The Madden NFL series needs no introducion being one of EA's most beloved franchises Madden has been going strong since 1989 and continues to do so. While it may not garner as much attention as it does in the States it's still a good game. One of the main criticisms at the series especially over the last few versions is the lack of anything new so can Madden NFL 09 change that?
Not really. There are a few new features and some of them are quite useful. Without a doubt I think this is the most user friendly edition of Madden I can remember. New to this year are the Backtrack and Rewind features. Backtrack explains to you what you did when something went wrong say if you got sacked or threw an interception. This proves reletively helpful and you can learn a lot better from mistakes than years past. A contreversial new feature is rewind enabling you to go back and do the play again if you messed up. This is execellent for first time players but hardcore maddenites may feel cheated giving new players a better chance so to speak.
The difficulty level is gone as such as well. You are offered to take the Madden test when you first fire up the game you can skip it but it's probably best you don't since the game is structured around your IQ which you gain through the test. You are tested in rushing, passing, rush defense and pass defense depending on how you do the game will tailor the difficulty for you which is neat. Or so it seems, trouble is it's a lot easier to run the ball in the test than it is on gameday so you can hit a brick wall when you start playing for real. It could have been done better but it's still a welcome addition to the Madden series.
The Superstar and Franchise modes are practically untouched which is dissapointing. Superstar is still dull to play with some dodgy camera angles and Franchise dosen't offer the depth of its previous gen counterparts but is still adequate. Also new is commentary from Tom Hammond and Cris Collinsworth. Collinsworth offers some pretty good analysis but it soon gets repetitive however it's still a marked improvement over the awful radio announcer.
Madden NFL 09 is the best next-gen Madden to date but considering the previous ones didn't have much to right home about it's not saying much. EA really need to think where they take the series next and look to improving the modes players want in Franchise rather than beefing up the graphics and claiming it's "better". However if you're new to the sport of American football this is a perfect place to start.
8 / 10