Tuesday, August 09, 2005

EA Screws You

Today is the day. The day that the latest edition of Madden’s football video game franchise is released. No doubt there will be millions of people picking it up and I, unfortunately, am one of those people. This is the first year I will be buying Madden since Madden ’94 came out for the Super Nintendo.

Every other football game that I’ve bought has been from the Sega 2K or ESPN series or for fun football games like Blitz or Street. This year, however, since EA basically bought the NFL there are no alternatives to Madden. They are the only game on the block so if you want a 2006 football game, you have to buy Madden, which is really too bad since last year I thought ESPN football was the superior product, especially with the $20 price tag it had.

Now if you want a football game you have to throw down $50, bend over for EA, and listen to them laugh as they steal your money. So what convinced me to grab my ankles for the evil empire of the gaming industry? I love football.

Once I heard that EA had bought an exclusive license to the NFL and NFLPA, I was sad that there would be no competition, but I was also scared that for the next 10 years, since Madden would be the only NFL game on the market that EA would take the easy way out and just churn out the same game each year with new rosters and half-assed new features.

It turns out I was right. I read a bunch of reviews online and it seems like EA didn’t do too much for this year’s iteration. They added two new big features, one being pointless and the other a pain in the ass. The only thing that appears to be good that was added was the precision passing, which is a very small addition.

For the most part, this is Madden ’05 with new rosters and crappy new features. The broken franchise mode is still broken. The AI is basically the same. The animations are mostly all the same. The audio is mostly all the same. EA didn’t really do much at all for this release and they’ll be raking in the cash because there is going to be no competition.

I think these two quotes from two separate reviews sum up most people’s feelings on the new features and the new game:
OK, so there's a lot you can do in the superstar mode. But where does it all lead? The answer, unfortunately, is nowhere of consequence. Because the superstar mode is laid out in a similar way to the franchise mode, every little thing is handled with text menus, conversational minigames, and play modes--like the minicamp games, for instance--that exist elsewhere in the game. While this works all well and good for a management simulation like the franchise mode, managing the life of a superstar seems like it ought to be a flashier affair. And even within the confines of what the mode offers, it still comes across as hackneyed and not realistic in the slightest. --Gamespot

That said, it was only a matter of time before the streak had to end. Madden NFL 06 could very well be remembered as the game that didn't improve enough over its counterpart -- and for the first time in years, became a little less fun to play. --IGN

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