It wouldn’t be a new video game system if there weren’t at least a few sports games to go with the launch, and EA has stepped up to fill that role with a port of the Madden franchise. With the multiple options that the publisher has to choose from, you would expect EA to have a sports game ready for the launch. You just don’t expect it to be this dull.
Madden for the 3DS is an attempt to cram a complex game into a simplistic package, and as a result the video game feels more like an interpretation of football rather than a playable version of it. The game is unrefined and feels more like something you might find on the Super Nintendo than a brand new system. The features are limited, and there just isn’t anything that really pops with this title. It is almost like the game grudgingly included any features other than a play now option.
Madden offers two types of football, either 5 on 5 or 11 on 11. Both options are available in the season mode as well as the play now, and that’s about it. There is no depth at all to this title, which is surprising compared to the massive amount of player data included with the console versions. Obviously you don’t expect to have anywhere near the same sophistication in a handheld game, but this title feels like it should have just slapped on a generic “Nintendo football” name and left it at that.
The actual gameplay is alright, but it feels sluggish and limiting. You just never really feel like you are in control, and when you do pull off a big play, it feels more like luck than skill. The defense is the most obvious victim, and it feels like you have almost no control at all. In fact you can let the game use the game flow option (which picks the plays for you) and then just walk away.
The graphics aren’t bad, and the commentary is alright, although somewhat limited. The 3D is a major part, but it is somewhat odd. With half the game taking place on the touchscreen via the play calling, it can hurt your eyes to have to refocus on the 3D over and over again. Odds are you will find yourself lowering the 3D output to make it easier to see.
EA’s Madden is a solid franchise, but this release is a step back for the series in total. It feels rushed and half complete, and that is being generous. Only the most hardcore of fans that are desperate to play football on their new 3DS should consider this title.
Score: 4.5 out of 10
(This game was reviewed on the Nintendo 3DS on a copy provided by EA)