Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I am a pro football fanatic, following my lovable losers, the Falcons, through thick and thin. I was disappointed to learn that Madden 09 would not be coming out for the PC, however, wanting to play with "Matty Ice" (Matt Ryan, the new Falcons quarterback) leading the team, I went out and purchased a new X Box 360. Here are the results of what I found:

At first, Madden 09 was a wonderful game to play. There were some nice animations, and I enjoyed, for the most part, the challengability and flexibility of the franchise system. Then the crap hit the fan.

Suddenly, I was no longer able to simulate games. The system would crash and freeze up every time I tried. I was also unable to complete any mini-challenges to increase the stats of my players. Finally, I was unable to save any games at all after narrowly winning against tough opponents. Great job, EA Sports! My Madden 09 which I plunked down good money for is now good for being a coaster on a table, and it does not even do THAT job very well.

Why has this occurred? How has Madden gone from being the pre-eminent game in sports to a useless hunk of junk? The answer, dear friend, is found in the economics of the situation.

EA Sports signed a lucrative deal with the NFL several years ago to become the sole provider of video games for the sport. Yes, the players got money for the use of their names in the product, but this eliminated competition completely. No competition= no incentive. Before, ESPN 2K5 gave Madden a run for their money, as people realized there was an alternative and spent their dollars elsewhere. There was a reason to make a game that worked properly, and not just the eye candy we have recently been treated with.

To add insult to injury, EA Sports also released a new version of Head Coach, the 06 version which I wrote about recently. Guess what? THAT game is also so filled with bugs that it is virtually unplayable. Yes, it looks nicer, has better music, animations and screen shots, but again, it does not matter if you can't play the game. EA should change it's motto to IF ITS IN THE GAME, ITS GOTTA BE LAME. Thankfully I did not waste my money there and am content to wait and see if they fix THOSE problems before I purchase another unplayable product.

Consequently, I am disappointed. I would like for Commissioner Goodell to either end the NFL's current contract with EA Sports or allow it to lapse, returning parity, accountability, and competition to the simulation of the NFL experience. If it's good enough for the players and coaches to have competition and be held accountable for their performance and actions, it's good enough for the products that represent the NFL.

armchair coach
amateur historian

PS Thanks to TennVol for the following review, which comes from the EBGames website

Review by TennVol

I purchased the CE edition of Madden 09 so I could get Head Coach with it. Let me just say I was really excited to get my hands on this product cause it seemed to have a lot of promise from the stuff I had seen on it.

And then the other shoe dropped!

This game could be sooo fun and challenging if it were not for the over abundance of bugs and AI glitches.

Bug 1) If u use the play creator, it will permanently keeps players who are injured .... well.. injured. IF u have someone who says they will be back in 1 - 3 weeks, they will never come back. U have to end up trading them or cutting them.

Bug 2) The game sounds won't come on in the game till during the 2 minute warning. That's something they should have found during the testing phase I mean, come on!

Bug 3) If u save on certain days of the week, a contract bug will appear where scrub players will ask for HUGE contracts when u sign/re-sign them. I had a 65 overall cornerback asking for over 2 million a year at age 31!

Bug 4) Well, sort of a bug.. more like a game flaw. The AI of the game is in one word.... HORRIBLE! Running Backs who will run into defenders instead of going through huge holes that were opened by the offensive line. Wide receivers who will juke out of bounds for no reason at all. Quarterbacks that will throw the ball low on long routes and then lob it on a short route? I mean, this is a big issue in my book. The AI sliders in the game are even messed up. They have a Player AI and a CPU AI but the player AI does nothing at all! And trying to figure out what CPU AI settings to use so players don't act like they are out of a Ernest Goes to Football Camp movie is a nightmare

Bug 5) The Officiating is way too lopsided. They will call Face Mask Penalties on players taken down at the knees! They will over turn any good review for you but the CPU team will never have anything over turned and if one of the opposing teams players catches a ball out of bounds, it will be ruled a complete pass even though when u watch the instant replay, he feet are clearly in the white when he catches it. Poor programming in my opinion.

Bug 6) Two Minute Drills u can't stop in game WITHOUT calling a time out. Players won't spike the ball or attempt to kick a field goal on your team... they will just keep running the same play over and over and over till u get an incomplete pass or call a time out. No way to make real adjustments at all.

Now, EA claims to be working on a patch to fix this stuff but it is still a minimum of 2 weeks away and we have been dealing with this stuff for a month now.

In my opinion... don't buy now. Wait a month or two to see if they have truly completed this Beta Release of a game cause as it stands, it is a bad bad product.

Even with the release of numerous updates that EA have sent out via Xbox Live, this game is still buggy; even franchise mode is almost impossible to complete. I'd recommend NCAA 09 before this. Since we really don't have a choice in the matter of who makes our football games anymore, we are kinda left with this garbage. As a long time Madden fan, I sincerely will not recommend this game to anyone, unless you're desperate. Despite many new cool features it still lacks consistency for a football game. EA's developers are falling off and quick they need to do something and scrap this game and work super hard on next year's. And I really hope it's nowhere near this bad. If you did buy this game trade it in because no matter what, you just have a steamy pile of dump.

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