Madden is EA’s annual homage to American Football fans the world over.  Well, mostly in America, but the game does have fans around the world.  I’m just not one of them.  But I’m not going to let this minor obstacle get in the way of playing another great EA sports title.

And yes, I’ve called it great before I’ve really started the review, but it’s an easy thing to do.  EA pump their range of solid sports games out every year, and it would take a mammoth stuff up for them to release a game that wasn’t, in essence, great.

The biggest problem for me with Madden, is that since playing it last, around a year ago, I’ve pretty much forgotten everything I had learnt about how to play the game, and consequently my first foray into this oh so American of sports, was one of complete, abysmal, failing.

The first thing I noticed was the lack of being bale to set the same to easy (or stupendously hard) and it seemed to be a lot more difficult than the previous installment.  THis I was thinking might b great for long time fans, who needed an extra challenge, but for this reviewer things we not looking up.  That was until I discovered the setting that makes the game easier or harder.  But it’s not a setting that lets you pick ‘easy,’ ‘medium’ or ‘hard.’  Rather it lets you apply values to each skill set, so that rather than pushing all the sliders to maximum and creating a killer never fail team, you can just pump you the skills that you are lacking, or need a little help with.  It’s a nice touch that work really well in a sports game.

I won the very next match I played with two touchdowns (both converted) and prevented the opposition from ever scoring a single point.  I was going to have to tweak those sliders some.

There are several ways to play Madden; Ultimate Team, Madden Moments, Be a Superstar and Franchise mode are all there and give the die hard fans something deeper that just playing random friendly games.  And of course there’s the online play – which I avoided due to my severe lacking in the ability to play well department.

Every part of Madden has been tweaked just a little.  Nothing stands out as having been completely overhauled and some gamers would be forgiven in thinking that it’s exactly the same game as last year.  Essentially it is, but those tweaks do add to the game.  The game might feel harder – as I mentioned at the beginning – but this is due to the tweaking on the AI.  You can’t just run blindly around and expect to win, and if you take more than a nano-second to decide who to throw the ball to, you will be sacked with a bone-crushing thud.  It’s these minor tweaks that elevate the game and continue to keep it challenging.

American Football still isn’t my sport, but I’m learning a few things about the game and enjoying the challenge along the way.

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