I have to admit I was hesitant in purchasing Madden 11 for the Wii. The game doesn’t look as good as the PS3/XBox 360 versions. There is no option to create a player. There is no superstar mode. There is no fantasy draft. So does the Wii version carve out its own path or should it be avoided all together?
The one major factor that separates the Wii version from the PS3/XBox 360 versions is the ability to use the Wii Motionplus. For the most part it works. You flick the remote foward quickly for a bullet pass and slowly for a lob pass. You shake the remote for a power move. You can flick the remote up for an interception and down to tip a pass. However, punting and kicking field goals seems cumbersome. I point the remote on the ground while pressing button
A and then flicking it up. Still I get a bad punt or a missed field goal. Using the nunchuck to control the players may seem complicated but it becomes second nature after a few games.
While the graphics aren’t jaw dropping they do have a certain charm to them. EA Sports has been using the exaggerated and cartoony player models since madden 10 and it suits the system very well. The player models do look good for the most part but the wide receivers are too skinny. For the first time the Wii version has weather effects and they look pretty good. The weather greatly affects gameplay. The field and uniforms degrade over the course of the game which adds a really nice touch.
There is no option for using the classic controller but hopefully future iterations will include it. You can either play the game using the point and pass or gesture passing. I prefer the latter. There is the point and pass system. It is a nice mechanic for beginners and it allows them to point a receiver, running back, or tight end and simply throw the ball in their direction. A mechanic that I really enjoyed was call your shots. You click on a player and draw a line for a specific route you choose for him. A new addition to Madden 11 is Gameflow which is designed to play the game in a shorter period of time. It isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The playbook gets reduced from 350 plays to 1 which severely limits your options. The CPU selects your play according to the situation but it doesn’t always work. If you have 1 minute remaining in the game and your trailing by 7 points and the CPU decides to run the ball your out of luck.
There is also a fully revamped franchise mode. You have three assistants which will affect your legacy. You have the business person who is only concerned about money. You have a bluechip type person who cares solely about your performance. Lastly, you have your overly crazed fan who cares about fan support. All three assistants have goals that need to be accomplished accordingly. Your performance greatly affects your team. Go on a big winning stream and you will have a statue carved out. Buildings will be beautiful. Fans will be filling the stadiums. However, if you go on a long losing streak and fans will want you ousted. Buildings will degrade and there will be trash littered. It adds a personality to the game I for one was glad EA Sports included it in the Wii version.
There is also a 5 on 5 arcade. Its pretty bland. You have four downs to score. There are no field goals or punts. It’s a nice mode to goof around with but its nothing special. Having special power ups or special moves would’ve been nice. In this aspect I would rather play the NFL Street games. Hopefully EA Sports will greatly improve on this mode in future releases.
The audio is pretty good which features NFL Classics and some Ozzy Osbourne. It’s safe to say that it’s the best Madden soundtrack ever. The usually over-the-top Gus Johnson seems very reserved. It wasn’t as good as I had hoped. Cris Collinsworth’s commentary is pretty good although he can get repetitive at times. EA Sports could have included more lines of commentary but I guess there is only so much commentary that they can included in a sports video game.
Madden 11 for the Wii may not revolutionize the franchise but it is a solid game despite the few setbacks that it has. It’s all about fun for the Wii and in that aspect Madden 11 delivers.