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Madden NFL 09 - Playstation 3
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: StandardChange
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2008
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
It truly is a sad day for NFL video game fans. Way back in the day we used to have options. Tecmo and Super Tecmo Bowl for a quick and fun arcade experience, and games like Madden on the Sega Genesis for a more realistic approach.

With Madden 09 the only licensed NFL game in the world, you no longer have those options. For someone looking for a realistic and fun experience, over the years Madden has mostly satisfied that itch.

The problem is, in 09 EA focused almost exclusively in it's new animation system (that started w/ FIFA). The producers and developers will often be seen online congratulating themselves on how amazing their animation system works.

While it is true that the animations are better than ever, the problem is how this affects gameplay. This "branching animation system" means that players are no longer "cylinders" that you move around on the field with animations attached to them. In the words of EA, now when you press a direction on the controller you input a command to the player and the dynamic animation will decide what happens next in order to be more natural looking and have less of that "floating" feel of the former maddens.

They are correct, it does indeed look more natural. Unfortunately all players share the same system. This will result in Peyton Manning shucking players to the ground in the same fashion that Lawrence Maroney stiff arms. (Despite Manning having a stiff arm rating that is 70 points lower than Maroney)

The problem is another player comes in to tackle, you press the stiff arm button, the new animation system decides on the fly which stiff arm animation is suitable for the interaction, and boom. Peyton Manning is doing hip throws like Reggie White tossing around weak offensive lineman.

This problem affects not just stiff arms but every animation in the game, tackling, passing, running. Every player animates the same way, negating their stats and turning Brett Farve into the next Marshall Faulk.

Inside linebackers will leap 42" into the air and intercept passes with their backs turned.

Essentially the only stat that matters is as usual the speed rating. To make matters worse there are dozens of freezing issues, crash bugs, franchise bugs, clipping issues etc...

Once I had to watch a replay 10x over because I was amazed that the football had literally passed right through the chest of my TE to appear on the other side, and get intercepted. A condescending Chris Collinsworth can not wait to do an "EA BACTRAX" on that play and explain what I did wrong.

The problem is I didn't do anything wrong, the football phased through the TE like Martian Manhunter.

Clearly EA recognized that the game is cheap and broken, so they included the ability to "rewind" and erase any play. You can of course turn this feature off but you have to wonder why would they make a feature that allows you to reverse time in a realistic sports game?

Clearly the answer is people realized that Madden 09 is no longer a fun game, its frustrating and cheap. The Offensive line can not block the CPU pass rush and even an All Pro Left Tackle will get beat for 3+ sacks per game on All pro or All madden.

There is nothing you can do about it either. If you hold in running backs or TEs to block, they will simply miss the blocking assignment about 60% of the time.

in the real NFL if you miss a blocking assignment even 2 times a game, chances are you will get cut. In madden 09 the best blocking RBs in the game will miss 2x PER DRIVE!

----------------
Update one of the main producers of Madden has left the series. The new producers have OWNED UP to the myriad of flaws in the animation system and admitted that the reason it's broken is because they would speed up or slow down specific animations like the full back hand off, and after time everything became out of sync.

FB hand off became an exploit because it was so fast the defensive lineman would still be getting out of their stance and the FB would be 2 yards into his run. That is just one of the examples, QB drop back was broken as well, the Olineman did not have enough time to start a pocket.

So at least EA has admitted they had a broken pile of code that they had to throw away and start over with. Even tho 09 sold MILLIONS
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78 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2008
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
I'm reviewing this game knowing that they've been making Madden for 20 years. With that about of time and experience, some of what is on display here is inexcusable.

Graphics: I'm not sure what everyone's talking about, but this is the same engine we've seen for the last several years.
(A)The new weather effects are decent but nothing spectacular. You will not see field degredation beyond footprints, and the snow still seems fake to me.
(B) The grass is much different. On replays, though, it doesn't look nearly as good as it does from the default isometric angle. But if you buy games based on grass improvements, by all means spring for this one. It's certainly better looking than its competition like NFL blitz or All-pro 2k8.

Audio:
(A) The commentary is almost as awful as it has ever been in Madden in the last 10 years. Hammond, the play by play guy, sounds so fake it is hilarious. You will laugh at his comments, especially when he feigns emotion at a big tackle or says WHAT A HIT. Collinsworth, god bless him, tries his heart out to be natural, and he definitely puts in a great performance. The problem is that the designers didn't properly do the commentary system. Here, Collinsworth's comments -- I think every single one of them, actually -- is removed from the specifics of your game. He issues way too many general comments, such as, "That's really why the d-line is important" or whatever. It SOUNDS natural but it's so hollow and disconnected from your game. Also, there are prolonged periods (like 20 seconds) where Collinsworth won't say anything. He'll miss entire plays. The commentators will even not notice if you've kicked a dramatic OT winning field goal. They will simply say "The kick is up and good. And that's the end of our game." They then send you to John Madden to literally say "Well that was close! Thanks for joining us!"This kind of commentary does not belong in a next gen game with 20 years of experience.

(B) The backtrack feature, where Collinsworth uses a telestrator to point out play problems, is a bit broken. Sometimes on the PS3 it simply does not work (Collinsworth says nothing). Other times, he will recommend you do something worse than you did [e.g. throw into quadruple coverage instead of double coverage??]. However, usually, he's spot on. The most common backtracks will involve showing a defensive mismatch (e.g. playing the run when the offense is in passing formation) or showing a mistake by the QB in the event of sack or interception (involves pointing out an open receiver that should have been thrown to). I wish he could do more, but generally most backtracks will involve one of these two things. Still very cool.

Gameplay:
(A)Glaring issues: Why exactly do play actions still not work against the PC? Why are QB sneaks still money yards? Why is bootlegging so effective? Why are slant patterns so effective? Playing against another human makes most of these non issues and is a lot more fun.
(B) At least tackling is more fluid. Fewer canned animations. More freedom.
(C)Replay challenges are broken. Sometimes you cannot challenge plays. Sometimes the booth or you will review something, clearly it will be incomplete, but they will rule it a catch. It is remarkable, considering NFL 2k5 did this right three years ago on a smaller budget with less than 20 years of experience.
(D) No changes to superstar or franchise. $60 gets you new grass but no improvement to these critical modes?
(E) The much vaunted game that adapts to you is fundamentally a bad idea. People don't play games so that all their games are always close and hard to win. This is why Oblivion failed -- the player loses incentive to get better if all it does is make the AI cheat more to counter him.
Problem #1 - Madden test is broken. Pass defense drill is much harder than the others, which are very very easy.
Problem #2 - you can't use sliders to adjust the difficulty with it. Big problem for those who like to customize the difficulty.
Problem #3 - the game just cheats to 'adapt.' If you pass well, expect your wide outs to just drop balls for no reason. If you run well, expect your all star back to suddenly fumble a ton. It's not a feature, it's a problem, and it's comical that EA is advertising it as a big improvement.
(F) Online leagues are not good. It's more like an online round robin, not organized well at all. And there's even some lag to boot.
(G) Madden moments lets you relive key moments from last season...with 2008-2009 rosters and no special presentation. Snore.
(H) In multiplayer, on the couch, when you're trash talking and having fun, you can still have a really, really good time. But then again, you can do that with Madden 08. Or 07. Or 06. Or 05. I'd say pass on this one unless you're gunning for multiplayer, in which case you'll enjoy it -- but realize this is nowhere near as good as it should be.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2008
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
I wrote a review of Madden 08 on here last year so I'd thought I'd follow it up with a review of this years edition. Or should I say Madden 2000.9?

Now before you pass this off as a Madden-bashing review let me give you my qualifications. I bought every version of Madden from the Genesis all the way to Madden 05 on the PS2 (which I happen to believe is still the best version of Madden ever made) and then Madden 08 last year on the PS3. I have been a Madden fan since the first day I could get my hands on a three button Genesis controller and threw a pass to an open receiver in the window based passing back then.

So first lets start off with some nitpicking and EA's famous saying, "If it's in the game, it's in the game."

Here is what is not in the game:

*Once again, EA bought up the ESPN license a few years ago and they have yet to implement any ESPN presentation into the game like 2KSports did so well before EA got the exclusive license. The absence of any ESPN presentation in EA's flagship game certainly solidifies that EA's agreement with ESPN was an anti-competitive move.

*No on-field referees or chain gang on the sidelines. Two staples of football once again ommitted from the game. Sure they added unnecessary security guards and even more players and non-player personell on the sidelines, but the most important staples of the game are not there, even though they were there in versions prior to the current gen systems.

*Instant Replay challenges of sideline catches are still ridiculous. Every year whenever I challenge a sideline catch and a receiver has one foot clearly out, the call goes against me.

*Sideline animations - Yes there is a two feet in animation when you throw to a receiver near the sideline but if a WR's route takes him towards the sideline and you throw towards that receiver his animation more often than not will take him out of bounds and result in an incompletion. Unacceptable.

*Clock stopping on defensive penalties within 2 minutes of the half or 5 minutes at the end of game. I drove to my opponents 20 yard line with 20 seconds left, got an encroachment call on the defense, accepted the penalty and figuring the clock was stopped, I took my time selecting the next play, only to have the clock run out as I broke the huddle. Unless there is some new NFL rule regarding clock stoppage, this is a severe oversight.

*Stable playing surface. Where did EA get the playing surface model from? The old Veterans stadium? When viewing replays from the game, you can clearly see players feet sink below the playing surface on a dry gameday.

*NFL ice-capades. This is definitely still in the game, even with today's precision controllers. If you jump just a little with a DE pre-snap without encroaching, good luck getting him back even close to his original starting point. This is frustrating to say the least.

This so far might sound like petty griping but here is the thing, this Madden franchise has been around for 20 years now, it is the #1 selling football game and the only game on the market. These little details should have been long since addressed, yet they continue to resurface with every version of Madden.

EA is great at repackaging Madden every year with a new gimmick to make it look fresh. Anyone remember QB vision a few years ago? This year Madden IQ is the latest and greatest invention. What this IQ system does is evaluate your skill level and adjust the AI sliders accordingly to tailor the game for your set skill level. However this system completely replaces all the specific AI sliders that were available to players to adjust freely. There are some very general sliders that can still be adjusted but nothing like in years past.

I would be all for this IQ system if there was a way to turn it off and adjust multiple sliders to the specific way a player wants the game to run. Look, anyone who has played Madden for any extended amount of time knows exactly where they stand as far as skills in the game they don't need the game to tell them where they stand. Other human players will be sure to remind you of that.

What is the most irritating of this new system is you cannot adjust any sliders for an overcompensated AI. In the past I was able to tune down the AI QB accuracy and AI WR catching, especially when the AI's second string QB would complete 20 straight passes on me. The ability to adjust the sliders allowed for a more realistic simulation of the game.

Not anymore, unless you dumb down the generic sliders all the way, be prepared for the opposing AI QB to march down the field with Joe Montanaesque accuracy against every nickel and dime coverage you have in the playbook.

Now for the good:

The graphics are a nice improvement from last year. The stadium models are clean and the lighting effects are top notch. Though I think the player models seem a little more "stiff" from last year and it really often looks and feels like the players are running in mud compared to last year.

The branch animations have improved fairly well. Last year this feature was very impressive and this years crop of new animations improves on it. Well done!

The commentary is vastly improved. Gone is the radio announcer who I felt sounded like he was yelling into a tin can. And in his place is a new broadcast crew featuring Chris Collinsworth. As much as I despise Collinsworth on TV, he does an excellent job as color commentator in this years Madden.

The players models are properly proportioned for each postion.

There really is not a lot of good to report over last years version and that is unfortunately how little EA has went to inmprove the overall game experience. Madden 05 was the last year that EA truly innovated their game and brought a deeper experience to it's faithful fans. Is it any coincidence that was one the last years the 2K sports NFL game was around to push the EA team?

Next year, EA is going to have to show me something good in order for me to dole out any more money, paying for the same repackaged game. I've learned my lesson, 20 something years later....
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2008
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
Each year EA releases a new iteration of Madden, building on the previous year's game. I don't mind buying the game each year if the game is solid and a couple new features are added. Madden 09 is a great example of how a monopoly and lack of competition leads to mediocrity. Some key features are completely gone from the game. The accel clock option is gone, so ball control offense or realistic stats are only possible if you are willing to sit and do nothing for 20 seconds on each play. When playing on grass in the rain player uniforms get very dirty, but the field looks pristine throughout the game, though on replays the field deterioration is visible. Franchise mode has regressed, with player progression completely broken. Online play again suffers from critical glitches, from disconnects on last second field goals to a bug that allows a direct snap to the wide receiver, and automatic 5 yards on each play. Smaller problems include terrible camera angles in certain situations (on field goals the ball is often obscured by the scoreboard) and odd AI strategy. Although EA has eliminated some of the problems with last year's game, they have also introduced enough bugs and missing features to make Madden 09 a complete waste of time and money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2009
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
I'm surprised to see all the negative reviews for Madden 09, it plays a terrific game of football to me. My main beef with 08 was the choppy gameplay and that has been improved with 09's 60 FPS play on the PS3. The graphics are nicer and I like the commentary more than 08 as well. I learned many years ago that Madden is a much better value if you buy it one year behind, sure I won't have the latest rosters and features....but then I don't have to pay full price either.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2009
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
I've been playing this game since it came out. It wasn't that great of an addition for the series to begin with, but after less than 6 months the game jams after 10 minutes. It's not a scratch, it's not my PS3, it's a bug. And I have read many other reports of bugs like this. Perhaps EA thinks that this will have me buying Madden 10, but trust me, that is not the consumer reaction at this juncture.

Be warned if you pick up a used copy of this game that it likely has the bug as well.

As far as game play goes, there are absolutely no improvements in this version over previous ones. It's still painfully hard to rush the quarterback no matter how intense your DL. It's still ridiculously easy to run up the score with your passing game. Improving players in the dynasty game is now based on tedious practice sessions rather than once-a-year training camp, and the improvements are nominal.

And Chris Collinsworth's color commentary is muddy. I saw Madden call the 2009 superbowl--he's still got it so why not lend it to the series with his name on it? EA is shorting it's fans and be advised that someone else will come along and steal your market if you don't step it up!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2008
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
This is by far the worst Madden game I have ever played. First of all, the game play is choppy at best. Second, compared to other PS3 games, the graphics are terrible. Third and most annoying, you can't customize controls. The standard controls are amazingly different than any PS Madden game before. R2 for turbo, you've got to be kidding me. The run controls are absolutely horrible, with slow reaction time. On defense, switching players in mid play, or before is slow. With all the processing power in PS3, one would think that EA/Tiburon would have put some effort into making the core of this game better, instead of just surviving on the Madden Franchise name. The added elements are not worth it. I'm trading this game in tomorrow, and this seriously puts my future purchase of EA Sports games in jeopardy until they show me something worth while. Terrible job EA way to steal 60 bucks from everyone who was loyal to your titles.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2008
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
I'm tired of throwing my money for the same game year to year. The new PS3 version is good, not great. The graphics seem better as far as stadiums, players, crowds, however...

#2 pet peeve the interface menus, the scoreboard, info boxes, pop ups, stats, etc., all look like old non-streamlined graphics.

#1 pet peeve the frame rate is slow as heck, real jumpy, not smooth as I expected, this is clearly noticable. I'm like what is this? Geez! I haven't even gone online yet!

I must admit I am particular about these kind of things, but like madden for even PC 2007 were gorgeous the menus, the interface, the music as far as football music classics NFL films music, why the step down in a HUGE 20th anniversary year?

I think what EA continues to screw up is this they have certain parts of each version that are more brilliant than the others, why not copy the good stuff carry it over tweak everything until the game is near a 10. You don't have to come out with entirely different everything everytime. Stop working on 1000 man hours of new TD celebrations for the kids, tweak the good stuff this game should be a 9 or better everytime. This game is a 7/8 at best.

I hope my favorite NBA LIVE franchise steps up, but Madden gets so much more attention, and this is what they spit out, my hopes aren't up. Really disappointed. Rent it die hards before you throw your money away.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2008
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
There's not much to say when you review this game. If you've played the past iterations of Madden you know what you're in for this year. They have added some new features though.

First and foremost they introduced their new "My Skill" adjusting difficulty level. When you first jump into the game they'll have you do a few drills to set your initial skill level. These are four drills focusing on rushing, passing, rush defense, and pass defense and from those they will adjust your sliders for in game difficulty. It sounds really good in theory, except that the offensive drills are really really easy, and the defensive drills are significantly harder. From the people I've talked to almost universally people will score in the All-Madden range on offense and down around the pro range for defense. My recommendation is to purposely fail the tests and start initially with all your skills at rookie and let it adjust from there. The first few games will be jokes but then you won't be stuck running for a yard per carry against an All-Madden defense you aren't used too.

Second they added a Backtrack and Replay feature. Backtrack is a feature that after certain game changing plays they'll go back and diagnose what went wrong. I really like this and it's easy to skip if you don't. The Replay feature will let you go back and retry the last play, just a do over. You get a certain number of these per game. I don't think it's a bad deal, I choose not to use them but I can imagine that it's good for maintaining your sanity when you throw that really bad pass that shouldn't have been thrown.

Those are the two big additions to the game. The rest of it's just further polishing of the game as it was.

The graphics are pretty great. I haven't noticed any slowdown during gameplay yet and just a little bit when they are doing stadium flybys and such. They added a lot of little details, like the nets behind the field goal, and overall it's really just a beautiful game. The continue to improve the player animations and they are really good this year.

For commentary this year they switched out the commentators and now you have Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth. Tom Hammond has the personality of a dead fish but Collinsworth isn't too bad. Sometimes the things that they'll say don't really apply to the play that just happened, and that can get pretty annoying. Overall though I think it's an improvement over the commentary of last year. Madden still provides a little post game and halftime commentary.

As far as game stability that's really the only thing keeping me from giving this game 5 stars. I've crashed 3 times already at different points in the game and started to think maybe my disc was bad. A little research has shown me that a lot of people are having crashing problems. It's pretty bad after I have a good game and have the game crash before I can make it back to the menu and save.

Overall though, other then a few issues I think this years version of Madden is great and you can't do much wrong picking it up.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display: PlayStation 3Edition: Standard
Maybe my hopes were too high since this is the first Madden game I bought since getting a PS3, but I'm not just not overly impressed by anything in this game. The Graphics are very good, not great. The animations and physics especially on pass plays IMO are no better than Madden on the PS2. Gameplay is nothing special either. Is it a bad game? No. It's just a decent game that leaves a whole lot more to be desired.
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