It’s time to ask that eternally burning question that no matter how many times we ask it we all know what the answer is going to be but I will ask it anyway “Are you ready for some football?” That’s the question being answered all over the country right now as gamers flock out to pick up the latest installment in the iconic Madden franchise, Madden NFL 10. There are a lot of great changes in this year’s Madden and you can tell that EA really put a lot of work into this one as they made a major PR push and had advertising all over the place leading up to the game’s release. I have been playing Madden since 1992, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly that this franchise has had to offer and I will say that Madden 10 may be the biggest single leap as far as overall improvement from year to year that I have ever seen in the history of the series.
There are several changes to Madden this year and to do them all justice let’s break this down by sections.The Passing Game
This year’s passing game is much more realistic than we have ever seen before and that may be due to the fact that EA decided that pretty much every major category in Madden needed to be more detailed. What I mean by this is that quarterbacks don’t simply have a Throwing Power and a Throwing Accuracy rating anymore, no this year they have separate ratings that relates to accuracy of short passing, deep passing, play action and throwing on the run. You have to pay attention to what your quarterbacks strengths are, so if you are looking for someone to throw a great deep ball you might think of a guy like Jay Cutler but when you take his Throw Power+Deep Pass ratings you find out that the best deep ball thrower in the game is the man himself, Tom Brady. While Jamarcus Russell has the best Throw Power and Drew Brees has the best Deep accuracy, neither combine both aspects to do it better than Brady.
Lots of people may notice that they are having more trouble than normal completing passes this year and if that’s you then you need to ask yourself a very important question, “Are you in still in the pocket?” This year more than ever staying in the pocket is crucial to maintaining accuracy, so while scrolling out of the pocket on every play like some people I know may still work, you will definitely see a lack of accuracy if you’re not in the pocket. I liken this to the QB vision feature we saw a few years ago, though a less intrusive way of keeping players to play like the real NFL players would. The ability to put the right amount of touch on the ball has been improved allowing you to drop in those sweet over the shoulder lobs that we always “see on Sundays”. This year it’s not so much about timing a play as paying attention to your receivers, what I mean is that in past iterations you could basically run some pass plays and it was pretty much guaranteed that it would work, while I am not saying that there aren’t those plays in this year’s game I will say they are fewer and far between.
If I had one big problem with the passing game it would be tipped passes, they seem to hang in the air forever. Lots of times I will be watching a tipped ball hang for what seems like minutes before it actually hits the ground, it adds some suspense but sometime you are like just hit the ground already. Overall, I think the passing game is much improved and more realistic than we have seen in years past and while a part of me hates not really being able to always hit my WR on my favorite post plays, I think that the fact that you can’t really count on that makes you a better player in the end and forces you to go through your progressions like a real QB.