Few Clouds 38° Good Evening
Few Clouds 38° Good Evening

Madden NFL 11, just in time for football season

In this screen grab photo provided by EA

In this screen grab photo provided by EA Sports, an animated version of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman drops back into the pocket to look for an open receiver in a scene from from "Madden NFL 11." (AP Photo/EA Sports) Photo Credit: AP Photo/HO

Football teams are most effective when they can establish the run. Madden NFL 11 scraps the long-used sprint button (why would you not want to go fast?) in favor of a dual-stick control that makes spinning toward the goal line more intuitive and enjoyable.

For two decades, our impatience for video game yardage has prompted us to call an inordinate number of pass plays. This control adjustment has fixed that.

Another welcome improvement is GameFlow, which allows gamers to play while leaving the coaching to others. It's far superior than the previous Ask Madden method. Just click a single button and a play for the situation is called. A coach calls the strategy into your helmet's headset (the main speakers or your Xbox 360 headset) and you just run the play.

Sure, the artificial intelligence play callers are going to make some puzzling decisions, but so do real-life offensive and defensive coordinators. Gamers who want control are going to pick their own plays.

The visuals in Madden NFL 11 pop off the screen. Coaches and players look more like their real-life counterparts, and the sun and halogen beams entering the stadiums create more realistic shadows and lighting effects. On the field, players engage in those now overly filmed get-psyched pregame bounce sessions, defensive players celebrate a beastly hit and coaching assistants give a player Gatorade during timeouts.


Madden NFL 11


RATING E for Everyone

PLOT Are you ready for some football?

DETAILS PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, $60

BOTTOM LINE Still the best

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