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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Here’s the soundtrack for NBA 2K11

Today, 2K announced the track list for NBA 2K11, which is going to have Jordan on the cover. Behold, the music:

* 1. Snoop Dogg – NBA 2K Theme
* 2. Big Boi – Shutterbug
* 3. Drake – Over
* 4. Cassidy – Game Time
* 5. Ron Artest – Champion
* 6. Duck-Down All-Stars feat. Buckshot, Skyzoo, Promise, and Sean Price – Better Than You
* 7. The Alan Parsons Project – Sirius
* 8. Art vs. Science – Hollywood
* 9. Big Rock Candy Mountain – Rocketship
* 10. Brunettes – Red Rollerskates
* 11. Chicharones – Little By Little
* 12. Children Collide – Skeleton Dance
* 13. Constellations feat. Asher Roth- We’re Here To Save The Day
* 14. Dan Black feat. Kid Cudi – Symphonies (Remix)
* 15. Delorean – Deli
* 16. Ev – Home Of The Brave (Instrumental)
* 17. Failsafe – Hope & Only If We Learn
* 18. HOGNI – Bow Down
* 19. Kidz In Space – Downtime
* 20. Middleman – It’s Not Over Yet
* 21. Rakaa feat. Aloe Blaac – Crown Of Thorns
* 22. The Redland – So Far
* 23. The Russian Futurists – Paul Simon & Precious Metals
* 24. Sonny Bones – Rise
* 25. Two Door Cinema Club – I Can Talk
* 26. Yung Autmatik & Bayroot Productions – Go Hard or Go Home
* 27. Dux Jones – Pourin’ It On

I bolded the Ron-Ron track for fans of the defending champs. You guys will get to enjoy the music, and perhaps play a little hoops, when the game comes out Oct. 5.

First impressions: NCAA Football 10 (360)

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I had a lot of Erin Andrews in my life over the weekend. Not because I wanted to simply ogle the ESPN sports reporter some have dubbed the “Sideline Princess,” but because she’s a central part of one of the game’s more intriguing features — the Road to Glory. It’s a takeoff of last year’s Road to the Heisman and the college football franchise’s long-standing equivalent to Madden’s career / superstar mode.

The premise is that EA (the woman, not the company) has picked you to be part of her special series, which aims to follow the path of a student-athlete and his accomplishments from his last days of high school to the time he leaves college. It has a kind of Hoop Dreams sentiment to it, but with more flashing lights and graphics. You obviously have to suspend reality a bit here, since we’re talking about four to five years of work, and this is the kind of stuff that usually shows up in dramatic documentary form after the fact. Also, a lot can happen in that time: What if you stink up the joint and never start a game in your life? Hell, what happens if you’re completely average? In the real world, you probably wouldn’t be worth a story.

At some point, I want to see how Road to Glory handles a clearly unglorious prospect. Perhaps one day we’ll see a concept of building a player in college who is “followed” by Andrews or any other sports reporters from the first time he steps on the field (NCAA Football) to the day he retires from the NFL (Madden), culminating in some sort of retrospective report. It adds a bit of role-playing, something I think can be undervalued in the world of sports games. Imagine having your path from college walk-on to NFL superstar chronicled in a larger scale sports fantasy series. Just a thought.

Anyway, the following are some random musings from a weekend with EA:
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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.