With EA’s great track record at supporting Nintendo’s ambitious consoles I am glad to see they are still up to their old tricks by making sure at least one sports game is on the shelves come 3DS launch day. For many of you Madden will seem a bit of a turkey, I mean come on, we are in the UK, where is the football (soccer) eh, EA? Unlike most year stamped Madden games, this seems to be a stop gap for the next main release but fear not as it at least shows us what the 3DS is really capable of.
Madden NFL Football is a single player only experience, giving you the chance to play as your favourite NFL team in single games or in a full season. Both versions can be played with the 5vs.5 rule, allowing for more frantic, score heavy games, or if you wish you can stick to the traditional 11vs.11.
The offensive and defensive rules of the game are very easy to follow, partly due to the very easy to use controls, with dive tackles and strafing for the defensive and strong arms and turns for the attack all placed on the face buttons. To make the game even more accessible there is even an All Play button which, when pressed will pick the best move to perform at that moment. As the offensive side you will also have control of the Quarterback and again this is very easy to pull off with each receiver having a corresponding button to press hovering over their head, which will turn green when open for either a lob or bullet pass.
For those that are new to the sport and have not mentally noted all of the play books, fear not, as you have Gameflow; by pressing A at the start of each play the game will work out the best tactics, speeding up the game and making the game flow more, giving it a great pick up and play arcade feel. For more depth you can flick through the playbooks and select what is best for you using the easy to navigate bottom touch screen system. To go even further, if you have a game winning move up your sleeve you can even create and alter your own plays with simple drag and point commands with the stylus.
Though it seems a little light on content with it being only single player, sadly having no Streetpass and lacking many of the larger console game modes like Franchise or Be the Star, there are still opportunities to trade and purchase other players to boost your roster which adds a little longevity and variety to the game during the season play-offs.
Graphically, the initial 3D view takes a lot of getting used to as your eyes are just not trained yet, initially you may get serious double vision, an effect I have noticed on all of the 3DS releases so far; to counter this turn 3D off then slide it back on full slowly, allowing your eyes to adjust and to witness some awesome 3D visuals. The action is very smooth with the 3DS coping well with a very crowded field of players, managing to put you right in the action with decent looking players of various sizes plus a sweet camera shake every time you take a crushing tackle. There is a great sense of depth to the field, making you want to move the console around just to soak in the atmosphere and listen to the crowd and commentators. The dual screen of the 3DS also allows for the action at the top to be relatively clutter free with all of the menu driven selections and play choices taking place on the bottom touch screen.
Just like with the Wii, EA have grasped the basic principles of the 3DS, with great graphics, a clutter free main screen supplemented by an easy to use touch screen and plenty of hand holding for those new to the sport. Overall Madden is a great pick up and play game, but also a long burner due to the included full season mode.
Words by Ash Buchanan.
You can purchase your copy of Madden Football 3D here.