Madden ’11 Comes Out With New Features

Kemal Stewart

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“Are you ready for some football?” EA Sports will be releasing the highly anticipated football game, “Madden NFL ‘11” on Aug. 10. The new version offers added features like audio commentary from popular sportscaster, Gus Johnson and the introduction of “online team play,” a feature that is fairly standard on other video games, but is new to the “Madden” series.
While these features should be an improvement for many fans, adjustments have been made that may take some fans a while to get used to.
The biggest change in this year’s installment is the new play-calling system known as GameFlow. Football games in the past have always used a play calling screen that allows the user to select which play to run on each down. However, this year, the team at EA Sports chose to cater to the more simplistic gamer, letting the computer chose the plays depending on the situation.
GameFlow may be a helpful addition to gamers who don’t have extensive knowledge and understanding of football, however many long-time Madden gamers would likely prefer to have the choice of customizing which plays GameFlow selects before the game starts or simply, to turn GameFlow off and use a traditional playbook.
Last year’s “Madden” offered a major disappointment in the form of online co-op, an addition that allowed gamers to team up online, but only to play against the computer. With Madden ’11, gamers can now team up with friends online and have a 3 on 3 battle with each player controlling their own squad of skilled players.
Madden ‘11’s player models are fashioned more in the style of an arcade game than Madden ’10, but the movements of the players are a major improvement toward realism. Instead of wide receivers being unaware of where they are on the field like in the past, this year’s edition has receivers catching the ball on the sidelines while dragging their feet to stay inbounds and a variety of other catching motions, that far exceed the traditional ‘over the back’ animation.
Another major adjustment in the “looks department” that really stands out, is in the minor details. The stadium lighting, crowd animations, and a more detailed stadium all factor into the overall affect of a more realistic experience. Gamers feel like they are watching a live broadcast, with team-specific crowd chants and an amazing attention to the detail given to each stadium Jumbotron.
EA didn’t stop with the new additions to the stadium. In order to boost the presentation aspect of the game even further, the team that wins The Superbowl not only gets to watch a celebration video, but also watch a special video that features an animated version of President Barack Obama presenting the Super Bowl trophy.
While many of these changes may be impressive, some may take a while for fans to get used to. The “Madden” franchise is the only video game with rights to use the NFL license, and overall, football gamers will have to roll with the punches and adjust to the new features.