Hands On with the Madden 11 E3 2010 Demo
One of my personal passions is NFL football. I spend far too much time playing fantasy football and watching games Sunday every fall. As such, Madden is a franchise that I follow rather closely. So it should be no surprise that I was excited to get my hands on Madden 11, the latest iteration of EA Sports’ NFL franchise, at E3 last week.
At first glance, Madden 11 has been improved graphically. Player animations look smoother than last year’s version, and the stadiums and environments mirror reality almost exactly.
While that’s a nice addition, this year’s Madden isn’t really about new graphics. The focus of the E3 demo this year was the new Gameflow system. In the past, you could spend more time in your playbook searching for the perfect play than you did actually playing the game. Gameflow is EA Sports’ attempt to change that dynamic.
So, how does it handle?
Picking up the controller, I immediately liked the feel of Gameflow. If you’re using Gameflow, playbook screens are a thing of the past. Instead, the game picks plays for you, choosing plays that your NFL team would use in the situation you’re in.
Instead of the playbook, you see the paths and art for the play that’s been chosen on the screen. You’ll also hear the voice of your coach giving you tips on the chosen play. The D-pad is now the strategy pad, giving you the ability to tweak your play, much like the Playmaker options in past Madden games. Calling audibles and sending players in motion also feels much simpler than before.
The first thought I had when Gameflow was described to me was that it would take too much control away from the players, or that it might be OK for novice players, but not for experienced Madden junkies. However, now that I’ve gotten my hands on it, I’m not sure this is the case. After all, the system is tailored to call plays that the coach of your chosen team would call in similar situations.
Gameflow is an option, so if you’re more into calling your own plays, you can simply turn the playbook option on and you’ll be right back into classic Madden play calling. I’ll add this as an incentive to give a try: Gameflow cuts the time spent playing a game just about in half.
Gameflow isn’t the only new feature. As you’ve no doubt heard prior to this, EA has brought in Gus Johnson as the new voice of the series. If you’re not familiar with Gus Johnson, come out from under your rock and go check out the YouTube clip of him saying that Chris Johnson has “getting away from the cops speed.”
All in all, I was impressed with Madden 11. The graphical upgrade is nice, but the Gameflow system feels very smooth, and is well implemented. I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with Madden 11 once it hits stores August 10.
Check out our full Madden NFL 11 Review!