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First of all, huge props to EA for being the first sports game that I know of to ever release a demo featuring a full game, 5 minutes, 4 quarters. It is almost August time which mean it’s almost Madden time which means it’s time for a Madden demo that makes me ooze absolute excitement about the game. Every year this happens, and this year is no different.
First change you see in Madden 11 is the new kicking system. Instead of using the right stick, you now have a bar that on one side says “power” and on the other side says “accuracy.” You then use A to set your power and accuracy via a meter that goes in and out. At first, this change was a little daunting as I had no idea what in the world I was doing but once you actually think about it for a second, it makes much more sense and you come to feel much more comfortable with it. It’s a nice improvement to a feature that has been the same for many years.
Most people in this crazy world really enjoy Chris Collinsworth. I for one found him infuriatingly stupid last year and although he’s still here, I’m glad they introduced a new announcer, Gus Johnson, that is really “bringing the energy.” He has many more lines than Collinsworth and every time he (Gus Johnson) speaks, he sounds so excited to be doing what he’s doing. And to hear him repeatedly try and say Indianapolis Colts’ receiver, Pierre Garcon’s name, is hilarious.
The biggest addition to this year’s Madden is the addition of “GameFlow” mode. Where, once you start to go up to the line of scrimmage, be it on offense or defense, you can press A and have the coach immediately pick a play for you. I’m one of those players that have always selected whatever Madden recommended so I was really excited about this feature though I was a bit scared that the coach may be a little stupid and call terrible plays each time.
Luckily, it’s the exact opposite. There was a few times where I was thinking “Maybe this coach is a little too smart.” Where he would occasionally guess when the Colts were about to do a screen, or run the ball on 3rd and 8. Most people do not do that, so how could he actually guess it in a real game? It all works out well in the end as, if your coach does correctly guess a screen, the team will more than likely audible out of it. Or maybe that was because I was playing against the audible-happy Colts.
Similar to NCAA Football 11, Madden 11 feels much more fluent. The running back runs very smoothly and the blockers have a certain design to them that makes them not look and feel stiff like they have in previous years. If I had one main complaint about this demo, it’s that they still have those terrible button mashing sequences when you fumble. Those things are atrocious. I want them out of my Madden.
I’m a sucker for a new Madden. I fully recognize that there’s never an incredible “drastic” change but the small changes that are made only encourage me to buy the new version and I’m sure that’s exactly what I’m going to do with this one.
You can download the Madden 11 demo on PSN/XBL now.