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End Zone Elegance- Madden NFL 10 Review

Madden NFL 10 for the 360/PS3. Developer: Tiburon, Publisher: Electronic Arts ESRB: E

As the summer heat begins to wane, football aficionados can rejoice. Not only are the airwaves aglow with preseason pigskin, but store shelves are lined with the latest iteration of Madden NFL football. Gamers expecting revolutionary changes to the perennial title might be disappointed- Madden’s strategy has always focused on subtle refinements over the game’s extensive career. Yet, the overall finesse shown by NFL 10 means the title deserves a place alongside the revered ’94 and ‘04 editions, in the Madden Hall of Fame.

Madden 10’s most significant addition is the incorporation of the Pro-Tak animation system. Since the series went polygonal in the PSone era, the game has relied on a rigid motion capture system to recreate realistic, albeit limited, player animations. Regrettably, this also meant that the complexities of football were neglected, as tackles terminated each play. Madden 10’s addition of a branching animation system makes games feel much more dynamic, as player’s try to garner additional yardage towards a first down. The Pro-Tak system elevates Madden’s ground game substantially, as your backs behave in a more realistic and gratifying manner. The only setback to the new system is the infrequent player who will glide unrealistically for a step or two, resembling a surplus NHL 09 athlete.

Two significant changes have been made to Madden 10’s online component. First, players can now enjoy a co-operative game over the internet- an addition that’s long overdue. Secondly, the game’s online franchise mode allows player to either host or join a 32 team league.  Gamers can now draft players, initiate trades, and even run a fantasy draft via the web or a free iphone app. For Madden fans who a part of an active online community, this functionality will be worth the price of admission alone.

The title’s Superstar mode, which allows players to step into the virtual cleats of a budding NFL pro, has been simplified in many ways.  After gamers construct a character from a myriad of talent and appearance options, they take an I.Q. test, and are entered into the draft. After players are signed, they are given a weekly schedule, which they may participate or simulate. The designers have omitted 09’s daily drills, opting for a single weekly practice event. Unfortunately, these training sessions didn’t appear to affect any of the player’s stats, rendering them slightly superfluous.

Madden 10’s graphical improvements attempt to emulate a television broadcast, with immensely successful results. Each contest’s pre-game shots show delicately rendering venues, filled with fans carrying banners, foam fingers and flashing cameras. Players now cast shadows on other players, and are outfitted in well-rendered shoes, gloves, helmets and jerseys. When running in 1080P, the game occasionally approaches photorealism, with its detailed field textures, and well articulated athletes. The level of visual expertise is even carried into the game’s user interface, which has been given a pleasing overhaul. Unfortunately, a few graphical niggles exist. While the game’s animations are overwhelming spectacular, there is the occasional unrealistic movement. Kickers look exceptionally robotic after a exiting from a field goal attempt. Cutscenes are marred by slow-loading objects, making sidelined quarterback talk into imaginary phones.

By combining a substantial amount of auxiliary materials with a refined tackling game, Madden NFL 10 offers an amazingly comprehensive package for football fans.  Following the examples set by the 16-bit and 32-bit generations, this fifth incarnation (fourth for PS3) of the series works out nearly all of the new console kinks, and presents a graphically accomplished, sophisticated simulation. Players shouldn’t be surprised if Madden 10 becomes this hardware generation’s pinnacle of pigskin polish.


                                                       Madden NFL 10 was reviewed on retail Xbox 360 code.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

146 comments

  1. Great review; I’ll picked this up, but haven’t opened it yet. Now, I’m gonna rip that cellophane off.

  2. So NCAA bot a slight higher score? Whoa!

  3. Good review; you guys had some good criticisms of the game, while still talking about how fun it seems to be. I’ll have to grab it.

  4. I’m glad you didn’t say this is the best since 2K5; 94 and 2004(?!?) ok, but I hate all the 2K5 fanboys.

  5. I’m seeing some occasional slowdown. Did you guys notice it?

  6. I hear they fixed the player ratings finally. True?

  7. Hey, I don’t have a code on the back on my instruction book, meaning I cant use the online franchise mode. Target won’t let me take the game back if it’s not broken. What do you think I should do?

  8. I’m thinking about trading in my NCAA 10 for this. Opinions?

  9. The only monopoly game I buy is made by Parker Bros. EA can suck it.

  10. What do you guys think about all the DLC codes that EA is trying to sell people?

  11. Mother Nature is a MILF

    Review seemed to get it right. Good game but I hear there’s still some problems. Had to LOL at the NHL comment.

  12. I haven’t seen any cheerleaders in the game. Also, I heard halftime shows suck, they are just replays with no commentary.

  13. For once a madden game is getting close to being able to compete with NFL 2k5. It sill isn’t quite there but I would love to have a chance to to play it. The review was top notch from what I have seen.

  14. I’ll pick this up, but I need a sale. I’m sure Target or Wal-Mart will have this for $40 by Christmas.

  15. I pick up the game and it is the best Madden I have played so far. I really like the new online franchise mode. Great Review, I agree with most of the things in the review.

  16. Silver and Black Attack

    dude, this game is shit. WRs go thru zebras like they are freaking ghosts. players faces looks like retarded monkeys, that why they keep the helmets on.

    and whats up with that super tight up the ass camera in some of the modes. You can smell the qbs jock is so close. EA if its in the game…

  17. If you can wait that long, dude. im gonna get it this week now.

  18. typical raiders fan 🙁

    Great review. You guys nailed it.

  19. From the demo you could tell the running game is tight. Me and my boys are going to get this and have a tourney for money at our school. Hit me up, if you want to sponser us. peace.

  20. the game is good but not the best graphics i’ve seen. previous maddens looked better. i like the speed but not the accelerated clock online though

  21. Hell yeah, who’s ready for some football?

  22. Good review D.E.you made some good points but you forgot one important one.Madden 10 has the Jets rated higher than the fins are you serious!??!?!?!?

    Tony Sparano took a team from 1-15 to 11-5 Rex Ryan hasn’t even coached a Season but hes rated higher?..The Fins never get any respect man :/.

  23. Good review. I will totally come back here for future reviews.

  24. Hm, interesting points in the review, though I don’t agree with all of ’em, but then again, everyone has their own opinion.

  25. Great review. I can’t wait for the regular season to start.

  26. Good review, agreed with your final score

  27. Commentators are a joke, I heard. They get things all wrong.

  28. I like it, it keeps the other player from lagging and taking up my whole day.

  29. DE, you write some really great reviews. Looking around the house, I see you are reviewing machine. How do you stay so focused?

  30. Any plans for a Wii review of the game?

  31. Nice detailed review man. Good explanation of the little improvements that make it one of the better Maddens of this generation.

  32. Sounds like it’s worth my $60 bucks. They got me with the iphone app so I can fiddle with my rosters on company time.

  33. As much as you guys love indie, small and quirk games, your love of Madden football is amazing. I guess we all have to sell out sometime.

  34. Very nice site, and pretty awesome review. Needs more Dallas/Romo love.

  35. Being the son of Buddy Ryan= +5 stats 😉

  36. I might have to wait on the sale, as well.

  37. good review, just gave me enough info without being a long-ass read that makes me flip pages for ads. (IGN)

  38. Good review, I would get this game if I had a job. I hope I will get this game one day for a cheaper price maybe.

  39. Great review, very well written!

    I want Madden 2010 so badly but I do not have the money for it 🙁

  40. Woo for madden 2010, heard it’s the best so far. Nice review guys.

  41. Review makes the game sound very tempting to buy. Better games coming out in the upcoming months though. Nice work!

  42. I think I might get this. I haven’t bought a full priced Madden since 2005.

  43. Haven’t ever played Madden so this looks like the one to get.

  44. Foooootball!

  45. I’m surprised this one is as good as it is without the threat of competition.

  46. Looks like a good one.

  47. Nice review. I think it’s pretty cool how they made it look like an actual TV show like ESPN haha

  48. Not a big football fan, but thanks for the interest read. You have a very nice writing style.

  49. Have not played Madden in years but the demo for this one looks good.

  50. I’ve been playing Madden since the 16bit era, and let me tell you this version is one of the best since then.

    Brave to EA, and to TechGaming

  51. i stopped playing madden games since I felt like they were all the same. this one from the reviews seems very different. maybe finally ill get back into madden

  52. I want this game but have no money. I need to stop reading reviews like this one. Sigh.

  53. I haven’t owned a Madden game in a couple of years. I don’t know why but I’m really looking forward to this one.

  54. Even though I’m not a big football fan, the game looks fun to play.

  55. Man, iphone app, web trades… This sounds hella cool. Let’s hope Amazon has a sale on this one, my broke peeps.

  56. Nice review. All my friends like football so much but I’m scared to try a game of it since it seems like by the time I turn around, they’re already waiting for the next one to release.

  57. Wonderful review on the game. Had the chance to play the demo and loved it. I think the score given is just right. Nice job.

  58. Looks good, was disappointed in the demo though. But with 1 minute quarters, there’s only so much one can experience.

  59. yeah, one minute quarters were a joke. At least give us a single five minute quarter without having to pre-order the game. That why you can feel the flow of the game.

  60. Loved the demo, but unless I can win myself a free copy, I’ll just wait until clearance prices next spring.

  61. This is the one game I cannot wait for every year. I was going to hold off, but the reviews are really good.

    Thanks for the info!

  62. Does old John Madden record any new voice or even do anything in the game anymore?

  63. Still debating if I can hold off buying the game until Nov. when I’m sure I can find it for half off.

  64. Certainly looks amazing. Your review just makes it more appealing.

  65. Loved the demo, but unless I win a free copy, I wont buy it till i find a deal of $25 or less. Madden isnt worth $60 with how little they add every year.

  66. haven’t played a Madden game in like 5 years. Might check this out.

  67. I liked the review, I asked a couple of friends about the game and have been hearing overall positive, I might finally have to pick up another Madden game, although all that stuff they put up for dlc is just ridiculous.

  68. wohoo maden

  69. Lets go Patriots! Now that Touchdown Tommy is back, the rest of the league is in trouble!

  70. Good about of criticism for the game; excellent review. Still, I’ll probably pick this one up.

  71. Go Bears!

  72. I played a game last night and it said there were 149 people online on a Saturday night at 11pm. Now maybe this means locally, but I live in NY and 149 people for a Saturday night when the game was just released is pathetic.

  73. I actually have always preferred NCAA over Madden. I am from Cleveland and just graduated from Ohio State and in my experience College Football games dwarf NFL games. I understand this may not be everyone’s experience but after you see a game in the Horseshoe, football is taken to a new level.

  74. I agree, there’s something about playing for school pride, rather than just money that’s still in college ball.

    Plus, this year’s NCAA was great.

  75. I’d also appreciate a review of the Wii version.

  76. Awesome review. I’ll be playing this into next season it seems.

  77. that looks so pretty, great review

  78. This game looks good and all, but one of these years no one will buy these and Madden will have to resort to selling roster update packages instead.

  79. I work in mocap so it’s always interesting to see how folks work to make things look better in games. The Pro-Tak idea seems interesting. Nice review.

  80. Great review.

  81. I’ve also done mocap work, and I’m really curious as to how EA handled the transitions. Those can make or break.

  82. I think its about time they included online co op play. Way to finally catch up to 6 years ago EA. Great Article! I am saving my pennies to get this game.

  83. I’ve always been a casual Madden fan, but this release has me really excited. I really like the new features they added. Hope I win a copy.

  84. Great review! Site bookmarked it looks great on my iPhone!

  85. Haven’t played a Madden game in a while. Nice review.

  86. love me some madden cowboys going all the way this season love the site

  87. Good review, I hope I win because my friend is dying to play me in it.

  88. I dont care what anyone says, Madden is better than NFL 2k5. The only thing that 2k sports had going for them was it was an alternative. Madden for ever!

  89. This game looks great! I hadn’t planned on getting it, but am now reconsidering!

  90. For the last few versions, I’ve been more partial to the NCAA games. Might have to give Madden 10 a shot.

  91. Great review, to the point and well written. Love the site!

  92. Sounds good but I’m still skeptical about Madden.

  93. This was a great review and was the reason I want to get the game now. Looks awesome.

  94. Nice review, I hope the new tackling is as cool as everyone is raving! Looking forward to the great game!

    P.S.
    Nice site 🙂

  95. Fantastic review! I hope the tackling is as good as everyone is saying. I’m pretty pumped for this game, just short on cash at the moment 🙁

  96. Nice job on the review.

  97. This game looks fantastic.

  98. Nice review! Makes me want to pick the game up. The online improvements seem awesome.

  99. Very good review; i liked the fact that it’s not one of those “I’ll keep talking for ever review”

    Thx!

  100. Hope to win it for a friend who loves every madden game.

  101. 4 Touchdowns in one game!

  102. mm vick back in madden time to run as the qb again i guess

  103. mm hope i win the game

  104. Titans are the best team.

  105. Great review. I hope the passing game is as good as the ground. I’ll probably pick this up today after lunch.

  106. Those screen shots are crisp.

  107. Can’t wait to get this

  108. Damn, the game looks good. Too bad I can’t afford it now. Looks like a step up from last year’s game for sure.

  109. Dallas Cowboys taking it this year.

  110. Very nice site and review.

    Madden seems to have made the correct steps toward improvement, however, the rating system will be difficult to adjust to.

  111. I can only imagine how much further we would be in Football gaming if NFL 2K was still around to push Madden.

  112. Can’t wait to play some of the final game. The demo wasn’t as easy as the game has been over the years.

  113. I want this game now that Favre has returned.

  114. YES!! VICK AND FARVE HAVE BEEN ADDED, this is my type of game, FALCONS 09-10 SUPER BOWL CHAMPS… lol a man can wish i guess!

  115. Looks like another nice addition to Madden. I was a huge fan of changing ticket prices and food prices. Too bad that really hasn’t returned. This may be the one to get me back into Madden after a hiatus.

  116. Ah Madden. We meet again. Somehow I never get bored of you.

  117. Was on the edge about this game until I read the review – i’m so ready to get my madden on!

  118. Looks good. Hopefully it will be worth it this year.

  119. Nice review. I’m gonna pass on it until it reaches that inevitable $20 price tag.

  120. I’m thinking about getting this game, and this review might have given me enough motivation to get it, thanks!

    =D

  121. Seems decent, I’ll probably rent first and buy when the price goes down a bit.

  122. Nice review. I haven’t really been into Madden like i was when i used to play it on the PS2 but maybe that will change this year.

  123. I’m going to buy a copy soon with some credit I have. I hope this plays well on PS3, cause I can’t pay for XBL right now.

  124. looks fun

  125. I’ve skipped madden for a few years but this years looks like it added quite a bit.

  126. Looks like an awesome game. I’d love to win a copy 🙂

  127. I haven’t played Madden for a couple of years, but was really thinking about getting this one. It wouldn’t be bad to get it free either. 😉

  128. Awesome review

  129. very cool in detail review

  130. nice review, the new madden looks pretty good

  131. I’ve never been crazy over the madden series,but all the hype about the game makes me want to at least try it out.

  132. Awesome review, 360 madden looks so much better than the wii version.

  133. Great review. Rented it earlier this week. Agree completely. Now if only my Bills could be a B+ team…

  134. Excellent review. I can’t wait to play Madden and see if this is accurate. Also I hope the rest of the reviews are done this well beacuse I plan on reading more

  135. Madden sure has come a long way since it’s Nintendo days. There is a reason this game has a stranglehold on the football gaming market, and that is a direct result from the dedication and hard work that goes into the production of this game!

  136. just an update, this game has got me so stoked!!! excellent review.

  137. I need to pick this up.

  138. Hmm, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of my roommates picked this up already. Good review.

  139. This game is crazy I saw my friend play it and its freaking awesome!

  140. Love Madden but can’t bring myself to buy it every year and unfortunately this is an off year for me.

  141. still waiting for PUJA21’s updated 2009-2010 roster for NFL 2k5. Madden’s game play still doesn’t have anything on that…

  142. I can’t wait to play this. Go Broncos!