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Still, when viewed as a complete football package, this game offers quite a bit. If you go in expecting a more kid-friendly and arcade version of Madden (which at this point should be expected on the Wii), you won’t be disappointed.
Despite its issues, Madden NFL 11 is still a good football game, especially if you're into arcade sports games. If you're into the nuance, realism, or the sim-heavy elements of Madden, you're better off picking it up on another system. If you're ok with having a little light-hearted fun, perhaps with a group of three friends in the comfort of your own home, then Madden NFL 11 is the right fit for you.
Wii games come in three kinds: those that get rushed for the quick buck, those that receive a faithful and respectful amount of development time, and those that come from Nintendo. This year’s Madden NFL 11 definitely fits the second description, and to be honest, if more developers were inclined to offer fun and bright experiences for Nintendo’s home console, gamers wouldn’t have a white brick collecting dust on their shelves for long periods of time. It may not be the most amazing football game ever created, but EA Tiburon deserves a nice pat on the back.
At the end of the day, Madden NFL 11 doesn't bring enough new worthwhile content to the table to bring it beyond the bar set by last year's game. It's still a very functional and enjoyable game of football at its core, but the franchise mode isn't the big step forward that anyone who was excited about the addition was hoping for. Five-on-five is fun enough, but again, it doesn't really add much. Here's hoping that EA Sports can put some real weight behind next year's game to innovate the franchise a bit more on Nintendo's system.
While it’s by no means the defining game, Madden NFL 11 on the Wii is simply solid—nothing more and nothing less. The game is a joy to play, and the new Franchise Mode is something that should keep armchair quarterbacks busy for a little while. And because it’ll only keep players busy for a little while, it’s easy to see that the game still suffers from being overly casual. It’s a point that was made against last year’s game—there’s no reason why EA shouldn’t be supporting the Classic Controller or even the GameCube controller for use with the game. Not only would it increase the game’s overall value, but it would also give football fans who only own a Wii more of a reason to stick with the series.
The preponderance of big plays is the main reason Madden struggles to capture the feeling of the real sport. Whether you're slinging bombs downfield on offense, lighting people up with big hits on defense, or returning kicks for touchdowns on special teams, there are lots of huge moments in Madden 11 even on higher difficulty levels. With so many explosive plays, though, Madden struggles to capture the strategic joy a more realistic approach would have offered. And since there are still rules to worry about, this game isn't able to home in on the joy of pure arcade action. Madden is still a fun game, but it has a serious identity crisis.