Madden NFL Arcade - 360 - Preview
EA Sports’ Madden NFL franchise is definitely a powerhouse in the gaming landscape, with each annual entry constantly showing up on the bestsellers list as they are released. For the next entry to the franchise, EA Sports is doing things a little bit differently, offering up a version of the series via Xbox LIVE Arcade with Madden NFL Arcade. As you can surmise from the title, this entry to the series is much less sim-heavy than it’s disc-based predecessors, instead opting for quick and accessible matches instead of full simulations of games, Madden NFL Arcade is a title that seems to be geared towards football fans looking for good times in short bursts.
Madden NFL Arcade makes some pretty major changes to the game of football in order to foster a more fast-paced play style and higher scores on the board. The field has been shortened from 100 yards to 60, and each team is given only four downs to make it to the end zone. There are no field goals, either as extra points after a touchdown or for three points on a fourth down. While you’ll be able to automatically tack on the extra point after a touchdown, you can go for it and attempt a two-point conversion as well. Additionally, there are no penalties called, so all in all, this is definitely geared for faster gameplay, and a more frenetic pace.
Play calling has been very simplified, as well. Either on offense or defense, you’ll have access to four plays (on offense, you have one run and three passing plays and on defense, you have a blitz and three pass defense plays). This simplifies things quite a bit, avoiding the rigmarole of flipping through a full playbook and focusing on the quick and easy.
The game also adds in some power-ups called Game Changers, allowing you to do crazy things like get an extra down, swap scores with your opponents, freeze your opponents in their tracks, speed up your own team, and so on. These add an even more arcade-like feel to the gameplay, and whipping out a Game Changer at the right moment can be a rewarding experience.
Graphically, the game is also quite different from the proper Madden series. The player models have an exaggerated look to them, with the linebackers looking huge, and the receivers looking a lot more sleek and thin. The animations are pretty good as well, albeit not quite as crisp as Madden NFL 10.
Madden NFL Arcade is turning out to be the perfect game for fans looking for a quick fix. Look for it to launch on Xbox LIVE Arcade this holiday season.