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The Day Local Multiplayer Died in the Madden NFL Series

by Neal Ronaghan - August 31, 2012, 8:32 am PDT
Total comments: 7

Neal mourns the end of Madden on Wii and its spectacular local multiplayer offerings.

The reveal of Madden NFL 13 on Wii U went as I expected to some degree. Outside of the missing features from the other HD versions (which, to me, isn't a ridiculous proposition given the tight development schedule Madden games are on), it is the first time that a Nintendo system is receiving a comparable version to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I am excited for it, because I think using the GamePad for Madden could be awesome.

Still, I bought Madden NFL 13 for Xbox 360 this year, largely because I love football and the Wii version is almost literally the same game as last year with a roster update. I've been enjoying the hell out of that game, but I'm constantly reminded of the fact that the local multiplayer experience is very low on the totem pole. Madden on 360 and PS3 is meant to be played by yourself or with your buddies online. It's a far cry from Madden Wii's focus on the local party experience. To me, that is a damn shame.

As I've written about for four years (seriously), Madden on Wii has been a fantastic game year after year despite its graphical shortcomings. It has the groundwork of a tried-and-true simulation experience (some years better than others), and it also has some of the most compelling local multiplayer modes I have ever played in a sports game.

After this year, that compelling multiplayer mode will likely be gone from the series. Madden NFL Arcade was a nice attempt at taking some of it to XBLA and PSN, but that was a very limited and basic game. NFL Blitz lives up to the crown well enough, but still, Madden on Wii has a degree of customization in its multiplayer that hasn't really been matched. You can do 5-on-5 or 11-on-11. You can do round robin tournaments easily. You can play a mode where one person plays a game, and the other person points at the screen and knocks down defenders (which is so much fun).

I've spent most of my time discussing Madden Wii with people defending Madden Wii. Those games weren't for the people who buy Madden every year. It was for more casual football fans. It was for me, who lapsed playing Madden around 2004/2005. Because of Madden Wii, I'm crazy into Madden again and playing the 360 version. At the end of the day, I just wish the Wii U version would merge the Wii and the HD experience together, instead of eschewing its roots to be on the same level as the other games.


OblivionAugust 31, 2012

Good luck convincing anyone who isn't already a Nintendo fan that the Wii games are any good.


Good luck convincing anyone that the Wii games are any good.


Let it be known that every person, whether it's another NFL fan or someone who doesn't care about the sport, that has played local multi in Wii Madden with me has enjoyed themselves.

ejamerAugust 31, 2012

For what it's worth, I agree that Wii had by far the best local multiplayer. I also prefer good local over good online - with the caveat that as I've aged it harder to get people with time/interest to come over and play. Less enjoyable online modes might see more play just because there are always people available, even if I'm not really interested in gaming with those particular people.

SorenAugust 31, 2012

Quote from: NWR_Neal


Good luck convincing anyone that the Wii games are any good.


Let it be known that every person, whether it's another NFL fan or someone who doesn't care about the sport, that has played local multi in Wii Madden with me has enjoyed themselves.


My cousins love sports but don't care at all for football. We play the crap out of 5v5 whenever we're in a room together. Local multiplayer should have a spot in Madden, but I can understand why it won't.

The main problem with Madden was that it didn't know what it wanted to be at the start. Madden 07 was ok, but it was stuck with PS2 looks and needless waggle controls. Madden 08 brought the pointer controls, and that was progress. Once the Wii got its reputation, the game lost all of its simulation aspects and became a pure arcade experience. Except those middle games (09, 10) weren't that good. Once the dedicated Wii team got its legs under them, they actually improved the experience. 11 was greatly improved and 12 is the best of them all.

Anyone who's ever played the better Madden Wii games knows you'll get a wonderful arcade football experience. Now it's going away.

Chozo GhostAugust 31, 2012

Its only a matter of time before the Madden franchise itself dies. Madden himself retired 3 years ago. He's 76 years old now and isn't going to be around forever. Will EA still be pumping out Madden games even after John Madden has kicked the bucket?

@Chozo Ghost I don't think the Madden series is going anywhere. Even if John Madden kicks the bucket, it would be silly for EA to change the name or can the franchise entirely. It's a money maker for them.

SorenSeptember 01, 2012

When you hear "Madden" the first thing you think about is the video game. It's bigger than John Madden himself.

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