Hands On with the Madden 11 E3 2010 Demo

Madden11_E3_4

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!

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7 Comments on Hands On with the Madden 11 E3 2010 Demo

Zen

On June 24, 2010 at 10:43 am

Why do they continue to ruin this game? Yeah I don’t want to call my own plays or anything. I like when games play themselves for me and I can just look at the pretty animations.
First they take away QB vision, then they change all the movement controls around and don’t give the option of classic controls. News flash: Analog stick is nice but digital button is better! Then they take away all the mini camps and the rushing attack drill so you can’t train with your guy(s). They add Madden IQ for the kiddos and give us this trainer that looks like a bad version OF TRON. They have taken away everything that took real skill to master. Rushing, passing, training, and now play calling. Now you don’t even have to know your playbooks! How about a Madden game like it was in 06-07? Where the human players’ own abilities determined the outcome of a game. This game is total crap now.

Ron Whitaker

On June 24, 2010 at 12:03 pm

The nice thing about the Gameflow is that you turn it off. It’s an option, so if you delight in calling your own plays, that option is still there as well.

Zen

On June 25, 2010 at 5:08 am

Yeah i know i did read the article lol. I just dislike that they waste space on the disc with all these new dumb dumb features that i have to go and turn off. Ever since 09 I have had a big chip on my shoulder with this game. They just made it so noobie IMO. There was no reason to change the movement and game physics like they did. I wouldn’t mind the changes but they took away all the game situation trainers, specifically the rushing attack, that drill made you good with specific players and their attributes. You could actually LEARN a players moves and be really good with them regardless of the play call.

I understand they want to make the game easier and reach a wider audience and make more money but come on, enough is enough. How about the players just learn the hard way like we all did, you lose your first dozen or so games until you learn how to move right and call/make plays lol.

Yeah i do like to call plays, crazy me I know. Calling your own plays in a football game, I must be stupid or something right? I like to change my packages around too lol. The most fun i had with madden was adlib plays, where you just funking make it work! You can use all the fancy features you want in game but sometimes you just got to make a play with your skills ya know? Oh crap they sniffed us out, ok hero time! Enough menu based skills FFS, PLAY FOOTBALL!

oh and Chris Collinsworths voice is really annoying, but he’s gone now?

Zen

On June 25, 2010 at 5:12 am

Kiddie feature man, makes it easier for lil kids to play. Even though they would pick up the game fast anyway cuz they’re kids. Just make smaller controllers for their lil hands and BOOM no need for software based skills like “gameflow”. I will be turning that off immediately.

Patrick

On June 25, 2010 at 9:12 am

The first thing I will be doing after buying this game will be turning off gameflow. And how is the defense in this years game? It seems like EA always adds new offensive features and forgets about the defense.

mike

On June 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm

EA sucks. This game gets worse and worse every year. And with talk of defense this year I can only expect that It’s another offensive arcade game. I’m done with Madden. I’ve won enough tournaments and had my fun. No more wasting money on this pathetic excuse of a football game. BTW, is it me or does everyone always say the same stuff every year. Best Madden yet, better graphics, and even more offense. Lame. I’ll stick with Call of Duty and Halo.

micheal west

On July 5, 2010 at 1:48 pm

so if you turn of game flow,,wouldnt it be a waste of 65$$ because thats the only new feture