It’s in the game

EA Sports has brought gamers Madden Football for 16 years now and this year’s edition has a lot to prove. After landing an exclusive license deal with the NFL, Madden is the only NFL football title that will be available for the next 10 years. Without any competition how does this game fare?

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By Brian Jurilla

By Brian Jurilla

EA Sports has brought gamers Madden Football for 16 years now and this year’s edition has a lot to prove. After landing an exclusive license deal with the NFL, Madden is the only NFL football title that will be available for the next 10 years.

Without any competition how does this game fare?

Right when you start the game you will be brought to a menu that will allow you to create your own player. With your created player, you will start off as a draft pick and work your way up to be a superstar in the league. Off the field you will manage the endorsements you get and the various roles you are offered for movies or television shows. This is a nice little addition but it really is something that you can just skip over.

The graphics look a bit cleaner and more polished then last year’s edition. With more detail to the players, the in-game models look more realistic. The sound of the game is one thing that will pull you in. The in-game soundtrack gives the player a variety of rock and hip hop artists. The game features Al Michaels and John Madden doing the play-by-play commentary. The sound of the stadium will get you excited. The crowd cheers for first downs and big plays, and lets you know when you messed up. The commentary could be better and not sound so scripted, especially when you have Al Michaels doing the commentary, but this is Madden and it hasn’t changed all that much.

The big change of the game is how you play offense. A new feature “QB vision” has the quarterback scan the field for possible receivers in a highlighted cone. Some quarterbacks will have a bigger field of vision then others. An example is Peyton Manning who will have half the field in his view.

Throwing the ball is also affected by how you move the left analog stick. Moving the stick in a certain direction will determine if the pass will be ahead of its intended receiver or at his feet. Last year the addition of the “Hit Stick” made defense as punishing as it is in real life. This year the “Truck Stick” allows the player to push through the line for those few extra inches for the first down, or deliver a devastating stiff arm.

The game is good overall. It is not the best football game but it is the only choice there is. The few additions make the game play more challenging, but that can all be changed and made easier in the options menu. Players can go online and compete against others or get roster updates on their Playstation 2 or Xbox through Xbox Live, and move their NCAA players from NCAA College Football 2006 into the game.

Even though the NFL 2K series is gone and will be missed, this game will give football fans what they want.

Madden 06 is available now on the Xbox, Playstation 2, Gamecube, PC, Nintendo DS and coming soon to the Xbox 360.

4 out of 5