PS3 Reviews: Madden NFL 09 Review

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Madden NFL 09 Review

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Replay Value:



Online Gameplay:



Overall Rating:       9.0






EA Sports

Number Of Players:

1-4 (2 Online)



Release Date:

It's the most popular and well known sports franchise in the world, and without it, EA may not be the gargantuan powerhouse they are today. The Madden series has gone through a horde of competition over the past 20 years: GameDay, Quarterback Club, and especially NFL 2K being the most notable. But no matter the football sim, Madden had no problem outselling them all combined. Now, Madden is the only name in town, and while plenty are still bitter about it, at least we continue to get a quality product. Perhaps the past two Maddens didn't offer any major improvements...but Madden 09 feels like an all new game.

The most frequent complaint I've always made about Madden games is how they never felt quick enough. Gameplay always had a tendency to feel a bit on the choppy side, never truly making Madden feel like it's evolving. For that reason, my personal preference had been the 2K games, they felt more fluid, quicker, and there was a much better connection between the gamer and the athletes on screen. But all of that changes with this year's Madden game, as Madden no longer feels outdated, but rather fresh.

When I first played Madden NFL '09 two months ago during the Madden 20th Anniversary party in New York City, my buddy and I immediately noted how much smoother the game felt. The pace of the game now has that fluidity that the series has been missing, and controlling your players feels superb. As a result of these refinements, the action is now tighter and more precise - gone is that feeling of sloppiness from the past Madden games.

So now that the gameplay feels far more intuitive than before, what does this mean? Well, for starters it means you get a less frustrating experience. Better controls also call for more responsive actions, and that means far less controller throwing, and fighting between you and your friends...believe me, I've been there many, many times. To further improve the intuitive experience is the all new Virtual Training Center (VTC) for Madden 09.

The VTC is the first thing you'll encounter upon booting up the game, and here's where good ol' Papa Madden will explain to you that Madden NFL '09 has a system that can create a customized difficulty level based on your skills. You will go through a series of tests (all of which you can skip), and be graded on them anywhere between Rookie to All Madden. Once you've finished the tests, the game assess your Madden IQ and then creates a custom difficulty level specifically for you. This trial of tests can be repeated at anytime if you'd like to refine your custom difficulty level.

One of the game's 85 new features is a Rewind option that allows you to trigger a re-do that'll rewind the last play and give you another shot. You can set how many rewinds each team is allowed to have per game, and I suggest setting it to zero. This is football, mistakes and upsets are part of the equation. By now, I'm certain that you're well aware that there are a horde of new enhancements and features added to Madden 09, and I obviously can't go into detail explaining them all. But I can say that as a whole, all of those changes have made this the best playing Madden game, and certainly the best playing football game since NFL 2K5.

As far as gameplay modes go, you've got: Franchise, Superstar, Virtual Trainer, Madden Test, Madden Moments, Mini-Games, and Practice. The Virtual Trainer is where you'll go to hone your skills, and the Madden Test is where you'll go to show that you've improved in hopes of getting a better evaluation and harder custom difficulty. The Franchise mode and the way that it creates and tracks your gameplay statistics has been completely redone for the first time since the mode's inception.

The Madden Moments mode is a highlight-reel mode where you'll replay some of the biggest moments from the 2007 NFL season. A Fantasy Football mode has been implemented into this year's Madden, a welcome addition, as the "game" has grown immensely popular all across the country. Lastly, EA has brought back a number of very important features from the PS2/Xbox Maddens, something that the fanbase has been calling for for the past two years now. Online is consistent and smooth, and those who've poured countless hours into last year's game will, no doubt, do the very same for this year's.

Visually, an improved graphics engine carries Madden NFL '09, and allows us to forgive EA for shanking the PlayStation 3's Madden 08 last year with its inferior visuals and framerate. Madden NFL 09 is a performer with its spot-on 60 frames per second, 720p resolution, and very clean picture quality. For Madden '09, Tiburon has re-rendered every NFL player model in the game, creating much more realistic looking athletes, complete with their accurate physiques. The overall look of Madden NFL '09 is a polished one; the grass doesn't look blotchy, the rain and snow look very nice, the lighting is superb, and there is a minimal presence as far as jaggies are concerned. Even though it's still leagues off from EA's CG trailer from 2005, Madden NFL 09 is a good looking title.

One other big feature for the game's visuals is how super smooth each animation is. No longer do animations chop from one to the other, most of the time the action moves very fluidly and smoothly. Furthermore, tackles are more dynamic than past iterations, keeping the momentum feeling fresh and exciting. The weather now has a direct affect on gameplay, as rainy and snowy conditions make players more prone to slipping, sliding, dropping the ball, and so forth.

Audio is handled by Cris Collinsworth and Tom Hammond, both of which take control of the commentary booth for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions. Al Michaels and John Madden take the reigns of the booth in the PS2, PSP, Wii, and Xbox versions. The commentary in Madden '09 is a definite step forward compared to the past games, as the commentators now have more to say about each match, player, and event. An example of this improved commentary is hearing the commentators mention that they spoke to a certain player some days ago, before the on-going match, and asked the player how he felt about a particular scenario. Little things like that help improve the overall presentation. And of course, to wrap the audio up is a soundtrack...with a mixed bag of artists. Acts include The Offspring, Airbourne, Franz Ferdinand, Senses Fail, and others I'd rather not mention.

All in all, Madden NFL '09 is the first Madden game I have enjoyed with very few peeves to complain about. Tiburon has done a fantastic job at bringing us a game that controls superbly well, looks smooth, runs quick, and boasts a horde of enhancements to make this the best Madden game ever. Madden fans don't need me to tell them that this one's worth the purchase, but if, somehow, you're still on the fence and need a push, Madden '09 is definitely worth your time.

8/27/2008 Arnold Katayev

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New Comment System

Legacy Comment System (20 posts)

Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 12:32:27 AM

I am sorry Arnold but where can I get that copy of Madden 09 because my version is nothing like the one you reviewed.
The animations are sub-par with the running animations looks so robotic it makes Stephen Harper look human.(Canadian joke, don't feel bad if you don't know who it is) Players will jump in out of nowhere and stop you dead in your tracks, momentum doesn't matter as a person's leg will stop your run dead in your tracks.
I will agree with you on that 09 is better than 08, but 08 was a broken title that only worked part of the time. Also, the core mechanics of online, quick game and franchise have been improved from last year.
The biggest downsides to the game are the previous animation issues, a useless superstar mode that is almost identical to last years, just with a considerably harder leveling system. When I mean identical, I mean the exact same e-mails from the same five people word for word. There is no trophy support and no custom music. 2.4 has been out for months now and there is no reason why this wasn't added in. It is also very annoying to get an updated roster from EA online as the only way to get it is to look for an online game and then it will scan to see if there was a roster update.
In the end, the game is better than last year, but it is not hard to improve from a 0. The game now works but NES Play Action Football is still more fluid in the animation department. Several features of the game were just ported over from '08 which makes the game dull and boring. If you are a Football fan you will buy this game as it is the only football game out there. If you are on the fence...let it go and find a new sport to cheer for.

Graphics:7 (Looks pretty and details are there, but movement is so robotic you will laugh...then look at your bill....then cry a little inside)
Gameplay:7 (Core mechanics have been improved but with glitches in the AI where they run out of bounds when someone gets within 20 yards of them kills your abilities to make good plays)
Sound:8 (Sound is very good and commentary in all modes but superstar is good...but no commentary in superstar mode, whats up with that?)
Control:6 (Animation and AI glitches make controls sluggish and poor. You can very easily break tackles by pushing the "x" button (stiff arm) and destroy people with your running game.)
Replay Value:6 (No ingenuity, innovation or even just a script change. It is the exact same thing as last year. Any of the multi-year modes will get boring quickly.)
Online Gameplay:9 (It's Madden online. They know how to do this well. The only reason it is not higher is the difficulty in downloading the new rosters for offline play.)
Overall Score 6.5/10

Last edited by McWhoopin on 8/28/2008 12:55:31 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 1:14:21 AM

Thanks, but if you want to issue a user review in the future, please use the forums.

And for the record...not many reviewers out there are going to agree with you. In fact, none that I can find.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 12:40:34 AM

Yea football games have sucked since ps1 im sorry arnold but good review. i have madden 97. it blows this game away. not even kidding. because every time i play it on ps3 im thinking wow at one time in my life i was impressed with this. now its like...

-they tried so little to make it look like they tried so hard...

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 3:55:54 AM

Sorry Ben, I know for the future. I know no reviewers have given Madden a low score and I am baffled by it. I was also baffled by the low scores that reviewers gave to Lair...but that is a whole other discussion.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 5:06:50 AM

I'm sorry Ben and Arnold but this installment of Madden doesn't deserve a 9. It desreves and average score of 7. The rewind feature is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever seen or even heard of!

I'm shocked that Madden says they have ESPN, so where exctly is this MYSTERIOUS ESPN coverage??? Please don't tell me the sports ticker qualifies for the ESPN license.

I'm highly disappointed once again with this years Madden. Its sickening to think a game from over 3 years ago (NFL 2k5) is still better than a so-called football simulator. I find it so hard to believe that the presentation from 2k5 is far more better than that of a Next football game. I'm glad that annoucers are back on this installment. Collinsworth is a breathe of fresh air, but I wish I could say the same 4 Hammond.

Well my biggest gripe about Madden is that its tryin to appeal to casual football fans or someone bein introduced to Madden. It doesn't feel like a simulation anymore. I know I'm tough on Madden but its the only football game out. So Madden needs to take some pointers off of 2k5.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 8:53:47 AM

regardless of the fact that i like college ball more than the pros, i still think NCAA 09 is better football than Madden 09

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 9:24:29 AM

Longtime lurker, first time poster. I felt the need to register to help fan the flames of all this Madden hate. First off Ben and Arnold, this is a very very great website you have going here and I enjoy the unbiased opinions and constant updates. This is always my first stop for PS news. I must say I have to totally agree with Arnold and Ben on this one. Madden this year is a HUGE leap from last year. Have any of you guys played Madden 08, it was an absolute horrid piece of garbage; framerate issues, horrible control, etc. etc. This year's game blows it out of the water and is the first of this next gen to actually give that "PS2 Madden Feel" which is a huge reason why Madden became such a phenomenon. I have been playing Madden since 92' on the Sega Genesis days, running with Walter Payton and the 85 Bears and I really got hooked on PS2 Madden, purchasing every year and playing it absolutely too much. Next gen Maddens have utterly disappointed me and this is the first one that reminds how much fun Madden can be. Don't get me wrong EA is short changing the video game industry a lot these days, but folks Arnold is dead on about this years Madden. It is well worth the purchase.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 11:07:55 AM

Thanks for the compliment. :)

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 8:45:09 PM

I have to agree with nremdn.

First off I love this site also. This is the first site (and sometimes only site) I check for PS news when I get home from work each day. Ben and Arnold do a great job on this site.
I also have to agree with Arnold's review. I've played the older Madden's and this new one just feels good, has given me realistic gameplay so far, and is fun to play. It's a big step up from 07 and 08 on the PS3 which I'm thankful for.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 9:40:16 AM

It sucks! they ran like headless chickens.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 10:48:53 AM

l have had the PS3 since launch and have only bought the PS2 version of Madden up until Madden 09. I should have stuck with the PS2 version again this year

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photo K
Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 12:38:25 PM

I bought 08 and 09 for the ps3 and while the 2009 version is a much much better version than 2008, I still can't convert. I still play my Madden 07 for the ps2 over any next gen version. Is it just me or is the gameplay or animations just not playing like the ps2 generations? Something about the way players run on the field doesnt seem real. Also the way all the players are tackled, it almost always seems like hits are exaggerated on the next gen version. I guess a lot of us are old school and prefer the old gameplay and animation styles. I'm still leaving some hope as the patches and DLC should help fix some of the issues. I think that the optional legacy controller config would help a great deal as that creates lots of problems for me when playing next gen. I still don't know why it was changed in 2008, after years of having the same controller config, why change it? At least have an option to change it for long time fans. Thanks

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Tim Speed24
Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 2:22:11 PM

I bought 07 and 08 and was severely disappointed. Madden 09 wasn't even on my list untill I saw it in action at Best Buy. I bought 09 and it is one of the best Maddens I've ever played.

The only thing that I have noticed is the all out run animation seems a little wonky. Everything on!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 3:32:30 PM

After seeing the trailer and reading all the previews of all the new features and updates this years' version was getting, I almost went out and purchased this one on release day. But remembering how much I've been disappointed with each new rendition, I decided to rent it first. After playing it for a week I can safely say that I am not impressed. I really haven't seen anything that really sets this apart from it's predecessors. I for one will stay with the 2K series and hope for a new Tecmo Bowl as well.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 3:38:52 PM

I have to agree with Arnold this is the best NFL game i have played since 2k5. For all the crybabies, you do know that EA created the ps2 version of for all you guy's right? the next time someone decides to compare this madden to some 97 game make sure its within the last 2 years not 10. the only time i use the NFL rewind is when friends and family are over so just to let you guy's know you can turn it off. i think that all the real ps3 people would embrace this game rather than comparing to an old game that looks nothing like realistic (madden 97) at least the crowd does not look like a bunch of paper Mario's with block head's. if you can't stop playing a game with an extremely outdated roster and choppy graphics i recommend you get a life and move on.

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photo K
Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 5:03:15 PM

kb8mvp81 - lol, I don't compare it to madden 97, but I compare it to ps2 maddens 05-07, and I just don't see many of the new features as improvements. This is only my opinion of course... the new weapon system? isnt that the same as the "player roles" feature? The graphics are welcome, but the smoothness of the animations arent as realistic, I prefer 06 and 07 on the ps2. Some of us are just old school and don't need a ton of new features.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008 @ 10:21:58 PM

We have so many knit-picky gamers here. :P
But yeah I agree with arnold on this one. And EA has earned my trust. Go Broncos. Cutler ftw!!!!

Last edited by The_Chimeran on 8/28/2008 10:24:42 PM

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Friday, August 29, 2008 @ 12:48:12 PM

I prefer the PS2 Madden 09 over the PS3 version. I also still play Madden 08 on my PS2. For some odd reason, it seems EA is having issues getting Madden anywhere near the level of the PS2 versions.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008 @ 10:53:20 PM

I don't know how in the Hell this years Madden on Ps3 gets a 9. Apparently, I must be playing a different game than you guys. Now compared to last year madden on PS3, it is better. But as far as overall rating I would give it a 4. The gameplay is horrible, I mean horrible. Now I will admit that I only had my PS3 for 2 Years now; however, would rather have madden on PS2 than on PS3 any day. The gameplay is better, you can run, you can play defense, you can practice during franchise mode, you can throw the deep pass and the gameplay is equal on both side when playing the computer. Now lets talk about PS3 Madden gameplay. First, no deep ball, cancel it, everytime you try to run in a whole the defender comes of the block, what is the purpose for having the truck stick on offense if you can't use it, the computer defenders come jump five yards to swat a ball, computer has hike and throw method, you know as soon as the hike the ball they throw it, where are the refs on the field as anybody seen them, special teams there is only one kick return and that is middle, user AI on defense is horrible you have men who can make a play on pass sitting in the passing lane and all of a sudden they move out of the way and overall the gameplay just suck to me. I mean there is plenty more that is wrong and the only reason I haven't taken the garbage back to the store is that it was a Birthday present to me by my wife. This years madden sucks really bad on PS3 better than last year but sucks in gameplay. If it is me please let me know. HOlla !!! Go Dolphins

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Thursday, December 30, 2010 @ 10:04:46 PM

2 years later, I just got the PS3 and Madden 11. I've been playing Madden 08, then 10 on the PS2. The PS3 has better visual, but the gameplay just blows. Can't see anything, camera angles change inappropriately, and you just can't control the players. Just unplayable. Very big disappointment.

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