You won’t find me waiting in line at the local Gamestop when the release of each major sports title comes out. Hell, if I wasn’t in the industry I wouldn’t even know they came out. I’m just not a huge fan of the sports game genre. Yeah, I suck horrible at some (Like MLB: The Show) and I am better at others (Madden, NCAA Football) but what really turns me away from these games is that I am a sports fan. I love the Tampa Bay Rays and the Minnesota Vikings, I own a Marty St. Louis sweater and University of Wisconsin jersey. My home and office is filled with video game and sports memorabilia but the two worlds rarely (if ever) mix. You aren’t here though to read about me, you are here for Madden.
I played through a few season of Madden a few years ago with an old friend, it was fun and we broke the game by getting an all star team. A lot has changed since then and so has the Madden franchise, EA every year seems to try harder and harder to push the envelope to the level of realism. This year I think they took another huge stride. From watching the videos with the demo, I was impressed to see how realistic Raymond James Stadium looks. It’s my local stadium and I have been there numerous times, it looks nearly realistic. I also noticed that they finally fire the cannons during the game. (For those of you that don’t know, the Bucs fire the cannons on touchdowns). Mascots and traditional entrances by players are plucked straight from reality itself. It is amazingly impressive to say the least. The fact that EA stayed true to the game and the players as well is something that already drew my interest and I haven’t even played the demo yet.
After watching all the videos, I decided to take the game itself for a spin. Unfortunately I was forced to play with the Packers and Bears, I chose the Packers due to my strong dislike of Jay Cutler. I chose the new play calling system and began my game. Without the commentary, the game felt considerably hollow but that is only something I am sure we will see in the demo itself. I watched Urlacher come out with the Bears flag like he normally does and run down the field. Then after the pageantry ended the game itself started, I lobbed a 40 yd pass down the field that Donald Driver caught. After a few running plays that netted me a 20 more yds, I got a touchdown off of a beautifully executed screen pass. Truth be told, the experience was pretty damn close to watching the real thing on TV. The most amazing thing that I noticed was that players had tendencies, Clay Mathews looked like a berserking barbarian after sacking Jay Cutler who, in turn, was incredible easy to pressure and made poor decisions after getting knocked around. The game plan feature is great too, automatically making the most of the given players on the field while attacking your opponents defensive system as well.
I can say this, I know sports and I sure as hell know games. This is going to be a game that I most certainly look forward to playing when it launches