Wii

North America

Madden NFL '09 All-Play

by Neal Ronaghan - August 24, 2008, 9:14 am PDT
Total comments: 13

8

The most Blitz-like a Madden game will probably ever be.

Thanks to the addition of All-Play, this year's Wii Madden game has finally distanced itself from its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 counterparts. While the other versions best the Wii version graphically, Madden NFL 09 All-Play is good for rookie and veterans alike. The growing distinction between the Wii edition and other platforms is a welcome one, because it seemed like previous Wii Maddens suffered from trying to be too much like the 360 and PS3 installments. The best thing about this new direction is that it is not lacking any major modes that the other versions offer, despite its unique presentation. In addition, it adds new modes such as 5-on-5 and Party Mode.

The big focus this year is All-Play mode. All-Play mode is much like last year's Family Play mode, except it is more involved because it uses both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk. It is also a lot more effective in introducing the game of Madden to younger players, or someone who hasn't played Madden since the jump to 3D. You are still given basic control over your entire team, but the controls are simplified so that a lot of the confusing modifiers (like line shifts and choosing receivers) are eliminated.

With this simple and more arcade-like presentation, Madden NFL 09 All-Play seems to be bridging the gap between Madden games and Midway's Blitz series. While the same solid gameplay is present throughout, there are numerous touches that make the game more like an arcade affair than recent entries in the franchise. The new celebration mode is a prime example; whenever a player on your team scores a touchdown, registers a clutch sack, or intercepts the ball, you are taken to a cut scene during which you can pump up your player by shaking the Wii Remote and Nunchuk furiously.

At the center of this Blitz-like revolution is the new 5-on-5 mode. Using big-headed characters, this mode incorporates simple plays and is a showcase for the new Call Your Shots mode. Call Your Shots mode allows you to use the Wii Remote pointer to direct your receiver wherever you want. This new mode is intuitive, and also highly effective in game situations during 5-on-5 mode and regular play.

The Party Mode, which was introduced in last year's edition, has seen little to no improvement; it's still the same series of stale mini-games and inane football trivia. Hell, most of the mini-games don't really support the four players they advertise. While Miis seem to be a big part of Party Mode, they're really only used as avatars (and by the way, I am still waiting for the ability to make a football team out of my Miis). The only other cool use of Miis is the fact that they appear as in-game referees.

EA's obvious Mii influence reveals a lot of graphical flaws in the big-headed fun of the 5-on-5 mode. While it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the mode, the big-headed graphics remind me of the characters in Goldeneye on Nintendo 64. The graphics in other modes are roughly the same. There’s a lot of clipping issues, and even though it doesn't take away from the game very much, it places Madden’s visuals in the "typically sub-par third-party effort" category.

On the other hand, the flaws in Madden 09’s controls do indeed make the game less enjoyable. For the most part, the controls work well and are generally intuitive. However, the motion to pass and the motion to evade a defender are the basically the same, and since the game has a hard time distinguishing between the two, your quarterback gets sacked an abnormally high number of times.

The game includes just about every mode that Madden fans are used to such as Franchise, Superstar, and the Online Play that was introduced last year. Franchise and Superstar mode haven't been changed too much from previous outings, but they still offer the in-depth experience they always have. Online play is serviceable, and thankfully not as laggy as it was last year.

Overall, Madden NFL 09 All-Play is a very fun game for casual football video game fans. If you don’t want to invest the time to learn the complex controls of football video games or aren’t concerned with learning the rules and nuances of the game, then this is the version for you. Madden fanatics accustomed to the more complex controls and granular strategic options of other versions will probably want to stick with those versions instead.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6 8 7 8 9 8
Graphics
6

Not much better looking than the Gamecube versions, but it still plays smoothly.

Sound
8

Despite the tired play-by-play Maddenisms, the game still has crisp sound and a decent soundtrack.

Control
7

Thanks to the addition of All-Play, the controls have a much better learning curve. They work well for the most part, but the game sometimes has a hard time distinguishing one motion from another.

Gameplay
8

With intuitive gameplay for the Madden rookies and veterans, it offers fun and accessible gameplay with some depth if you want it.

Lastability
9

If you are into football, you can spend a long time in Franchise mode. The 5-on-5 multiplayer also has decent legs despite its simplicity.

Final
8

Sports fans on the Wii can begin to celebrate as Madden is slowly coming into its own. Casual sports fans can also celebrate, because All-Play definitely helps those typically turned off by Madden's complex button schemes. The Madden “hardcore” may appreciate the 360 and PS3 versions more, but Madden 09 All-Play should please newcomers and veterans alike.

Summary

Pros
  • 5-on-5 mode is great for multiplayer
  • All-Play mode works well
  • Nice blend of simulation and arcade
Cons
  • Graphics don't impress
  • Motion control still has issues
  • Other multiplayer modes are generally poor
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

Quote from: nron10

On the other hand, the flaws in Madden 09’s controls do indeed make the game less enjoyable.  For the most part, the controls work well and are generally intuitive.  However, the motion to pass and the motion to evade a defender are the basically the same, and since the game has a hard time distinguishing between the two, your quarterback gets sacked an abnormally high number of times.   

I've played this game quite a bit and haven't noticed this at all. I do get sacked an abnormally high number of times, but that's because I'm no good at reading coverage and I spend too much time looking for a receiver and not paying attention to my QB.

MonteblancoAugust 25, 2008

Would this Madden be a good recommendation to someone with only a marginal interest in football? Or Tecmo Bowl still be a superior choice?

Quote from: Monteblanco

Would this Madden be a good recommendation to someone with only a marginal interest in football? Or Tecmo Bowl still be a superior choice?

Tecmo Bowl is not really comparable to any other football game and if the eventual Wii version retains the gameplay from Tecmo Super Bowl, then it is the superior choice.
This year's Madden is probably better for the person who likes football a lot but is put off by football video games. Personally, I used to love Madden when I was younger but I sort of grew out of it. Wii Madden is perfect for me because it still offers the stuff like franchise mode but doesn't take itself as seriously.

D_AverageAugust 25, 2008

Quote from: nron10

The most Blitz-like a Madden game will probably ever be.
http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/reviewArt.cfm?artid=16587

On the other hand, the flaws in Madden 09’s controls do indeed make the game less enjoyable.  For the most part, the controls work well and are generally intuitive.  However, the motion to pass and the motion to evade a defender are the basically the same, and since the game has a hard time distinguishing between the two, your quarterback gets sacked an abnormally high number of times.   

Agreed.  Additionally, I have a lot of trouble distinguishing which receiver is which by the tiny highlighted D Pad floating above them.  Trying to distinguish that, evade rushers, and get the pass off hitting the right D Pad and swinging your arm is pretty tricky. 

That said, I wish the game had Gamecube or Classic Controller support.  Other than that though, I'm having a good time w/ it and it was definitely worth purchasing.

WuTangTurtleAugust 30, 2008

Has anyone played the game extensively yet?  I ask because Madden 08 on the Wii had some crashes.  I never looked into why but from what i noticed it seemed to be selecting a play sort of quickly or skipping a pop up during the game.  It only happened when playing in the franchise mode (thats the only mode i play).

It kind of aggravated me because i didn't notice it until i started the 2nd year in franchise mode and now it occurs probably every 2-3 times i play a game.  I have to learn to be more patient when selecting plays i guess....

I'm halfway into the first season of a franchise and haven't noticed anything like that.

Has anyone else been pressing the button to throw to one receiver and then the QB throws the ball to someone else (usually the play's primary receiver) or is it my fault? It hasn't happened too many times but it's caused more than a few interceptions. Maybe the developers of the game based Derek Anderson's stats completely on the second Bengals game, that would explain this behavior completely.

Quote from: WuTangTurtle

Has anyone played the game extensively yet?  I ask because Madden 08 on the Wii had some crashes.  I never looked into why but from what i noticed it seemed to be selecting a play sort of quickly or skipping a pop up during the game.  It only happened when playing in the franchise mode (thats the only mode i play).

It kind of aggravated me because i didn't notice it until i started the 2nd year in franchise mode and now it occurs probably every 2-3 times i play a game.  I have to learn to be more patient when selecting plays i guess....

I've noticed similar things but I haven't had any crashes.
I keep on having this little pause after I select a play. It really makes multiplayer dumb because the play you select kind of just sits there for a little while.

If you're worried about that you could always use the bluff play.

D_AverageAugust 30, 2008

Quote from: insanolord

I'm halfway into the first season of a franchise and haven't noticed anything like that.

Has anyone else been pressing the button to throw to one receiver and then the QB throws the ball to someone else (usually the play's primary receiver) or is it my fault? It hasn't happened too many times but it's caused more than a few interceptions. Maybe the developers of the game based Derek Anderson's stats completely on the second Bengals game, that would explain this behavior completely.

Happens all the DAMN time!  Thats why my biggest gripe is no classic or GC controller support.

Good to know I'm not doing it wrong. Or maybe we're both doing it wrong. Either way, despite it's flaws, I'm loving this game. I just need to at least finish my first season before NHL 2K9 comes out. And maybe go back and play some more MLB 2K8, I don't think I'm more than 2 weeks into that season.

I'm in the same boat. I think I'm 6 games into my season. I'm really enjoying it though and it'll get play throughout the football season.
I hope NHL 2K9 doesn't suck.

Quote from: nron10

I hope NHL 2K9 doesn't suck.

The controls sound great, and as long as it has fewer bugs than MLB 2K8 (not a very high bar considering that game had a bug that totally screwed up your franchise unless you went through a certain process before moving from one season to the next) it should be good.

Is anybody still playing this game at all?
In the NFL Playoff fervor, I've broken it out on occasion and it's still a good time. It held up a lot better than I expected.

Share + Bookmark





Genre Sports
Developer Tiburon (EA)
Players1 - 4
Online1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Madden NFL '09 All-Play
Release Aug 12, 2008
PublisherElectronic Arts
Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement