I have played many of the Madden games before and found them to be some of the most satisfying and realistic of all sporting titles even in previous generation incarnations. I basically learned about the game of American Football by playing previous Maddens and was transfixed by stats and player progression. It has always been the detail and perfectionism of Maddens that has enticed me.
So upon getting this Madden version I expected more of the same. I expected great game play, in depth exciting varied modes of play that never stagnated. I have always loved the superstar mode with the progression through the pre-draft, rookie and experienced player process. So i thought that I would start here. Superstar mode is dull in this game. You have too much choice, just move where you want, improve as much as you want even if you play terribly you still get lots of points to improve your character. After the first season I had a quarterback rated 80+ even though I had the difficulty up and barely contributed to my team. So after a day or so I moved away from this mode.
Franchise mode is now the flavor of the day and it is GOOD. There are many improvements and tweaks that really make the focus the pre-season and draft so exciting and important. The scouting system is superb and the cut-days are genius. (I especially like seeing someone I cut ending up somewhere else and falling flat on his face).
Ultimate team is decent and plays exactly like FIFA version. I have never really been into it on either format but i guess that the concept warrants its place, especially in the online world.
So franchise mode is the core of the game. It is great and in-depth and exciting. Superstar mode might as well not be there. Ultimate is good for online play. Graphics and game play work a treat. It has good longevity and multiplayer capability.
I however feel something is lacking. Something doesn't feel like it is as complete as previous versions have been. For me its superstar mode. I feel that you get rewarded for bad play, and the progress is the same if I have player that throws 30 interceptions compared to one that throws 30 touchdowns. It feels like it has been glanced over and minimal effort has been put in.
Superstar mode feels stripped back and all the things that made t decent have gone. To prove this point there is one glaring stupidity, no matter what your player rating is or what team you chose to go to, your player starts. 67 rated quarterback at the Packers, definitely shouldn't start but does. Its either stupid management, bad draft picks or just bad game design, I'm going for the latter. I loved that in previous versions that you got drafted to team weak in that position and had to work your way up and help the team by performing better each week. Now it might as well be a series of exhibition games with no real outcome.
I hate to be overly critical but as the previous version have set the bar so high this was definitely closer to going down to three stars than going up to five.