Madden NFL 10

Madden NFL 10

Madden NFL 10

Gridiron that's as fast as it is physical.

Reviewing American football games is a science unto itself, one almost as deeply strategic and piecemeal as the software. While many will suggest that Madden has not changed a great deal over the years - and they'd be wrong - even those who buy it annually will suggest the game still lacks the 'feel' of the NFL. It's rather strange to say it, then, but after around 30 hours in each instalment since 2005, Madden 10 is the first that feels like you're playing football. It's more than the introduction of gang-tackling - several linemen bundling onto each other semi-convincingly - or the ability to run an online dynasty, or the "new and improved" (read: repetitive and awkward) Extra Point game show. It's that EA has put some effort into making the game play like the sport NFL fans the world over watch on Sundays.

The first notable change is the speed. If you've played Madden enough to really compare the game to the real thing, you'll know that it never matched the chaos and energy of the gridiron. Madden 10 can be cranked up to 'fastest' and reaches speeds that will demand the best of you, matching the helter-skelter mania of true NFL. This, combined with animation that for once resembles actual football, makes games and replays realistic. It's a dramatic improvement.

Online franchises are also a great deal of fun. As with any online experience, it's based on finding a dedicated crew to take part, but once you do, it's rather enjoyable. It's like a more active version of an online fantasy football league (especially if you use the fantasy draft), and it's good fun to annoy somebody by pipping them to the post on a trade and on the field. It's contingent on the activity of your competitors - if they're not as into it as you, you'll find yourself in a position to dominate them or, if necessary, have the commissioner skip them for a lack of activity - but this isn't such a bad point. I just heartily advise you to find people you know to play with.

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UK chart: Ashes bats away competition

As Madden NFL 10 thunders in.

Codemasters' Ashes Cricket 2009 scores a second week atop the UK All-Formats chart, batting Nintendo stars Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit to two and three, respectively.

EA Sports to continue with Madden name

Despite veteran broadcaster's retirement.

Peter Moore has said that EA Sports' American football games will continue to use Madden branding despite the commentator's retirement, announced yesterday.