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In depth review of NFL Madden 09 on XBox 360 Reviews.

In depth review of NFL Madden 09 on XBox 360 Reviews.
Product Description

Madden NFL 09 delivers the most complete NFL football package ever. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or picking up the game for the first time, you will enjoy a unique yet challenging experience, thanks to the innovative Adaptive Difficulty Engine, which tailors the game to match your playing style. Instantly improve your game with the all-new virtual Training Center or incorporate feedback with EA SPORTS BackTrack, allowing you to learn from your mistakes on the fly. With a new broadcast presentation and online leagues, plus more than 85 new features and enhancements, Madden NFL 09 is the most authentic and adaptable game in sports video game history. An all-new Adaptive Difficulty Engine assesses your proficiency in the core skills areas of football. An innovative, Virtual Training Center allows you to fine-tune your game in a holographic environment, while EA SPORTS BackTrack provides customized feedback, giving you a chance to learn from your mistakes. Take what you've learned and run the play again with EA SPORTS Rewind. Set your sights on the Vince Lombardi Trophy in an all-new network television-style broadcast as Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond call the action from the booth. A more immersive and visually stunning presentation package also includes a new Options OnDemand Picture-in-Picture playcall window giving you access to a wealth of stats, customized tips, and in-game options--all at your fingertips without having to pause the game. Make a run for the postseason for the first time online. Featuring trades and statistical tracking for Online Leagues, up to 32 teams can battle it out using all-new flex scheduling. With an enhanced graphics engine and new player models, linemen battle in the trenches with more bulky physiques while backs and receivers fly around the field with a more sleek and slimmer look. Featuring the most realistic-looking grass and field turf ever in a sports game, new weather.

Review by Game Daily by by Chris Buffa

Football season conjures up familiar memories of watching games on Thanksgiving, throwing the football in the backyard and for video gamers, a new Madden NFL. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Electronic Arts' celebrated pigskin franchise, and the company has something special in store for the 2009 installment, especially on Xbox 360. Madden NFL 2009 stumbles, but manages to regain its composure long enough to stiff arm critics and dive into the endzone.

Whereas previous Xbox 360 Madden games lack features found in their PlayStation 2 counterparts, 2009 comes loaded with all sorts of great stuff, beginning with the Madden Test. When you first start the game, you'll see a futuristic and Tron-inspired football field and a digital John Madden that'll test you in rushing, passing, rush and pass defense. Completing these mini-games awards you a Madden IQ (which rises and falls depending on future tests and games) as well as My Skill, a personal difficulty level. Although it's not a perfect system (getting lucky may land you on All-Pro, the hardest setting), you have the option of ditching it in favor of four difficulties as well as a customizable setting where you determine how tough the computer is. Depending on how much you love Madden, however, you're likely to return to this cool looking feature (accessible after every completed game and in the main menu) to see how well you can do. Besides, playing Tron football is great. Unfortunately, you can only play this way against the computer, and you cannot run through a full game.

After testing your football prowess, you can hit the gridiron as one of the NFL's 32 teams, and EA did a great job enhancing an already enjoyable sports game. The core mechanics remain unchanged, as you cycle through plays (or ask Madden's advice) and sling the football, but you'll need to be more aware of your surroundings. Unlike previous football games, where defensemen drop balls, Madden NFL 09's artificial intelligence double and sometimes triple teams your receivers and easily picks them off. At first, we hated all of the interceptions, but then grew to appreciate the difficulty because it made us better quarterbacks. The same also holds true for rushing, as the game provides helpful tips by placing a button over your selected player that lets you know how to beat the other team. So, for example, if you have the ball and need to bust through two opposing players, the game will suggest you press the Highlight Stick (right analog) in order to perform a juke. This also works on the other side of the ball, as the game instructs you to tilt the Hit Stick (also right analog) to plow through the offensive line.

In addition, the game features all sorts of graphical upgrades that help mirror the NFL experience. Field goal nets rise and fall whenever you attempt an extra point, rain creates mud that changes white jerseys brown, numerous flash bulbs erupt from the crowd, you can perform touchdown celebrations by wandering into specified areas in the endzone and pressing Y and players leave footprints in the snow, although falling onto it does nothing.
Madden NFL 09 also features commentary from NFL announcers Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth, though it's not a significant improvement from the previous games' radio announcer. Hammond delivers his lines like a boring robot, while Collinsworth's goofball comments have us shaking our heads. Our biggest gripe, though, is their lack of chemistry. Most of the time, they deliver their lines independent of each other and this kills the presentation. It's better than hearing one guy call the game, but we miss the arguing and the jokes heard in real football broadcasts.

Collinsworth does moderately well, however, in EA Sports Backtrack, a replay feature in which he points out your successes and failures by offering advice and drawing on the screen using his telestrator. It's helpful, but for whatever reason, ours doesn't work; the Backtrack logo pops up and immediately disappears. Other writers haven't had this problem, so it's possible we received a damaged copy of the game.

Another addition is EA Rewind, a feature seemingly inspired from the Burnout series. It lets you rewind a play for a do over, a great option for getting revenge against the computer, but practically useless against human competition. Several times, we threatened our friends if they erased one of our recently scored touchdowns.

Playing exhibition is fun, but Madden NFL 09 has tons more to experience. Franchise Mode lets you create a dynasty and experience a hopefully illustrious 30-year career. Superstar Mode lets you create a player or import him from NCAA Football 09 and go from a rookie to a Hall of Fame legend. Fantasy Football lets you keep track of your season after registering at fantasy.easports.com, and Practice lets you improve your player by bench pressing to become stronger and hitting the 40 yard dash for best times, among other activities

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