(Authors Note: This review is based off the Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 versions of the game)
Ah Madden, like its little brother NCAA Football, it has had a long strange trip on current generation consoles. The stripped versions of Madden 06 and 07 that came to the XBOX 360 were travesties with most features gone and graphics that were at best HD versions of the players on the PS2. Madden 2008 began to rectify some of its older siblings problems, but like NCAA 2008, the PS3 version was trash compared to the 360 version.
This next paragraph is abit of a personal rant so skip it if you don't care. During the glory days of the football war, I still liked Madden over the 2K series. However, in the ironic twist of fate life loves to give us, with Madden now being the only gam in town it has sucked for quite awhile now. Madden 2004 is still my gold standard for football games and sadly its been downhill from there. With that out of the way, lets get on with it.
It's Madden. However, with this year come some new twists that EA will hype to make it seem the $60 you just spent was worth it. First is the Madden IQ test you take at the beginning when you boot up the game. This is supposed to have AI adjust to you as you play through out the game. In practice it means the first 5 or 6 games in Franchise mode you'll win 42-3 and the rest of the year you'll play against Superman and his 21 best friends. The Backtrack feature is actually pretty nice. It allows you to break down how you screwed up and replay it to see how you could have improved. The amount of presnap adjustments possible in this years game is mind boggling, definitely a welcomed addition. Also, defenses have been dumbed down severely this year. Something as simple as a crossing pattern can be broken as hell and lead to a 15 yard gain 9 times out of 10.
It took awhile, but all the good stuff from the last generation versions have finally gotten onto the PS3 and 360. Sadly Franchise and Superstar mode have not gotten any major improvements. In addition, surprisingly the online leagues feel abit tacked on and second class compared to the Online Dynasties of NCAA 09.
This is easily the best looking Madden to date. Both the PS3 and 360 versions are running at a very fluid 60 frames per second, with stadiums actually looking the part for once. However, the voice work leaves something to be desired. Madden and the in game announcer are pretty bad, while Cris Collinsworth does a respectable job as the color man.
Madden 2009 is a game of many ups and downs. For every gain it makes this year, with improved visuals, the Backtrack, and more user friendly, it takes two steps back. The fact Franchise and Superstar modes haven't recieved any improvements would be forgiven if the Online modes worked well, but that isn't the case.