Madden NFL 2010 (Wii) Review

By John Boyle 23.09.2009

Review for Madden NFL 2010 on Wii

You can say many things about yearly sporting updates, but it's hard to level any criticisms against the Madden franchise, which yearly sits easily as the most accomplished sports game on any console. The Wii presented a unique opportunity for innovation within the genre for Madden and previous titles continued the family tradition as Madden sat as not only the best sports game on the console but one of the most complete games in any genre, giving that polished EA feel which is sadly lacking in most Wii titles.

The first thing that'll strike you is the visual style, which forgoes the PS2 style visuals of previous attempts in favour of chunky cartoonish figures. In the close-ups they look fantastic, far away slightly less so, but instead of looking dated it looks more like a retro throwback, deliberately dated instead of constrained by hardware. More polish is definitely needed but it's a massive step in the right direction, combining the All Play feel with the deeper Madden gameplay. Beyond that, more changes have been made from last year with the aim of moving slightly closer to the All Play-ification of the franchise on Wii.

The one button and motion control is back and this year get attention in the form of new game modes that fully utilise the controls. Madden Showdown is the star here, taking you and friends into arcade style games against each other (5 or 11 each side) with fully customisable settings (invisible players, fumbling diseases on players) and a betting mechanic. Betting can be on who wins, most passing yards/rushing yards, etc., and can make for some intense gaming as the two who are playing against each other have the two who have bets riding on it cheering/booing next to them. A sweet feeling is losing every game but being the smart betting man and emerging victorious - prepare to lose friends rapidly though.

Other new modes pale in comparison: Huddle Up gives the second player a cursor to knock down opponents whilst the other player does the real game (younger sibling friendly mode) and the final new mode is 'Road to the Superbowl', which is a co-operative season for you and friends around a console. The idea is you can play a full season, half season or the playoffs with friends and the challenge is to play as well as possible to avoid being benched. If you are benched your friends can spend the points they accumulated by doing well in game to get you off the bench and back in, a bit like using star power to get a band mate back in in Guitar Hero. There are a couple of issues with this mode however, the main one being how tough it is to do badly. You can sit the controller down and the game will automate your initial run from the play, meaning you lose zero points, you have to actively mess up your route to lose points. There are also no drafts, trades, training, or stat tracking during season a la Franchise mode, as it's just a collection of individual games and a league table. It promotes the ease of dropping in and out with friends but with it being tough to get benched all it does is make it a glorified local game. Local Madden games are as fun as they've ever been, but the mode could have been so much more.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 2010 on Wii

The other modes are still present, but with nothing changed from last year the more serious Madden players may feel slightly aggrieved that they've had no attention this year. Well-loved modes such as Franchise and Superstar are not even available right from the start and have to be unlocked. The controls continue this theme with the changes designed to make the game more accessible but the issues that affected last year not being addressed. Spotlight moments are triggered at key moments (3rd down, long pass, fumble) and is a mini game that determines the outcome. Hammering a button, moving your cursor to a point in the screen and accompanying dramatic camera work is supposed to heighten the tension. All it does, however, is get boring pretty quickly and become the quick time event of the sporting world. Defensively All Play now lets you automate blocking and defensive duties with a point and click of the a button, but the point and passing feature of last year still has issues with aiming for the right receiver and the motion sensing for direction passing can have issues with registering when you flail wildly making your quarterback being sacked a regular occurance. Along with path running having the same glitches as last year when creating your own plays on the fly with 'Call Your Shots', it's easy to sit as a player wanting to play deep single player Madden and feel distinctly left out.

If this were a review for the N64 or the Gamecube the traditional part of the review which extols the virtue of four control ports on a console as local multiplayer gaming has no parallel would be upon us. The joys of Wii means that most people do have the means for four player fun and as such Madden 10 could find an audience on the console. Madden has always been fun to play crammed with your friends on your sofa with beer and the new game modes serves to enhance that feeling. Slap on All Play so you don't have to mess around with dozens of plays to choose from and enjoy flashbacks to the 16-bit glory era of Madden, where multiplayer mayhem resided solely with the American football sim.

Beyond multiplayer, however, Madden has stood perfectly still and for a series which relies on yearly updates this isn't really acceptable. The poor attention paid to franchise mode combined with the same issues as last year cropping up once again forces Wii users to ask the question: "Could I get a better experience on PS3/Xbox 360?" The answer is emphatically yes, with the online franchise mode truly advancing the genre. In choosing to go a different route from its bigger brothers the longevity of the title must be called into question and it's debatable whether in six months the game will still be spinning in Wii consoles, as it goes without saying it's the single player which has always offered the depth and challenge in Madden. It's a real shame as the changes this year serve to make half of the game a hell of a lot of fun; if the same care and imagination had been paid to the solo player then the end of this review would have been glowing. As it is we must end with a caveat: only buy if you have friends interested.

Screenshot for Madden NFL 2010 on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


Madden 10 takes the series down yet another new route on the Wii, moving down a local multiplayer route and all but abandoning single player depth and complexity. If you have three friends who love the sport then Madden 10 will be great fun, but the single player portion has been ignored this year to the degree where it'll be extremely interesting to see if it'll be present at all in Madden 11. As such the game as a whole doesn't represent a particularly impressive package and should only be considered if you are either craving an American football game and don't own a 360/PS3, or if you need a multiplayer sports game for the console.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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