Live Blog: Madden 09

Posted May 30th, 2008 at 8:30 am

136: I’ve managed to pull myself away from Madden. I don’t want to sound too enthusiastic about it at this point, given I’ve only been playing a little over two hours. But coming out of the community day last year I was probably the most discouraged of everyone there. It is a totally different feeling right now and that is the general sentiment in the room. I haven’t dug into many of the question you guys had, but I have noted some things which I’ll be adding throughout the hour. I also have a lot of videos, most of which will go up late tonight or this weekend, but two short clips coming in a few minutes.

139: This is such a significant leap over what we played last year. And there is still a couple months to go with it. I thought that NCAA felt polished for a game that far out when I played it last month. I’d say Madden right now feels like it could almost be released in this state.

142: The first thing you do when you start up is determine your Madden IQ. I really hadn’t thought much about this feature going in, other than it tailoring to each person’s skills and being a benefit to the more casual gamers. But it was actually quite fun to run through. I came out with All-Pro grading on run offense, pass offense, and run defense, and rookie on pass defense.

143: Not only did they add FG nets, but the nets raise before the kick and you see them lowered after.

146: I’ve seen comments after the previous videos were released that the scoreboard might be bothersome in its placement. I didn’t find it got in the way of the action at all. The new camera angle takes a slight adjustment to get used to but feels pretty natural and works really well.

147: The weather effects look really nice, both snow and rain. On Qwest Field’s fieldturf you could see water splashing up when running on it.

149: No squib kicks, deep ball explosion sound is gone, no kick return plays with just one returner back. Kickoffs aren’t as overpowered as last year, but consistently can go 4-6 yards into the end zone with full power.

150: There are alternate jerseys as well as classic jerseys.

151: The pass defense does a great job defending the deep ball. Those spectacular catches from last year are usually negated by the defensive back swatting the ball, picking it off, or jarring the ball loose with a hit. The DB’s get high into the air to make plays and keep good position.

153: Something I really like is that you can get big plays out of the short passing game. It isn’t as though only the deep ball will net you an explosive play. I had a slant that ended up going the distance (video of that sometime over the next few days).

156: When you start up a game there are two different settings to choose from. The first is the “Skill Level” which is the normal All-Madden, All-Pro, Pro, and Rookie. There is also a custom for setting it yourself, or “My Skill” which is based on your Madden IQ. Then there is the “Gameplay Style” which is Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Hardcore. This is where the replays factor in. Beginner gets 5, Intermediate 3, Advanced 1, and Hardcore 0. Those can be changed if you want.

158: Compared to NCAA, the player control feels slightly more responsive. The offensive stick moves don’t seem to be quite as sharp, but you have the ability to break out of tackles better.

200: Haven’t had a chance to discuss anything online related yet.

201: Funny bug seeing right now, security guys standing on the field during play. Actually saw something similar in NCAA last month. That’ll easily be fixed.

203: The camera shakes on hit sticks which really adds to the effect.

206: Halftime/Postgame will show some highlights. I’ll try and get video of what it looks like. I don’t believe there is any type of “show” though.

212: Here are the two short video clips. One is of a blocked punt, which was shocking just to have happen. The other is of me injuring Tony Romo! I’m going to have a bunch more but they are too long to go through the process of uploading right now. Blocked PuntRomo Hit

216: I’d still like to see the camera flashes toned down. They look great on the opening kickoff, but it should be more limited. They shouldn’t be going off throughout the game on every play. Limit it to the opening kickoff and big moments such as kneel downs at the end of a victory at home. That would also make them have more effect on the playoff games/Super Bowl.

220: Player faces from what I’ve seen so far are improved. They look much more like their real-life counterparts.

225: Ok, so there won’t be alternate uniforms for online play. They are really looking at making pretty much everything optional next year though. I’ll have time to chat about more online specific stuff later but wanted to note that now.

228: They added the “David Tyree Catch”. Only seen it once, so as long as its rare…

230: Alright guys I’m going to spend more time with the game now. I might be able to check in again before heading back to the hotel but I can’t say for sure. Once at the hotel I’ll do a more detailed write-up, hopefully being able to answer more questions within it, and post up a bunch more videos. It should be late though (probably not leaving the studio till close to midnight eastern) and I have an early morning flight.

354: Had an online related conversation that went well over an hour. A ton to report back on. Just one thing I’ll mention right now is that online weather will be in both ranked and unranked games (currently random weather)