Madden Ultimate Team - 360 - Preview

Since launching last August, Madden NFL 10 has been a solid title for football fans, presenting a deep feature set and vastly improved on-field play. Not one to rest on their laurels, the team at EA Tiburon are hard at work building a whole new element for the game, a free game mode called Ultimate Team.

Taking the concepts of team building to a new degree, Madden NFL 10 Ultimate Team is geared to fantasy football fanatics, allowing them to use an intuitive card-based system to build their own football dream team. This new mode will be free of charge for Madden NFL 10 owners, making it definitely a no-brainer if you're a football fan looking to extend your Madden experience to a new level this year.

Your starting deck in Ultimate Team won't be composed of the best players, so don't expect to have Peyton Manning in your roster when you start out. Instead, you'll begin with relatively poor players, but by competing and playing games you'll earn coins which can then be spent on new decks and better players. Earning enough coinage to get a deck of better players requires a pretty hefty investment of time, meaning that players can expect to spend a good couple of months creating their team. However, should you want to circumvent the time commitment, the game will allow you to use Microsoft Points to purchase better decks instead; it's up to you if you'd rather spend time or money building your deck.

The game gives you three different decks to choose from when using your coins: a bronze deck (which carries the same benefits as your starter deck, and is thusly a waste of money), a silver pack, gold pack, and finally the platinum pack. These give you better players and the opportunity to earn more coins from better on-field performance, but are successively more expensive. The platinum pack is the best one of the group, but it will run you 9,000 coins (or 240 Microsoft Points should you buy one outright). However, regardless of the cost, these provide you with the best players in the game. The players that you get in the platinum packs aren't just the top ones today, but it will also take players at their best moments throughout their careers, giving you maximum benefit.

The core gameplay in Madden NFL 10 hasn't changed, and Ultimate Team is simply meant to supplement your gameplay experience with a new mode. The game is essentially the same as it was before, but football fans who loved Madden NFL 10 should definitely grab this free download when it launches next month.

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