Madden NFL Arcade - PlayStation Network Review

With the Super Bowl upon us, this seems like the perfect time to talk football.  I already reviewed Madden this year, and if you want to review it, you'll see that I enjoyed it despite its several glaring flaws.  So I decided to review Madden NFL Arcade, which I picked up some time ago when it was on sale for $5 on the PlayStation Network.  It's unlikely this game is on anyone's radar right now, but because the NFL is going to be a theme today, I decided I should do my civic duty here and warn you away from this title.

Basically, this was a way for EA to try and capture over-the-top fast and furious football action without any of the slowdown found in the actual Madden sim.  The experience is a game that seems confused right from the get-go as you play with smaller teams and with altered rules that just are not as much fun as they should be.  Do not confuse this game with the recent Blitz release, though their style has a few things in common

Graphics - 6:

The characters are as over-the-top as the game, harkening back to the 'old days' when Madden kickers looked more like middle linebackers with a sort of chunky style that lacks detail.  Worse than that are the animations.  I realize this game is a couple of years old now, but the motions are often choppy and lack the same feel that the modern Madden titles have.  Up close the models look decent when paused, but in motion they look worse.

Sound & Music - 5:

Nothing memorable music-wise, the sound effects offer very little variety and the stadium itself feels quite empty.  You hear cheers and hits, but most sports titles have announcing of some sort.  Of course, that can be a disaster if you screw it up - but there it does not exist at all and there is just very little to listen to or help engage the player.

Gameplay -6:

There are not a lot of plays to choose from.  I don't expect the depth of a true Madden release, but this is pretty light all the same.  The characters do not move or respond particularly well either, which goes hand-in-hand with the stiff animations.  The menus are thankfully easy to get around to, but the game itself just feels clunky.

Intangibles - 5:

You get real NFL players and teams, which is nice.  But you're just playing in exhibition mode.  There is no season, no franchise - nothing that gives you a sense of the growth that you find in most sports titles nowadays.  A few quick games here and there may be marginally fun for a short time, but there is really nothing to keep you coming back.

Overall 5.5:

Stay clear of this game.  Seriously, it feels like a dinosaur that lacks the charm of a Sega Genesis Madden title, NES Super Tecmo Bowl game, the current Madden franchise titles or even true pick-up-and-play arcade fun.  I got this game at 1/3 of the normal price, and still feel like it was a bad purchase.  Hopefully the Super Bowl will be a lot more fun than this.