the XBOX 360. With that said, Madden has received a make over in its 360 form - perhaps not to the extent of the show Extreme Make Over, or like the ābull-shotsā, but it looks a lot crisper than previous Madden efforts.
Madden ā06 360 starts off like you'd expect, with the well-known menu options of the title screen. Play Now, Franchise and Create a Player are all there, but sadly for the first time in four years there is no mini camp! This is a great disappointment, as the controls and layout of Madden 360 are a little different. The mini camp is vital not only for veterans but new players to the game to get the hang of everything, rather than getting disheartened by a whipping as they donāt understand Gridiron and its rules.
One of the biggest foopah's EVER in terms Madden 'innovations' was the QB Vision. Before you start having cold sweats about that nightmare returning again to the 360 port, it has been set to default and you have to go into the menu and drag it out to get it going again. Trust me, if you're playing against the Patriots, Ravens and Steelers you don't want play with QB vision. Rumour has it that it's not returning to the franchise again, but don't hold your breathe - even Chris Warner from Shortland St. made his comeback after a number of years!
Madden 06 does manage to take your breath away at times. But, of course, we're dealing with a next-gen console here. The game does look pretty - I love the fact that you can spot your favorite players straight off the bat. But after, say, 45 minutes, I didn't really notice those graphics anymore. The gameplay is exactly the same as the previous 2-3 Maddens.
Madden is a beautiful game, thereās no doubting that. EA have managed to make a brilliant Madden every year since the turn of the millennium. I could literally go on for days about how great it looks and the presentation elements of the game, but here's the thing - games go beyond just looking pretty! The problem I think I have is possibly a trend that hopefully won't continue - namely, the substitution of gameplay for graphics. Madden 360 has fallen into that trap, and for this reason I think it falls down. As a gamer I have to look at the total package.
Madden 360 doesn't even offer all the game functions that the current gen titles do. It's the little things that count - with a case in point being the mini camp and create a superstar mode. However, Madden is still the world's leading sports title - other companies can only dream of making a sport franchise this good. In terms of making it as real as possible on the TV front, this game is second to none. If you're Madden fan from way back and have a copy of Madden '06 on a current gen console, it would be best to stick with that. But if you want a teaser of what could be instore for Madden '07, then pick this up.
But this sure is a pretty game...oh, did I mention that already?