Review: Madden NFL ’11

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Pro football and the Madden game franchise have been part of the same sports/pop culture fabric for more than two decades. You don’t spend that kind of time together without learning how to evolve.

The real thing has witnessed the growth of ideas like the West Coast Offense, spread formation and defensive schemes. The games have withstood everything from passing windows to passing cones to the ProTak animation system.

But in the end, it’s still about how good the football is, and in the case of “Madden NFL 11,” some of it’s better than it’s been in years.
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EA hails the Redskins (and Madden ’11) with McNabb pics

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EA Sports doesn’t waste any time. Not long after the news broke of quarterback Donovan McNabb being traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redskins (and joining forces with Mike Shanahan, apparently the Mr. Miyagi for aging QBs) the makers of the upcoming Madden NFL ’11 sent out some photos featuring Mac 5 in Redskins colors. It’s also a timely way to keep Madden 11′s sense of improved detail in the consciousness to those members of the football-starved public who can’t find solace in either baseball season or the coming NBA postseason.

Because I don’t want to leave him out in this talk of trades and transactions, here’s a photo of former Arizona Cardinals pass-catcher Anquan Boldin, who was acquired by the Baltimore Ravens during the offseason.

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Both of these photos not only show hints of pretty exquisite player detail in the game to come, but also two teams that have had better offseasons than my squad, the Pittsburgh Steelers. McNabb will be playing for vengeance. Boldin, the man who came back to play weeks after breaking his whole face, now joins the Ray Lewis crew. Our QB? Battling rape accusations and is in the position of soiling the reputation one of the league’s proudest franchises. I hope Dennis Dixon’s ratings are solid.

Tecmo Super Bowl is BACK

…on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN this spring according to Tecmo, and will be called Tecmo Bowl Throwback.

It will be based off of the SNES release, Tecmo Super Bowl, and will feature “old school” and “new school” graphics. On top of being a visual remake of the game, it will also come with a number of newfangled features such as online leaderboards and online multiplayer.

In addition to Mega Man and Sonic going retro, it’s just as fitting for this classic to hit the pixels in the same way. It’ll be interesting, though, to see whether the AI has also undergone a few tweaks.

Here are a few screens showing both modes that the game will have to help show off your HD TV

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OK, stop staring. More Madden ’10 stuff.

The art director for the new Madden ’10 breaks down the depth-of-field concepts that people are going to see in the EA football titles. It’s a pretty good breakdown, but there’s a lot of it, so check it out when you have time.

There’s even a nice shot of a revamped Ben Roethlisberger of the world champion Pittsburgh Steelers to display improved character models.

Madden ’10 screenshot: Stare!!

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This is a shot from Madden ’10, courtesy of Peter Moore’s blog. Moore, as you may know, is the president of EA Sports, so naturally, he’s going to be effusive in his praise for the game. In fact, he feels so good about it that he’s challenging readers to gaze upon the above screenshot and see if they can detect the improvements.

I’m tempted, of course, but I’ll pass. One thing I’ve learned about screenshots: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but if the game moves like crap, those words aren’t going to be worth much.

Moore also expounds a little bit on the “fight for every yard” theme of this edition of the game, which leads me to think EA might go with another tailback (Peterson?) or a really physical receiver (Ward? Anquan Boldin, he of the reconstructed face?) on the cover.

Anyway, have fun staring at the shot.