Game Review

Madden NFL 10 Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by James Newton

Far from the Madden crowd...

Taking its graphical cues from the recent Grand Slam Tennis, Madden NFL 10 on Wii eschews the hi-def emphasis on recreating every detail of the game, favouring a more stylised - though hardly cartoony - approach to the presentation. Defensive backs are bulky chunks of muscle, wide receivers are gangly running machines and everything’s slightly more caricatured than in other incarnations. The animation is fantastic, with players hurdling over despairing dives and spinning away from tackles, and the all-new “Spotlight Moments” slow the action down to a QTE-style event where a quick flash of the Remote can see your receiver escape a last-ditch takedown or take a big hit and lose the momentum. Presentation-wise, as always, EA excels with an engaging and innovative-looking game that, for once, makes the most of what the Wii can do rather than draw unfavourable comparisons with its bigger brothers.

That’s not all that’s new to Wii, though: last year’s exclusive 5-on-5 mode returns, and plays a much quicker game of American football – the pitch is half the size, you quickly select plays with a tap of (DPAD) and it’s a touchdowns-only game, with each touchdown worth a single point and the first team to five points winning. It’s immediately gratifying and a great pick-up-and-play version of the sport, and one that gets even more interesting in the new Showdown mode.

When engaging in a Showdown with a friend, you can bet points on certain outcomes – who will win, who’ll make the longest pass etc. – and activate a number of “Game Changers”, essentially extra options to spice things up a little. These include Turbo Mode, Invisibility and Fumblitis, which makes the ball even more slippery than usual, quite an achievement considering in standard play the ball is apparently made out of an oiled knob of butter. Showdown mode is a highly enjoyable aside even for those with no previous knowledge of the sport, using as it does EA’s “All-Play” control method that gives novices access to every part of play with just a Wii Remote.

If you have the option to play with a Nunchuk, however, it’s recommended – player control becomes much easier with the (STICK) rather than the (DPAD), and although the Nunchuk’s motion-sensing abilities are only used to defend your Quarterback, it certainly feels altogether more comfortable having it in your hand.

The Madden series has been using the Wii Remote to simulate pigskin-throwing for years, with the speed of your throwing arm giving you a choice of lobs or bullet passes, but if that's not your cup of tea you can choose a point-and-pass system instead. You simply hover over your chosen receiver and press (A) to send the ball his way, and you still have the choice to send lobs or bullet passes depending on whether you tap or hold (A). Other gestures from previous entries have been simplified too – catching is now a matter of holding A and flicking the Remote up, rather than holding both Nunchuk and Remote over your head, for example. It seems in previous years Tiburon got carried away adding motion controls, and now they’re scaled back it’s created a much more enjoyable and certainly less painful experience.

There’s another new mode to Wii this year, with “Huddle-Up” giving the game a new cooperative edge. Drawing comparisons with Super Mario Galaxy’s two-player mode of all games, Huddle-Up lets another player take part as an unseen force, able to hinder and knock down opposing players with their pointer, creating extra space for the first player who continues as if nothing is wrong. It’s admittedly quite a bizarre addition to the formula and one that provides some laughs, but when All-Play is designed to let everyone play at an equal standard with just a Remote, you have to wonder why Huddle-Up made it in.

In fact, there seems a big push on cooperative play this year – Road to the Superbowl lets four players team up to take on a half-season, full season or even just the play-offs, with each player getting assessed on their contribution. With a performance bar under their Mii character, each player earns points by completing passes, sacking Quarterbacks and the like, with the aim being to win the game and keep your performance bar out of the red and in the green. If you do find yourself on the receiving end of a few bad plays, you could find yourself getting benched and replaced by a CPU player; if that happens, it’s down to your teammates to decide whether to sacrifice their performance points and bring you back or keep playing without your bumbling ineptitude dragging them down.

EA also continue to provide well in the area of online play for Wii, with another completely friend code-less system allowing you to compete against other players and also exchange custom Rosters and Franchise files with other gamers. With little to no lag and no pesky friend codes, the only disappointment with it is the lack of any online tournaments, with single matches the only way to go on Wii.

The only other disappointing aspects of Madden NFL 10 are the dodgy-looking paper crowd – a permanent fixture in any Wii sports game, sadly – and the occasionally repetitive commentary. The commentary impresses at first, with some precise observations about particular key players, but chances are you’ll hear “he put a little exclamation point after that score!”, “you better kick it from here!” and “football is an emotional game…” at least once every match, which soon diminishes the effect.


We’re not huge American Football fans here at Nintendo Life, and certainly not in the UK office where we reviewed Madden NFL 10. That said, the game proved itself to be accessible and enjoyable to everyone, regardless of any previous experience of the sport, with the hard-and-fast Showdown take on gridiron offering immediate gratification, and the Huddle-Up and Road to Superbowl modes giving plenty of scope for matches other than the traditional head-to-heads. With plenty of unlockables too including Franchise and Superstar modes, and the option to control as much or as little of the fine details as possible, Madden NFL 10 should be tremendously appealing to gridiron fanatics as well as novices looking for an entertaining first game of pigskin.

From the web

Game Trailer

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EA bring NFL back to the Wii, this time with a more stylised look to grid iron action

User Comments (24)



rhythmheavenfan said:

As for the game I am not really in to football so I won't get it.

EDIT - Please refrain from "FIRST" posts and only comment if you have a worthwhile contribution! Moderating team



James said:

@LinktotheFuture - the motion control passing does survive, there's just another option instead. Apologies for not making this clearer in the review - I've now rectified this.



ejamer said:

Interesting review - it provides a different perspective, coming from people who aren't really into the sport. Most Madden reviews I see are from people who play the series intently each year.

I'm not quite sold on this title yet though. It sounds like they put a lot of focus on multiplayer modes... is it still worth owning for single-player only action? I enjoy a good game of football, but don't often have friends come over to join in.

Also, I like the control images used - (A), (DPAD), etc. Nice touch!



James said:

I'm glad you found the review interesting, ejamer! I played a few games of Showdown with my wife but other than that I've been playing solo. The Superstar and Franchise modes - once unlocked - do give it a lot of single-player value, and I've put quite a few solo hours into it so far, and I know nothing about NFL!



Kirk said:

I really liked what I saw of this game initially, the style, but it seems from the various reviews I have read that it's a bit disappointing.

Still, I might give it a try at some point just out of curiosity.



ODOGG618 said:

Perhaps you should consult someone who is "into" American football to review the game. Would you guys trust a review on a cricket game from an American? As a fan of football and this series, I would say your review is a little generous. Did you even play previous versions? This title is HUGE, you guys need to find someone who is passionate about the game and the series to review it.



ODOGG618 said:

Another point to add is how good the game is on other consoles. I am a Nintendo fan and always will be, but I find it frustrating that the system has been around for as long as it has and they still can't get the motion controls right on games where it matters (Madden is an excellent example). The one feature that is separating them from the pack (motion controls) is turning out to be a little disappointing when it fails year after year with the third party staples.



ODOGG618 said:

Punchout is another good example. Your only chance is to use the 2 button NES controls. If anyone is gonna post that they prefer the motion controls, please post your video of beating Donkey Kong on the Wii fit board.



Strofan7 said:

This sounds like a must own for football fans. I got 08 and 10 just sounds like it has so much more to offer! It sounds like the wii version is almost becoming a game worth owning even if you already have a 360 or ps3.



Strofan7 said:

and ODOGG i kind of like how they got an outsider to review this game. Because I think the target market with Madden on the Wii is to bring in new and more casual football fans. The ones that wouldn't be buying it on ps3 and screaming about how realistic it looks. I understand where you are coming from but i sort of agree with this decision, and he posted a good review IMO. An 8 seems about right for this game on the wii.



ODOGG618 said:

Well, I would hate to think that the target market for Madden has changed to "casual football fans". It's the #1 football simulator and always has been. You can either have a complex game for hardcore fans which HAS to push realism, or a "casual" game with simple plays and only a few options. The later is what games like "Blitz" are for, NOT Madden. If you really know football, you want the full experience, which is NOT for casual gamers. Just seems like the big developers ruin their chances of making a decent game to please Nintendo. And again, why aren't the controls getting BETTER? Supermarioman, the scores should be getting higher every year, not lower....look what EA did with Tiger 2010. That's a great use of the technology and the game got better every year after 07.



thebigM said:

Just yesterday I saw Madden 09 for a budget price in a shop.

Is Madden 10 worth double the price or should I go with last years version?

btw - Madden 09 was not reviewed on this site.



RevolverLink said:

I haven't bought a copy of Madden since Madden 07, and I'll probably skip it again this year. Not because I'm sick of paying 50 bucks a year for a roster update, although that was a big reason initially, but because I'm twenty-one seasons into my Bills dynasty.

Goodness knows it's the only way I ever get to see them win.



Kid_A said:

Madden 09 was, in my opinion, the greatest Madden game ever. This just doesn't look like that much of an improvement to me, and given all the other high quality releases the Wii has this year, it just isn't practical for me to buy it. EA's gonna have to try harder next year to get my money.



LinktotheFuture said:

@Prosody That is good to hear that motion control passing is in the game, but are all the motion controls from 09 present? The review from X-Play said that the motion controls were not included at all, so maybe they missed something, they do seem to hate the Wii after all.



James said:

The passing controls are definitely included, as are the tackling controls, power moves and the way you drum the Wii Remote to shake off tackles. Things like the catching controls are thinned out, but as I never played NFL 09 I can't comment, I'm afraid. Sorry!



michael646260 said:

I don't care for the character models in this game and I will not be buying it for a few other reasons. I'm a huge football fan and from whit I've seen this is not for me. It seems that this game's main perrogative is to draw in new fans and I don't really see how you can compare the controls if you've never played 09.



megaboomface2 said:

i really want 2009 but this one i could get for another system and almost no difference i would really like it for ds

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