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Madden NFL 11 Review (PS3)

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Madden NFL 11 Cover Box Art  - Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Madden NFL 11 - Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

© EA Sports

The Bottom Line

So, I traded the farm for Peyton Manning and took the 49ers to the Superbowl the first year of my franchise, and I grinned like a cat the whole way. This is my eighth year reviewing Madden and I can honestly say it's the most fun I've had with the game in as long as I can remember. Sure there's the better presentation, and GameFlow has simplified and sped up the game. But "Madden NFL 11" has something the others didn't, and that is a focus on improved gameplay over new game mechanics. Slightly slower and lacking the "sprint" button, Madden NFL plays more deliberately, and I for one am thrilled.
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  • Slow down gameplay and shorten how long games take? Pure Madden NFL magic!
  • The presentation is less obnoxious and more authentic, the Madden Nation approves
  • GameFlow gives you one button play calling, speeds up the game and adds realism
  • Prettier than ever: the fans, players, coaches and field all look top notch
  • I can't believe I like Ultimate Team, but the Madden NFL 11 customizable card game is sublime


  • The Menu/UI is wonky, especially in Franchise mode, it's time to bring in a consultant
  • With such great animation overall, why does the kick returner do the electric slide to the ball?
  • We get it, Madden loves microtransactions, but do I need to be reminded on every page?
  • Stop calling cheats DLC, allowing me to pay cash to prevent retirement is not "content"


  • Publisher: EA Sports
  • Developer: Tiburon
  • ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
  • Genre: Sports Simulation, Football
  • Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, iPhone, iPad

Guide Review - Madden NFL 11 Review (PS3)

Where to start with "Madden NFL 11?" Yes, this is the first year that the fans chose the cover player, poor Drew Brees, here's hoping he escapes the Madden Curse. And yes, as the advertising has declared, this time they've made the NFL gridiron game "Simpler. Quicker. Deeper." But the real difference isn't the new mechanics or play modes, it's that Madden is more fun this year than in years past. Being better looking and better playing makes it easier to ignore the overbearing pushing of "DLC" and the UI issues.

Simpler. With the introduction of GameFlow you can now select plays with just one press of the X button. Essentially the "coach" calls in a play, you hit X and he tells you how to run it and what to watch out for. Put in a Bluetooth headset and you'll upgrade your armchair quarterback experience by having the coach call the plays in your ear. This is not only simpler, but more realistic and extremely educational. You still call audibles, just like the pros can, but having the plays radioed in by the offensive/defensive coordinator really does lend a sense of realism to "Madden NFL 11."

The best part of GameFlow, however, is the commentary. Being told how the play will evolve, how long to wait before chucking the ball, and what to watch out for lends a nuanced understanding to plays that many simply may not have. Thanks to GameFlow I quickly realized that I had been rushing several passing plays for years now.

Quicker. Yes, please, and thank you! Turning a 60 minute game into a 30 minute one has really made the game far more interesting. You play the same number of minutes, but with GameFlow play calling is much faster. Also, less cut scenes, but making them higher quality, makes the game feel more like an NFL experience and less self-indulgent. Oddly enough, the actual gameplay is slower. The players move at a more "realistic" speed, and the Madden NFL staple, the "sprint" button, aka turbo-boost, has been disabled in 11 (though it can be added back as an option). The slower play and lack of turbo actually make "Madden NFL 11" a pleasure to play. The player control/juke stick matters more, and where you hit the holes/scanning the field matters more now than ever.

Deeper. This one is a maybe in my mind. Sure there's 3 on 3 online play now (and yes, you need the code included with new version to play online. If you buy it used you can purchase the code in the PlayStation store). And you can play still play Ultimate Team, the "Madden NFL 11" collectible card game (CCG). But the real kicker this year seems quality over innovation.

With a more realistic presentation, GameFlow, and a slower pace of play (and the games are still shorter!) I have to admit that this has been the most fun I've had with Madden in quite some time. "Madden NFL 11" carries the ball as well as the other versions, but this year it's better looking and more fun, two things nobody is going to complain about.

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