EA Madden NFL Arcade is like a miniaturized version of Madden 10, not in size but in cutting out all the extra play calling, time-pouts and strategy. It is hardcore 5 on 5 fast-paced-action without all the fuss and muss of rules like regular football titles. Think of Madden NFL Arcade like an updated version of NFL Street or Blitz for those that want a fast fun paced game of football.
You can play Madden Arcade offline or online, track leader boards and update your rosters. Offline you can play up to four players in a versus or co-op match locally. All of the standard NFL teams are present and accounted for with the only difference being that now you will be playing with the best 5 of each team. You can use the standard Madden controls to utilize the jukes or switch to a simpler Arcade style layout where there are less buttons. You can set the A.I. from Rookie to All-Madden as you are used to but now instead of a set time to play, you will instead play until a certain score.
Once you have picked your teams it is time to hit the field. Before you start the game is broken down to you as the following: No first downs, the field is only 60 yards long, no coin toss, No special teams and no time limit, enjoy. You now start out on your own 20 yard line and have 4 downs to score as the default. The standard is first player to hit 30 points wins but you can tweak that all the way up to 48 points to have a longer game and also adjust the number of downs up to 5 before turning the ball over.
On offense it is boiled down to one of 4 choices of plays: Run, Short Pass, Medium Pass, Deep Pass. Nothing can be tweaked other than flipping the play at the line of scrimmage, so don’t expect to run fancy hot routes or play actions. Pick a play and fire it off. On defense you have more of the same simplistic play calling: Blitz, Short Cover, Medium Cover and Deep Cover.
Since there are no first downs, your goal is to get as much yardage as possible every play. There are also no kicking field goals so you are going in for 6 or turning the ball over to the other team. Since you are always looking to gain a ton of yards you can almost solely pass every down and look to exploit the defensive A.I. Running is only good for goal line stances other than that drop back and pass like in Tecmo Bowl. There are fumbles and interceptions in the game but do not look to see any offside calls, or pass interference. This is straight in your face football. Once you score a touchdown you are given the option of kicking the extra point which is automatic or going for two which you will have to play out.
One thing that they did add to the game is a new feature called Game Changers. Game changers are awarded randomly before each down. There are different ones for offense and defense which you can use easily by hitting a button. Some Game Changers will give you crazy turbo, others will give you extra defenders while some will make you pass three footballs to confuse defenders. The Game Changers can change the momentum of the game and are a nice addition for this arcade style game.
The game lacks depth in the form of player progression or a franchise and is clearly geared to attract people just looking to get a quick game of football in without devoting a lot of time. The quick pace of the game is fun but can be a turn off to those players that love the chess matches of a full blown Madden game with its numerous options. The game looks crisp and the players although looking a bit comical or cartoonish come off very well for an arcade title.
EA Madden NFL Arcade is fast and fun. If you like Madden but sometimes just wanted to play a quick game instead of one that lasted you 40 minutes, this is for you. You might expect a bit more for $15 bucks but I enjoyed it and can see myself playing with buddies on Sunday before games with some beers.
Title: EA Madden NFL Arcade
Developer: EA Tiburon
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Nov. 24, 2009
Review Copy Info: A copy of this game was provided to DualShockers Inc. by the publisher for reviewing purposes.