My belly is painted, I am wearing ridiculous afro, and I am doing the wave in anticipation of the arrival of everyone's favorite obese, turducken laden, football franchise. Madden NFL 09 is ready for kickoff. I know, I hate myself for using the obligatory turducken reference, but it would not be a Madden preview without one...
As with every Madden released in the last ten years, Madden 09 is not an update, as much as a revision of last years game. The winning formula of fat oily men, rubbing up against each other and grabbing in places that would make a rapist cringe, remains very much the same. So how can Electronic Arts bring life to something that has been the same for over twenty years? The answer is the new Madden IQ feature.
Madden IQ consists of a series of minigames, testing each player's abilities and skills, allowing for the AI to create a custom balanced difficulty level. Gone are the days of playing offense, only to simulate your defensive possession. These customized settings should provide challenging, yet enjoyable gameplay for people of all experience levels. From my overall experience thus far, everything seems to be spot on and the computer is hard, but at the same time hasn't made me want to throw my controller through a window in disgust.
Visuals have once again been given another layer of spit shine, achieving a level of polish that would make Vince Lombardi do a double take. As part of those changes, a large overhaul has been done to the environmental systems, allowing for weather to have a greater effect on the the players on the field. If you are playing in the rain, players will start to slip and fall as the field deteriorates to near unplayable conditions.
The scoreboard has also been moved to the middle of the screen, which is a huge difference from last years buggy score ribbon. It is a welcome change that frees up more of the screen for playing the actual game.
The play-by-play commentary seems to also been vastly improved upon. The crappy radio announcer from the last two seasons has been replaced by Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth. There seems to be a genuine camaraderie between the two announcers, that is displayed in the interlocking dialog trees, never before seen in a Madden game.
There is a lot more to be said about improvements from last year, so be ready for the full review coming soon.
Below is a trailer for Madden NFL 09, featuring the Madden IQ: