Review: Madden NFL 10 (Wii)August 14th, 2009 | Written by Danreb Victorio | Topic: Reviews, Wii
One would think that Madden NFL 10 and the Wii would be an absolute match in heaven due to the cash cows they’ve proven to be over the years, but Electronics Arts has really made an earnest attempt to make the Wii versions of their football sim to stand out from their HD counterparts. The result is a game that doesn’t know whether it’s a casual football sim or an arcade game, and this has simply been the case for way too long.
EA Sports made some strides with the Wii’s casual audience last year thanks to Madden NFL 09’s All-Play features. This year, the developers have sort of made those features more robust and more accessible thanks to their newly established fetish with the Wii’s motion sensitive on-screen cursor. Thanks to this, the game has sort of become a point-and-shoot game with a few buttons thrown in for good measure.
On the offensive side of the ball, pressing A while pointing the cursor at an open receiver will have your quarterback automatically throw the ball to that receiver. Of course, when you don’t have a big TV, it can be rather annoying. You can still do it the old way by holding the appropriate button on the Wii Remote or Nunchuck and then doing a throwing motion, but the latter is much easier to do.
When carrying the ball, the game remains as it’s always been, with jukes and stiff arms mapped to certain button presses and preset waggle commands. There’s no feeling or life in this part, but if you’re lucky enough to have a friend play co-op Madden with you, there’s a mode in the game where your friend can take control of a lead blocker and pave the way for a successful run. While it definitely makes things easier, it makes them too easy because each successive attempt at hitting an oncoming tackler usually always ends up with him on his back, and scoring touchdowns becomes overly easy.
Speaking of overly easy, players also have the ability to play 5-on-5 football. It’s a weird concept, but with the change in the amount of players on the field, stadiums become much less extravagant, and gone are special teams. It ends up being like a game of NFL Street because of the lack of options, but when you’re playing against other human-controlled players, it’s actually a pretty interesting experience.
When it comes to the user-friendly controls, this year’s edition of Madden is pretty robust to those who have never played any football in the form of a video game before. However, for the Madden enthusiasts who have had the patience to follow the Wii version of the game year after year, the control scheme will once again will take some getting used to. This is really disheartening because it’s easy to see that EA Sports is putting up a concerted effort at making this game accessible to anybody—since that’s what the Wii is for, but what it fails to realize is that this controller isn’t appropriate for hardcore players. Nintendo and a whole bunch of other developers have made it possible to use the GameCube or even the Classic Controller add-on to use on certain games on the Wii, so it’s hard to even fathom why EA Sports won’t take that same route with Madden to keep not only the casual gamers happy, but the Madden faithful as well. What’s worse is that series favorites like the Franchise, Hall of Fame, and other returning modes are still here… but in unlockable form—meaning you’d have to go through all sorts of gimmicky football to get to the modes you’re used to playing, and with that, they’ve remained completely unchanged.
That aside, as with the HD versions of Madden NFL 10, EA Sports tried to enrich the realism of the game by including little habits and gimmicks you’d normally see on an NFL telecast. The commentators now talk about the stadium the game is being played at, and you even see the chain gang coming out on questionable calls regarding the spot of the ball, further enhancing the experience.
Perhaps the most noticeable change in Madden NFL 10 from the previous Madden games on the Wii is its change in visual style. Players are a lot more exaggerated and take more of a cartoon-like exterior. From the big and small heads to the big and small torsos, this change in visual direction will make players either love or hate the way it’s going. Still, it adds a light-hearted charm to the experience, and it’s expected out of a Wii game.
The game’s sound is a mixed bag of its own. Unlike its HD counterparts, the Wii version of the game doesn’t suffer from having to fall victim to the various amounts of mainstream music found on the PS3 or Xbox 360. Instead, players will hear the wonderful and epic instrumentals of various wars on the gridiron. The music actually fires gamers up to play the game, and that’s more than what anybody can say about it. Aside from that, while it was expected that the commentary from Tom Hammond would be pedestrian, the more alarming thing is that the actual sound quality with the commentary sounds supremely monotone, which is a colossal disappointment, especially on the Wii.
As stated in the Xbox 360 and PS3 review of the game, Madden NFL 10 is the most awaited title of the summer. It may not be the case with the Wii, what with Wii Sports Resort currently owning the charts, but Madden NFL 10 presents an interesting take on football. At that, even with the outrageous change in graphics, it’s hard to tell which direction EA Sports is trying to take Madden on the Wii. The game is not fast enough to play like an arcade game, yet the Mario Galaxy-like cooperative gimmicks are enough to make it seem like one. But either way you look at it, Madden NFL 09 is probably the better Wii football game.