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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Electronic Arts

 

Developer

EA Tiburon

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

November 2005

 

 

- Gorgeous game...

- Good multiplayer fun

- Seamless transition between the end of a play and choosing the next one

- Solid controls

 

 

- ...if you have a good TV

- Experienced players will have no problem winning

- A beautiful shell but not much on the inside

 

Review: Madden NFL 06 (XB)

Review: NFL Street 2 (PS2)

Review: NCAA Football 06 (XB)

 

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Madden NFL 06

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

Football fans will fall in love with Madden NFL 06's glorious graphics.  It's like staring off into a palmy Hawaiian sunset as you quaff champagne and munch strawberries.  Naked.  With your many girlfriends and/or wife applying lotion to your sunburned body.  The scene is just so mesmerizing that you can't tear your eyes away or even blink.  If you died when the sun finally slipped behind the horizon you would know that your life had ended on the highest of high notes.

 

That is, as long as you had your glasses on you would know your life ended on a high note.

 

madden nfl 06          madden nfl 06

 

What I mean to say is that Madden NFL 06 is a great looking game provided you have the right equipment.  On my (now) piddly 21" TV Madden NFL 06 could barely have passed as a "next-gen" title.  The text was almost completely unreadable -- What plays am I running? I had no clear idea -- and it seems that 3" on either side of the viewable area was simply lopped off.  Now, hooked-up to a hi-def TV... the difference is practically night and day.  I can see everything, all the fuzziness has suddenly snapped into focus, sharp focus, and the details are just super to look at.  That said, Madden NFL 06 features an interior that is only enjoyable in short bursts or with a buddy.  It's mostly looks and little in the way of substance.

 

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Most of the features of the PS2, Xbox and GC versions of Madden NFL 06 that made that iteration so successful (notwithstanding the fact it was the only NFL licensed game in town) have been carved out.  Where did Practice Mode go?  What about the mini-camp mode?  Create-a-player?  I would love the ability to make my own gang-bangin' receiver in hi-def but I can't.  Although I have only wild speculative 

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guesses, my money would be on the idea that EA needed to get Madden NFL 06 out the door as close to the launch of the 360 as possible and dropkicked a number of half-finished features.  While I don't necessarily disagree with dropping features that just aren't working these shortcomings seem so standard that when they aren't included it seems like a massive oversight.  But watch out for next year...

 

Also somewhat of an oversight is the fact I can score almost at will.  I barely acknowledge the NFL's existence -- hockey and lacrosse are more my game -- so why can I score a touchdown whenever the hell I want?  Is it my CFL mentality, where the passing game lords over the running game?  Even on the higher difficulty settings I could consult my four-year old daughter as to what plays I should run and net a positive result (though she was less successful during Live games).  If randomly choosing plays isn't your thing, Madden NFL 06 incorporates advice from the big guy himself, John Madden.  He can walk you through almost anything.

 

madden nfl 06          madden nfl 06

 

Madden NFL 06's audio is pretty good.  The crowds respond in a somewhat believable manner (but if you're blowing out the opposition during an away game, the stadium doesn't empty) and the commentary, though somewhat utilitarian, gets the job done.  On the music side, you don't have to put up with a bunch of crummy licensed tunes.  It seems EA's rush to allow Madden NFL 06 to hit the launch date of the 360 they didn't have enough time to incorporate the usual sad sack collection of tunes. (Don't change that EA!)

 

A special word on control: great.  The controls are extremely responsive and during human vs. human games, the controls really shine.  Running down a receiver or intercepting a pass really shows off how "on" the controls are.

 

At the end of the day, Madden NFL 06 is the best looking football game on the market.  It's definitely not the most full-featured football game available.  But is it worth a purchase?  If you love your football, yes.  Otherwise, wait until next year when I'm sure the franchise will hit its full stride on the 360.

 

- Omni

(January 5, 2006)

 

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