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Valdarez's Blog
Madden 11 Demo Impression 
Posted on July 27, 2010 at 09:29 PM.

First thing I noticed when playing the game was Gus Johnson coming through all 7 of my speakers, which was nice as few games make use of all surround sound properly, especially on the 360. The next thing I noticed was that the rendering yet again has not been fix. Animations are not fluid and it still looks like I'm looking at a flip through book book from the 1920s rather than a game rendered on a current generation console much less at even 30 FPS.

On the first kickoff I was amazed as my kicker 'slid' about 2 yards to the right to make a catch. Yes, slid. No footwork, nothing. Just slid over for the catch. Then on my return, I was even more shocked to see my HB making 3 to 4 yard strides. That's 10 to 12 feet per stride! I pointed that out after the E3 demo, but looks like it fell on deaf ears and was for naught. Sliding is also evident when players accelerate / slow down when the toe is down. This is another thing I pointed out after the E3 demos, which again was for naught.

As I continued to play, I really liked Gus Johnson's play calling, but I HATED the offensive coordinator, who didn't last long at all (about 1 drive for me). I turned GameFlow off in the 2nd QTR as well. Though on my 2nd game I began using it again, as you still can't play a game and be challenged using your own play calling. The AI did seem to be better than last year, but that's not exactly saying a whole lot in and of itself. For the AI game to get better, they are going to have to map out offensive plays and the defensive plays that stop them, and then the same thing on a per route basis. I'm not sure Tiburon has desire to bring that level of strategy to their game.

Gus Johnson is a great commentator and sounds good in Madden. The commentator is FAR better in Madden 11. Gus outshines Hammond like the Sun outshines the moon. Unfortunately the commentary in Madden hasn't been upgraded. There is a TON of dead space. It still doesn't sound like a football game. There is no banter. Everything the commentators talk about is driven by an event on the field. Without something happening the commentator's are apparently sitting there twiddling there thumbs wondering what to say next.

Run blocking is improved when running from the line of scrimmage, though you'll still see a blocker turn around to block 'his man' who may be 5 yards back and out of the play effectively allowing you get lit up by an incoming defensive player. Blocking has not been improved in general, as players continue to look confused on punt/kick returns. Not that it matters as kick/punt coverage hasn't been improved as defensive players continue to have no concept of their lanes and simply track towards the ball carrier. Still, run blocking is improved enough to make run blocking a far more enjoyable experience than it has been in Madden for a long, long time.

After I scored, I got to see the new kicking mechanism where Madden 11 easily sets kicking back by a good 10 years which is sad. There was nothing horribly wrong with the kicking mechanism in Madden 10 (though it could have used a small tweak), it just needed to be tuned better and provide better feedback so users understood what they did wrong. Bad decision to add a kicking meter.

Saw a new 1st down animation in the game, which looked good. Had 5 fumbles in my first game (mostly by the CPU 2 to 3), but not a single Fight for the Fumble animation which is disappointing. I liked it in Madden 10. While repetitive due to the single animation, it made the game feel more realistic. No clue why they would remove it. Again, bad decision.


I dislike GameFlow, dislike the Strategy Pad, and dislike that new offensive coordinator audio. Locomotion has sliding when players stand still (as in my kick return), improper stride lengths, and sliding on nearly all toe down animations when starting/stopping. Gus Johnson is a great commentator who improves Madden's commentary, but commentary remains subpar due to lack of banter between Gus and Chris who feel as though they are in separate zip codes. Run blocking is improved, but not fixed completely. Madden 11 doesn't feel like a step forward at all, especially after playing NCAA 2011 which I feel is easily the better game this year. Instead it feels like what Madden 10 should have been gameplay wise, with a lot of unnecessary things added to the game that provide no value for this gamer.
# 1 Valdarez @ Jul 27
Testing out the route based passing now. Just threw a pass to a receiver who was running his route over a LB who was standing still. The LB reacted as expected, but due to locomotion wasn't able to accelerate fast enough to make the play. There was no warping to the ball either, which is something that's still a problem in NCAA 2011. Still testing, but hoping that's how the game plays and not just a fluke test!
# 2 uiucjpo @ Jul 28
Route based passing, how I miss thee.

Tried to throw an in route a step too early... the pass led the receiver as if on a go route... which is just where the DB was... pick 6. Back to APF 2k8.
# 3 Valdarez @ Jul 28
So here's the thing. You can throw against guys that are stationary from what I can see and when there is no coverage guy on your receiver. However, you cannot throw against a covered receiver. Locomotion is preventing the defensive player that is standing still from moving, reacting, warping to the ball (yea!), but the game is still not respecting inside/outside/up/down coverage of the receiver and it doesn't force the receiver to run the route the same way the defender does when the defender is covered thus resulting in the defender being prepared for the ball well before the receiver and in unrealistic interceptions.
# 4 uiucjpo @ Jul 28
I think the unrealistic man to man coverage and low ball trajectory are whats keeping this game from the next level. Has been for years, and still isn't fixed. Despite Ian's blog from last year lol. I see none of this in 09 or 10:
# 5 PGaither84 @ Jul 28
Good read, on point, A-.

Madden 11 alone looks to be an improvement on Madden 10. When you play NCAA 11, Madden 11 is a disappointment. We don't live in jar. 2k5, 2k8, NCAA11 are out there. unless the retail copy of Madden 11 blows me away, I think this will be the first year in many years I have not purchased Madden. I'm happy with NCAA11.
# 6 Valdarez @ Jul 28
Exactly PG, NCAA just feels more authentic, and I think a lot of it has to do with the atmosphere (though Madden has improvements) and the fact that EA's Football engine, with all of it's spacticity tends to fit the not quite ready for prime time collegiate play.
# 7 AndyP @ Jul 29
Nice writeup, so many good points made.
# 8 Valdarez @ Jul 29
Thanks. I hope it's accurate and fair. If there are any positive points I failed to mention, please feel free to list them. I may be glossing over some of the jumps since I have been playing NCAA 2010 and many of the improvements to the game were found there.
# 9 bigsmallwood @ Jul 30
Very accurate write up. An even bigger beef for me with Madden 11 demo (and probably the final version) is the lack of presentation. Between NFL 2K5, NBA 2K and Live/Elite series....FIFA World Cup 2010 etc. Everybody seems to have an authentic feel to their presentation and it is pretty detailed. Especially in 2K5 and World Cup....why has EA/Madden for 6years continued to ignore a proper presentation? They keep saying we didn't have time etc. etc...but the Lack of stats on players within the game, No Highlights, No banter between the commentators, Especially Gus Johnson who is outstanding in real just hurts this game. And that is not even mentioning the gameplay aspects you mentioned above....IDK when it will get better....Anyway A+ blog fam'!
# 10 Valdarez @ Jul 30
There are some stats showing up, but they are in a black box that shows up and dissappears really fast over the main bar at the bottom. The one overlay with with player info was wasted on an Ad, though I hope they continue to flesh that out and we get better stats like you're looking for in future revisions of the game.

A lot of people point to MLB as the best presentation in sports gaming, but for my money it's NBA 2K10, and I expect NBA 2K11 to be even better after hearing that the 2K guys hired an actual NBA Product (or Director? forget now) to come in and help them make their presentation better. What's funny is no one would say 2K Sports needs it in their NBA 2K10 game, yet they are saying 'it's not good enough', and most people would say EA Sports needs it badly in their NCAA/Madden games, yet they are saying 'We've had it for years'. *sigh*
# 11 bigsmallwood @ Jul 30
@Valdarez: Good points about MLB and NBA 2K. MLB the Show does have a REAL presentation that is spot on!

It is funny that one team is saying "it's not good enough" and Building a better brand.....the other team is saying "we have had it for years"....and they have the resources to make it the greatest ever, yet they choose not to get it. *smh* We shall see man, we shall see.
# 12 pntdj @ Aug 8
I've given up on madden, after madden 10 couldn't wait for this one to come out thinking they would actually fix things. Instead they add pointless features like least I have 2k10
# 13 pntdj @ Aug 8
Valdarez will you be making sliders for Madden 11, cuz your madden 10 sliders were great, made the game a lot funner. If so then I think I'll get the game..
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