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Reviews

Madden NFL 06

Still the best American footie game ever or a tired franchise losing its edge?

Somewhere deep in the bowels of EA Sports' no doubt palatial office/kingdom/secret volcano lair (I haven't been, so can't confirm which), there must be a great big filing cabinet. Inside, one expects, is a great big mess of papers with different feature 'ideas' scrawled onto each. Further conjecture would assume this drawer is opened once a year by the Madden design team, three to five 'ideas' are plucked out at random, several hours are spent bolting them haphazardly onto the previous year's game engine, a quick spit and shine applied to the graphics and boom, that year's new Madden title is good to go.

Zoom

FANTASY DRAFT
That's unfair. There's usually some pattern to it. Last year it was defence, this year it's passing play improvements. Next year it'll
probably be running plays, while Madden 08 will focus on kicking teams and Madden 09 will incorporate xTreme Street Respec' modes. Probably.

To be honest, we just wish EA Sports would sit down and make all these improvements in one go rather than ration each bit of the game out, year by year. Of course, it does this with every one of its sodding sports ranges, but that doesn't make it any less infuriating.

STAR-SPANGLED
Slightly more thought has gone into the new Superstar mode - live the life of an NFL hotshot (you even get to make movies in a strange 'acting' mini-game), while the Total Control Simulation mode turns things into a Pokémon-style card game.

Other than that, it's much the same as before - and we mean literally the same. The actual American Football side of things is no better or worse than it's ever been, putting up a perfectly good simulation of the sport (although the dodgy - and unproven - third quarter AI rally still seems to be present). Still no improvement on the graphical front mind you, with player textures looking pretty poor and a surprising lack of razzle-dazzle on the presentation front (the cheerleaders appear to have gone completely).

It's a hoary old summation, but it's sadly the truth that existing Madden-ites won't get anything you can't live without here. It seems that now EA is the sole rights holder to the official NFL licences, and the opposition has folded its tables and left, it seems to have taken its foot off the gas. Better luck next year.

The verdict

Losing its competitive edge

  • Still the best game of
  • American Footie out there
  • Superstar mode provides a change of pace
  • Official teams and players
  • Visually unimpressive
  • Can't help feeling Madden 07 will be better
7.3
Format
PC
Developer
Electronic Arts
Publisher
Electronic Arts
Genre
Action

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