Madden NFL 09 Review

The NFL is getting ready for the season to begin, so that can mean only one thing: it’s Madden time. A yearly release, the new Madden installment is easily one of the highlights of each year for many gamers, as it continues to sell huge quantities. No matter what the critical reception is, there’s no doubt Madden will sell like hotcakes. The question, then, is what’s different in 09?

With Brett Favre on the cover, this was supposed to be the year which finally laid to rest the Madden Curse for mainstream gamers. Unfortunately (for him), Favre is back in a slightly different shade of green, so the curse’s chance of striking again, like this iteration of Madden, is better than ever.

The biggest news for gamers is that finally, Madden is up to date with the current generation. For the past several releases we’ve watched as EA delivered prettier games which just didn’t look or feel like they belonged on the 360 or PS3. Now with better environmental physics, unique player physiques, more active sidelines, and other tweaks Madden finally has a modern presentation it can be proud of. One of the nice changes is the inclusion of rivalry games. As any fan can attest, games against a hated rival always seem more intense, and Madden 09 captures that perfectly. Everything is kicked up a notch in a rivalry contest; jerseys get dirtier, hits are harder, cameras are more cinematic, and the plays are bigger.

The updates are more than visual, though. Finally, Madden moves and feels more like a real game of football. Tackles are more realistic, and it’s entirely possible for someone being tackled to find a way to break free with the right move. Hit someone at an angle with a smaller cornerback, and if they’re good enough they can spin while being taken down and avoid the tackle all together. Players who fumble the ball can also recover it, meaning no more frantic player switching if you cough up the rock in the open field. Outside of other similar realism tweaks, the big gameplay addition this year is the EA Rewind. By pressing a button after a play, you can rewind the action and give it another go. (Think of it as either a do-over for flummoxed plays, or a do-over for bad AI/glitches.) Thankfully you can set the number of Rewinds before each game, so online play isn’t severely hampered by it.

Speaking of online play, Madden 09 introduces online leagues and franchises. With up to 32 teams in an online league, you can finally play with ALL of your friends and see who’s the best. Sadly, there’s no playoffs or Superbowl; the rankings and champion are decided in a fashion similar to Premier League soccer in England.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a sports game (or a Madden game) without a few puzzling mistakes here and there. Outside of the instantly out of date roster, the biggest issue with the game has to be AI pathfinding. Many times when an AI receiver catches the ball, they’ll run straight for the sideline regardless of how open they are. It’s a nice counter to the overly-accurate CPU QBs, but it unfortunately makes a lot of games feel cheapened when you know you should have been scored on, but instead the opponent finds themselves on 4th and 10.

Overall, Madden 09 is the best Madden of this generation. It’s the first of the series which feels like it actually belongs on these consoles, and wasn’t just ported with prettier graphics. It’s not without its share of small issues here or there, but in the end it’s the most realistic and most satisfying Madden experience yet, and one you can enjoy with a whole lot of people online.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.