About a month ago, EA Sports announced that they were going to continue their lineup of sports arcade titles with Madden NFL Arcade. While many people expected this title to feature over-the-top hits like its NHL counterpart, Tiburon went with base tackling animations that you may find in its regular Madden title. However, the lack of crazy hits doesn’t take away from the arcade feel that Madden NFL Arcade delivers.
The initial trailer for Madden NFL Arcade left little to be desired, but when EA released a trailer featuring the Game Breakers that could be attained in the game, fans were a little worried that one of them would have too severe of consequences. I’m talking about the ability to flip-flop your score with your opponents when you’re losing. Despite the fact that this gives a severely less talented player an opportunity to defeat a superior player, I can say that after playing roughly twenty or so games, I have not seen that Game Breaker one time. This leads me to believe that it truly is rare and may only pop up at the most luckiest of situations.
Thankfully, Madden NFL Arcade is littered with other strong Game Breakers that help increase the arcade feel and actually adds to the entertainment factor that is presented. Power ups that allow your quarterback to throw three balls at once or the ability to bring in your entire offensive or defensive line to help out are quick game changers. Players with enough skill can strategically use their power ups in order to make the different within a game. The strategy behind the items is also something that helps set this game apart as well because not everyone is going to play it the same way. Some users may like to use every Game Breaker as they receive them while others will conserve the more important ones for key plays. An example of this is the “Turbo” Game Breaker. Using the Turbo Game Breaker on defense is a pretty poor decision because it makes it very difficult to cover one of the two WRs or RB manually.
Obviously none of the above would matter much if EA Sports failed to deliver a gameplay experience that went hand-in-hand with its Game Breaker options and fast-paced arcade action; however, they certainly delivered. Madden NFL Arcade allows you to utilize standard Madden controls (preferred) or the new Arcade configuration. Much like in the standard version of Madden, X hikes the football and your receiving targets are aligned to O, Square and Triangle. Circle also allows you to spin away from defenders and the right analog stick still gives you the ability to juke your opponent out of his shoes.
The responsiveness from the moment you press a button to its on-screen action being performed is pretty much instantaneous and it allows for a smooth gameplay experience. Anyone who has played a title like NFL Blitz or NFL Tour in the past will recognize the type of game speed being offered but let it be known that the gameplay itself isn’t as ridiculously “out there” as Blitz and Tour. To be honest, Madden NFL Arcade is the type of non-simulation sports title that even simulation Madden players should enjoy.
The customization options of Madden NFL Arcade also allows for a nice variation of possibilities from game to game. You can adjust everything from allowing Game Breakers or not to how many points are required to win. You also have the ability to pick which stadium to play in as well as your standard difficulty settings option.
Unfortunately, the only downside I could find to the customization of gameplay and options is that there is no depth chart or ability to sub in a different player. Considering EA Sports does not plan to support Madden NFL Arcade with any type of Roster Update post-release, it means that the individuals on the field when you purchase the game will forever be on the field. This is a small flaw to pay though for everything else you get in the packaging
For those who are deep into the commentary and presentation of Madden 10, don’t purchase Madden NFL Arcade in hopes of receiving a similar experience. There really is no commentary and outside of the fireworks you see for scoring touchdowns, the presentation is very limited. However, the animations and visuals are spot on and I experienced no slow down or anything of that nature while playing the game.
Overall, Madden NFL Arcade is an amazing compliment to Madden 10 and any football fan should get their money’s worth of entertainment from the title. Regardless of if you like close-knit simulation battles or if you like straight shoot-outs, Madden NFL Arcade provides gamers with a nice change of pace style of play that any Madden enthusiast should appreciate after months and months of playing Madden 10 over and over.