Madden NFL 10 Wii
Published by: EA Sports
Developed by: EA Sports
If the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Madden NFL 10 look and feel as though they are pushing the series as close to realism as possible, the Wii version definitely feels as though it's heading in the opposite direction. The game is enjoyable and its support for 4-player action is admirable but it does feel rather like an arcade style representation of the sport and it may not be what Wii-owning Madden NFL fans had been hoping for.
The modes on offer in Madden NFL 10 are Play Now (which includes 5-on-5, 11-on-11 and practice options), Madden Showdown, Road to the Super Bowl, Mini-Games, Huddle-Up and Online. It's worth noting that you're going to get the most fun out of this game if you're playing with friends. Huddle-Up allows you to team up with a less experienced player. You'll play the game as normal whilst your companion can do things like knock down opposing players to make your life a little easier. Madden Showdown allows up to four players to compete in a series of games. The rules can be customised and you can make the experience as bizarre as you wish (making players temporarily invisible if you wish or selecting the turbo option to speed up the action). You can even make bets on various aspects of each game with the Showdown Points.
The multiplayer fun doesn't stop there however. Road to the Super Bowl allows up to four players to play through an entire season with the ultimate goal being to win the Super Bowl. Players can drop in and out at any time they want so you don't have to have the four players there all of the time allowing you to carry on with the mode whilst your friends are absent. Both the Road to the Super Bowl and the Madden Showdown modes give you the choice of playing 5-on-5 or 11-on-11 which helps to add an interesting twist and some variation to the modes. Whilst online play is offered here, and works well, there is no online franchise mode to keep you coming back for more which is disappointing. Mini-Games has Mini-Camp, Multiplayer Mini-Games and Mini-Camp Competition variations with the latter two also supporting up to four players.
The most glaring omission from the above list of modes is, of course, a Franchise mode, at least that's the way it first looks. The Franchise mode is where most Madden NFL players spend the bulk of their time with the game so it's a little surprising that it's initially unavailable. In fact, along with the Superstar and Situation modes, the Franchise mode is an unlockable extra. The decision not to make the Franchise mode immediately available is baffling in all honesty. Having said that, the Franchise mode here is very basic and just doesn't stand up to ones found in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. It also feels as though it's been ripped from an older version of the game. The menus have a basic look about them and you can't even use a cursor to navigate the menus like you can in the rest of the game.
Quite a few of the EA Sports titles for the Wii have featured a simplified control system, entitled All-Play, in recent years and it's present once again in Madden NFL 10. The All-Play controls are greatly simplified and allow anyone to jump in and play the game without having to learn what they would deem to be a complex control scheme. Essentially the All-Play controls use a point and click system and it has to be said that they work well. Some Wii remote gestures are required but you never feel as though you're waggling the remote excessively which is certainly a good thing. The Advanced controls work well too and offer a little more depth for those who want to feel more in control of the action.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Wii version of Madden NFL 10 is the look of the game. Obviously the developers are not going to make this version look anywhere near as realistic as the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, in fact the Wii seems incapable of getting above the standards set by the PS2 and Xbox in sports games, so it's no surprise that the game has been given a new visual style. In short, the game now has more a cartoon styling which initially seems kind of odd when you first play the game. Still, cartoon look aside, the load times and frame rate are both fairly decent. The presentation is lacking in comparison with other versions of Madden NFL 10 but it's certainly OK.
As with all the versions of Madden NFL we've seen to date, Madden NFL 10 isn't a bad experience for deaf gamers but none of the speech in the game is subtitled. You'll miss out on the game commentary and the Ask Madden comments amongst other things. There are some voices given out through the Wii remote speaker. These omissions are disappointing but don't really harm the experience in any serious way. You'll still be able to enjoy the various modes in the game without any real problems.
Madden NFL 10 for the Wii just isn't the same experience as what you'll find on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Whilst no one expected to have the visual quality of those versions, it's probably not unreasonable to hope the game would have had the same level of depth but that sadly isn't the case here. This Wii version has a strong focus on the local multiplayer experience and when played with friends it can be enjoyable. As a single-player experience it's not the most compelling Madden NFL experience to date and even when you've unlocked the modes that should have been available from the start, you'll be disappointed to find that they feel dated compared with the same modes you'll find in other versions of Madden NFL 10.