– Run… Run as far away as you can from Madden. For those of you that haven’t had a chance to try out the demo here’s what you get.
You are presented with a “test” to determine your skill level for Madden.
The first series of tests that you are presented with determine your ability to run the ball. You begin with two blockers and have to score a touchdown from about 40 yards out. As you succeed with each “level,” you have to deal with more CPU defenders. Out of the 20 tests, I failed one. It is INCREDIBLY easy to avoid these defenders, as your blockers will do almost everything for you. Just use the juke stick to the left or right and you will find it very difficult to be caught as you score a TD on every play.
My rating for the Running game put me right at the top of the All Madden category.
Next up was the Passing test. If you complete a pass, you succeed each level. I had a few tipped passes by the defensive backs, so I ended up at the All Pro difficulty for this one.
Onto the defensive side. Here’s where you can see that the AI totally falls apart in Madden… but still manages to give the advantages to the CPU. The rushing defensive test gives you one of two defenders as you attempt to tackle a ball carrier. They have 2 blockers running in front of them, but here’s the best part… only one of them cares to block for the running back.
The play begins and the back runs to the left (or right, it didn’t really matter.) The blocker to his left would run with him for a bit, playing the part of the lead blocker, while the other blocker seemed like he wanted to be a second lead blocker before he just ran straight downfield. The CPU controlled defender would then either run into the lead blocker that stuck with the runner or attempt (and never succeed) to tackle the runner. If you guessed the direction that the play was going as the runner started, you then may have a chance to tackle the runner…. but it seemed to be primarily luck that would govern whether you might be able to get yourself into position to make a play. Even when I did get to the runner though he would, without fail, spin away from my tackle attempt and run on into the end zone.
At this point, I was actually laughing out loud. The actions of the secondary blocker for the running back show you that the CPU AI for the game is broken… before you actually get to play it. Talk about a time saver.
Next up was the passing defense test. They put you in the role of a LB or a DB in order to try and force an incompletion. The funny thing is that I saw at least one instance where I allowed an 8 yard completion, but still got a passing grade for that particular test. Then on the next play, they made a 2 yard completion where I knocked them out of bounds… and failed the test.
I tried to play the Madden situation (as Dan mentioned before, it’s the Giants versus the Pats with less than 2:00 to go in the Superbowl) mode a couple times after the test, but I just couldn’t top the enjoyment of the Madden IQ test. Seriously, that’s the most I’ve laughed at a football game.
– Next up was the Facebreaker demo.
I’d love to try and be witty and give a colorful description of this demo. I would try to write about how the various fighters are all kinds of nutty stereotypes or how they have interesting locales to fight in such as, “The Trailerpark,” but I think we’re all better served to just avoid EA’s attempt to try and make a horribly simplified fighting game with an absolutely awful control scheme.
Seriously, if this is the company that we have to rely on for the future of sports games… the genre is doomed. The genre that we loved, while growing up, has hit an all time low. I just hope that somehow it will be able to recover.
It’s just so funny to me that games like MLB Power Pros get so many things right, but are discarded by the masses because of their appearance. Where as games like Madden sell millions of copies and don’t provide anything other than total and complete exasperation to a sports gaming fan.
I just don’t know what else to say…