MADDEN NFL 11 XBOX 360 REVIEW

If you have played enough Madden, then you have come to know its history, evolution of features, and gameplay refinements. Each year that EA Sports releases a new installment, players are mostly after the latest add-ons, revisions, and the type of mechanics that have been improved. Now, you are wondering what are the latest changes with Madden NFL 11? There are a few notable additions but we will discuss some of these changes later in details. So far, Madden NFL is great though not perfect. This season feels much friendlier and more accessible to casual football audience. Last year, it was heavy on strategizing, and not enough playing time. The four key components that make Madden NFL 11 great are Gameflow, 3-on-3 Cooperative Multiplayer, Running Offense, and Improved Artificial Intelligence.

With Gameflow, the AI takes care of both your offensive and defensive situations, using just a single-button. The simplified calling system gives you more time to enjoy the action on the field by focusing on executing plays rather than spending time strategizing them. Going through the play calling menus is one of the top complaints of past Madden games, where players consistently run into “delay of games” violation. At the very least, it can drag the momentum of the game down. The game features 3-on-3 co-op mode; while this is a great addition to have more friends to participate in the same team, it’s more about what you can contribute to your role and stepping up to your responsibility. In Madden NFL 11, roles are divided into three units. On offense, one player is in charge of the quarterback, a second player controls the running backs, and a third player handles the wide receivers. On defense, each player line up as either a defensive lineman, a defensive back, or a linebacker.

The newly revamped running offense is the most exciting part of Madden NFL 11. EA Sports has revived this aspect by improving AI and integrating an intuitive right-stick. The right-stick controls much of your spinning and juking maneuvers. It is fun to use because of its precise-handling, which makes for a greater chance of breaking through tackles or gaining that extra yardage. The combination of Gameflow and good running game is a football matrimony, which keeps your interest and the momentum going. EA Sports finally develops a formula that withstands “true” accessibility that actually works, particularly for those casual players. On the downside, gone is the sprint button, which has been a long time staple of football games. Instead, EA Sports replaced it with the right-stick, which functions mostly as your fancy ankle-breakers including stiff arms and head-chargers. While the game’s commentary is full of color, it is a bit annoying when similar lines are repeated way too often.

On the upside, the presentation is impressive! Character animation is relatively smooth and Madden uses excellent lighting effects. The ambience in the game mimics authentic stadium experience. There is also a “coach” style audio where you’ll hear play suggestion for each specific situation. Though limited in script, it’s a nice touch that gives you that extra NFL tone. Overall, Madden NFL 11 feels like a completely new series thanks to the improved running mechanics, a more balanced AI, and a simplified play-calling system known as Gameflow. The action is much faster now since you no longer have to focus too much on strategy but rather executing the plays. What makes it particularly fun is the 3-on-3 cooperative mode, where each player takes control of a specific lineup whether it’s the running backs, cornerbacks, linebackers or wide-receivers. This gives individual some sense of responsibility to perform his role in the team. Though, the sprint button is gone, you can’t help but praise its intuitive right-stick. It’s responsive and highly functional for breaking off tackles and gaining that extra yardage. For this season, Madden NFL 11 is definitely worth saving.

FINAL SCORE: 9.0 OUT OF 10