Now many people will know I am a fan of the NFL. This is admittedly quite rare in the UK but I have my father to blame for it. I also have my father to blame for my enjoyment of the Madden series of games. I believe it was 1998 when he bought his first one and had me play against him and we had to swap teams at half time as I kept being about 50pts down at that point. Eventually I got better at it and now we are probably about even in terms of ability when we both know the controls. In winter 2006 EA released Madden 07 for the wii and I snapped it up. The controls were innovative using the wiimote to throw the ball and it all felt very fresh. My only real problem with the game was that the kicking system was broken. Want to take a field goal or a punt in that game? It ain’t gonna happen.
This led me to eagerly await the arrival of Madden 08. The kicking ended up being fixed and there was now an online mode but everything else was broken in my opinion. I returned it and got my beloved 07 back. After this disappointment I was a little bit reserved regarding the 09 version of the game, the reviews had been good but it may not match up to my expectations. When the game arrived I booted it up and took some time to get used to the new controls. After playing it for a little while and testing out all the modes I give the game a big thumbs up. Offensive controls are tight again and work nicely. The running game is fun (although stiff arming is annoying). Kicking works all the time and is brilliant. My only slight reservation is with the defensive controls but I have never been as good with those anyway. The major downside is the special teams AI is terrible and it is too easy to let the return team get big gains.
So Madden 09 on Wii plays a good basic game of football. The layout may be aimed at a younger audience and there may be settings aimed at letting them play the game. That is all fine, but I am just glad they kept the game hardcore for those who want that experience with the best controls out there. There are two major additions that mean anyone who likes American Football should get this game and they are Wii exclusives. The first is 5 on 5 mode where each team gets five comically drawn players on their team. Each team has 4 downs to get into the end zone and on each down you get a choice of 4 plays. Same for defence, four choices. It is then the first team to five touchdowns that wins. The controls work in this mode and are really good fun. Amazing for people who hate the NFL and those who love it. The second is the Call-Your-Shot mode whereby as QB you can draw the path that each of your defenders takes as you line up. While it may not work so well in 2 player it allows you to fool the defence in the regular game and it is a brilliant addition to the wii game.
Lastly the game features EA’s brilliant online system where you can always find someone to play against (even if like me you always get whipped). You will also find enhanced graphics and a fun style to the game as a whole. For example your mii’s referee the games, while this may be annoying for some I found it entertaining seeing my Mii who looks like a cow refereeing my NFL game.
To finish, Madden 09 is the best game of American Football that can currently be found on the wii or indeed on any console. The game my have its flaws in several areas but it still plays a good game of ball and I highly recommend it. The game has got a slightly kiddy feel in some of the graphics and there may be some things aimed at a younger generation in here but the game is still hardcore. The game looks great (the main game does not have kiddy graphics) and the gameplay is at a high level. This is going to take some beating next year.