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Those that have turned their back after the relatively poor showing of the previous titles can safely return and for those NFL fans that have yet to try this franchise, then you could not have hoped for a better introduction. Although for those that have no idea about NFL and haven't seen a game before, then either start watching (Five and Sky Sports cover the televised games in the UK) or try before you buy. One thing that can hardly be denied though is that Madden NFL 09, is the best American Football game out and the best in the franchises 20 year history.
Without a doubt, Madden 09 is still a day-one purchase for gridiron junkies. We’ll happily play all season long, during which we’ll invent a thousand more reasons to love and hate it all at the same time. No matter what, though, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t a tad disappointed that this year’s version didn’t make the same jump we’d gotten accustomed to the last two years. We were ready for the ’73 Dolphins, but got the ’84 ‘Fins instead.
If you're stuck with a PS2 and only a PS2, then keep in mind that you're not going to be playing a game that's all that different from Madden '08. If you've never played a Madden title before, though, then this version might be the one to pick up, simply because the Family play option is a pretty solid starter for new football players, and it's a decent way of getting yourself somewhat familiar with the series. If you own a current-gen console, I'd definitely suggest going with that option over the PS2 one. Online play is better, the game looks and sounds better, and there aren't any considerable improvements in the gameplay for the PS2 version that you won't find on the other titles.
(Aug 12, 2008)
There's a point where you can tell that the emphasis has shifted to a newer console and its development cycle – Madden NFL 09 seems to have crossed that line, particularly because the gameplay feels so much like last year's title with only a handful of changes made here and there. The casual focus seems to have taken over much of the title, and while Family Play will be enjoyable for newcomers and beginners, veterans will quickly become bored or annoyed by the lack of innovation found here. It's not a horrible game, but it just doesn't do anything new at all, making it a watered down copy of last year's game with only mild items to keep your attention for a few minutes here and there.
In all, Madden NFL 09 is a wonderful game for football lovers. Heck, EA has the formula so down-pat by now, how could it not be a good title? However, it fails to offer enough reasons for those who spent their money on last year's installment to purchase this one. Where updated titles usually feature upgrades in gameplay and new challenges, Madden 09 takes somewhat of a step backwards in its concentration on offering even more simplified controls and the new Family Play mode. Still, for those who haven't been keeping up with Madden in the past few years, this is a great title, while not offering many improvements since 08.