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Madden NFL 09 20th Anniversary Review (PS3)

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


Madden NFL 09 Box Art (PS3)

Madden NFL 09 (PS3)

© EA Sports

The Bottom Line

This was a very difficult game to review. 20 years is a long time for a videogame franchise, and Madden really is one of the greatest. Some of my fondest gaming memories come from playing this game on previous generation systems. While it'd be easy to give Madden NFL '09 a high score based on it being better than any other next-gen football game, when held up against other AAA games there are too many issues. Yes, Madden comes out annually, and if you want to forgive their mistakes for that, go ahead. I chose to think they've had 20 years to get this right, Madden should be perfect, and it simply is not.
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  • Some of the best looking graphics of any football game
  • Madden IQ tries to create a custom difficulty setting based on your play level
  • Cris Collinsworth adds much needed flair and style to the in-game announcing
  • Backtrack may be the most useful tool in learning to play Madden to date
  • Rewind allows you to take a second shot at botched plays and learn from your mistakes


  • Great graphics are held down by choppy animation that frequently "jumps"
  • Madden IQ fails miserably at creating a custom difficulty setting based on your play level
  • Cris Collinsworth needs to record more commentary... lots of repetition, even in your first game
  • Menu system is unnecessarily confusing
  • After 20 years receivers can't figure out how to run a post or drag their feet?


  • Graphics: 3.5 Pretty looking players sure like to stutter around on screen, weather, however, looks nearly perfect
  • Sound: 3.5 Great music and announcing both get very repetitious by the end of one season
  • Control: 4 Madden's controls may be confusing to newbs, but they are very responsive
  • Difficulty: 3 Rewind and custom difficulty levels make this an easy game to pick up, but All-Madden is still for pros only
  • Gameplay: 3.5 Football is a great game, but both the franchise and superstar modes need much love
  • Multiplayer: 4 Few games bring out wonderful gamer competition like first person shooters and Madden
  • Online: 3 Online leagues are very welcome, but too bad they very much play like a first time effort for the series
  • Documentation: 5 If you are new to Madden, read the instruction, your intuition will not serve you well here
  • All scores are out of 5; final score is not an average of the individual score
  • Rated: Everyone, because everyone loves Madden NFL games

Guide Review - Madden NFL 09 20th Anniversary Review (PS3)

Please know that I am not a Madden hater. Read my other Madden NFL reviews and you will know that it's not true. I just have to say that for a 20th anniversary game, I expected more. There are some improvements, some quite good, but there are some problems which force me to jump on the "take your time, quit releasing annual versions" Madden NFL band wagon.

I must say Cris Collinsworth, as an announcer, is a very welcome addition. When combined with the new Backtrack option, you can see excellent announcing brewing in the future. Backtrack is a new feature that breaks down plays, randomly, and shows you what went wrong. Not only is this similar to what happens on T.V., but extremely useful in learning to play Madden. When Backtrack kicks in after a missed play, it shows not only how you threw into cover, but where the open players were... brilliant. Two complaints: first, repetitious commentary, second, not enough backtrack warning, you hit X to skip post game animation and you also skip any Backtrack replays.

All is not good in Madden NFL '09. As much as I love the presentation of the Tron-inspired Madden IQ test, it is so broken I am surprised they released it. Intended to rate your play, the offensive drills are so much easier than the game, you will be punished with a difficulty level far beyond your skill. Speaking of broken, not only does the animation constantly hiccup, sometimes interfering with play, Madden NFL '09 holds the honor of being the first game to ever cause my PS3 to freeze... I had to restart and lose several unsaved games. Finally, Madden is simply a menu mess. From the franchise mode to simply changing settings, the confusing, unnecessarily deep menus are a nightmare.

Madden NFL 09 is good, but with this budget and this developer, greatness is required. I vote for biennial Maddens, you need time to get a game right.

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