Madden NFL 2011 Review: Never Take Football For Granted

Madden NFL 2011 bursts into the fields with an ultimate power that is insurmountable in terms of improvements in graphics, gameplay, announcer dialogue, incredible animations and most of all action and emotion. Madden NFL 2011 aims for what you see on Sunday, you see in Madden approach, and it is an approach that proves worthy to the confines of the gameplay and the action of the field calling plays. While Madden NFL 2011 has its fair share of issues which include Ultimate Team Mode as an unmemorable addition to the game while having issues of offensive linemen as being less responsive. Nevertheless, Madden NFL 2011 is one of the best titles of the game series to date and is sure to please footballers around the world.

Gameplay in the Madden NFL series has always focused on the informative quickplay books and trying to memorize dozens of plays like an actual NFL coach. EA Tiburon by default has decided to shift away from the complexity of memorizing multiple plays per scenario and introduces a revolutionary new engine feature eloquently dubbed “GameFlow.” GameFlow enables players to make calls within the press of a button for casual football players, but the option to have Conventional gameplay is still available. In terms of actual scenarios, GameFlow makes intuitive decisions to make plays based on distance and most importantly game situation. There are some issues present in terms of GameFlow and just how intuitive it can be. Draw moves and screens of certain areas are called frequently, thereby making it seem that the A.I. can easily figure out your gameplay moves. The variety is there, but the actual diversity is lacking in terms of the unpredictability of an actual Coach and his calls. Regardless, Madden NFL 2011’s GameFlow is an exciting addition that allows casual gamers to experience the game and the actual drama while still feeling like a part of the technical accomplishment of a play.

Game planning is definitely incredible from GameFlow and to further changes including A.I. and other changes that effect the action. A.I. is definitely more improved from previous titles, where certain cornerbacks could not follow slant routes properly. Increasing the difficulty leads to a very tough game that requires less big plays and more minute plays to increase the action and get that touchdown. The offensive linemen are more vigilant in terms of blocking runs during plays and making it easier for your linebacker to follow the play path to the goal. The only sad part about this newfound change in A.I. leads to a lot of technical issues. Linemen sometimes try to block any player that is too far to be a threat to you as a quarterback and are immobile sometime altogether. While linemen are realistic during every single play, there is also more of an issue with the technical bugs which can hopefully be patched later on.  Despite this, running mode is incredible and everyone feels like a part of the team.

Madden NFL 2011 takes notable improvements to the Franchise Mode, which was incredible in Madden NFL 2010 but needed minor improvements which should have been addressed through a patch, but have now just shown up in this new title release. There is a new Rookie Draft Class that reveals the classes have been recreated from scratch with 8000 new rookies. Contract Values were an issue to Franchise Mode players due to there being a gap between intermediate Role Players being more incrementally expensive compared to their average pass-catch ratio than someone who had incredible gameplay statistics and a lower ratio in comparison, something which ends up being inconsequential on the field.

The Madden NFL series has always found its birth in being the first realistic football simulation title that introduced the world to online gameplay with something as cultural as football. Madden NFL 2011 is all about the online gameplay and continues this exciting trend. Cooperative action gives players the ability to group with each other and control specific players or parts of the team. While this is complicated in essence, it is an easy and relatively fun concept for two minds to come together rather than it feeling like you have full control. In contrast to NFL Head Coach, Madden NFL 2011 cooperative online play allows players to share the calls, which in reality many plays are made through the coach and his advisors.  Further online game modes include the Madden NFL 2010 released Ultimate Team mode, a mode offered as DLC which allows players to create their own team and then receive random players to add to the roster. The goal is simple: make this team the ‘Ultimate Team’ of the playoffs. This mode, while interesting for the fantasy football roster, seems too artificial with the coins and this random collection of players seems too informal to even begin getting better players for the roster or unlock a new MVP.

Presentation within the gameplay is complemented with incredible sportscaster commentary that is improved and revitalized. Commentary is led by Gus Johnson and the exciting Cris Collinsworth has been refined and polished to call out run-blocks and incredible goals with excitement depending on the event, and even the type of weather difficulty on the field. The audio of the crowd has also been improved which includes team-specific chants and more Super Bowl energy. Visually, Madden NFL 2011 is the best looking game of all the titles in the series and one of the best looking football games on any console to date. The improved broadcast style animations make Madden NFL 2011 feel more dynamic and alive than ever before. Madden NFL 2011 has increased the amount of vibrance and sheer energy of the presentation that makes it one of the best finely refined football title to date.

Madden NFL 2011 is simply one of the best titles of the Madden NFL series, but might come off as geared to mainstream NFL fans than hardcore gaming veterans.  The action is lively, the voice dialogue is unforgettable, and the new GameFlow mode adds a necessary expansion into the action on the field than in the interface of playbooks. The commentary by Gus Johnsonn and Emmy winning Cris Collinsworth makes the presentation feel lively while the crowd has more purpose and feeling. Despite problems with the linemen at the call line and Ultimate Team mode as being a little difficult to handle with the coins system, Madden NFL 2011 has a lot of excitement that players around the world will be invested in. Mainstream NFL fans will love Madden NFL 2011 more so as a lot of the features seem geared to casual gamers, but hardcore fans will equally still enjoy it even though it might leave them wanting something more, as every year there always is something that can be improved. As 2011 begins, one thing is clear: Madden NFL 2011 is an incredible football experience with notable achievements in presentation, and style that players every year take for granted. Not this time.

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