Well, Madden NFL 11 has hit the shelves. I had mine preordered through Wal-Mart and delivered today. Unfortunately I received a completely smashed game case, with the outer plastic wrap tore to hell. Thanks Fed-Ex. Luckily the game was in good shape. Now I'm not big on buying Madden every year, since it tends to be a regurgitated version of the previous year's release... but I couldn't pass up the chance to play with a rising Jamaal Charles, two speedster rookies in Berry and McCluster, and oh, yeah... Thomas Jones. Last years lackluster roster had me skip on the 2010 release. This year was just too enticing. After the jump I've got my thoughts and impressions on the Chiefs in Madden 11.
After err... opening it?... I played a couple of games with my brother in law. I was the Chiefs, he was the Falcons... he's a big time Gonzo fan. First thing I noticed was the presentation. Madden (at least what I was familiar with) was always just a quick shot of the stadium the teams were playing in and a couple of shots of key players. This year they offer about a 60 second "pre-game" show featuring a shot of the stadium, opposing QBs stepping of the bus, rowdy fans, and teams doing their little "huddle-up pep rallies". All the while the broadcasters are talking about players from the teams. Let me say a couple of things now about the commentary. One, Mdden is gone. I'm both thrilled and saddened by this. The brain stabbingly bland commentary he gave is gone... YAY. The "booms" are gone... Boo! I forget who replaced him, but he's all right. Two, Chris Collinsworth is back... eehhh. Thankfully I haven't heard any of his "back in my day" additions that no one cares about. That's a relief. OK, on to the Chiefs in Madden11.
Observation # 1: Jamaal Charles is FREAKING AWESOME! In the 3 games I've played, he hasn't averaged under 7 YPC. The guy is always good for a big chunk of yardage. Using him, I tore the Chargers up in Franchise Mode with 124 yards rushing and another 73 yards reciving. They couldn't touch him. He bounces off tacklers, or just flat out makes them miss. I think I could probably win a game with only two plays, both in basic single back formation: HB Counter weak side, HB Pitch strong side. Pairing him with Thomas Jones as a two headed running attack is going to totally make me a hated player online. Which brings me to my next observation.
Observation # 2: Thomas Jones makes the Chiefs running game an absolute animal. Jamaal is tired you say? OK... sub TJ in and... BOOM... I'll run the ball between the tackles and you can't do diddly squat but sit there and take it in the chin. It's totally freakish in how effective you can be with the Chiefs in this Madden. Pairing these two RBs to build up a good Play Action attack is a lot of fun. Jamaal eludes players, Jones goes through them or just drags them behind him. If this has even a shred of realistic representation to what KC can do on the ground this year... oh man.
Observation # 3: Dexter McCluster. 'Nough said. Talk about some play makers for the Chiefs on this Madden. I had to go into the depth chart and move him from 4th WR to the 3rd WR position, but after that, he's good to go. Just like we're hoping for in real life, DMC creates some serious mismatches. He gets open... a lot. I haven't included him in my running game, because of what I pointed out above. It's uneccesary. In the first franchise game I played (against SD) DMC and JC were the stars. DMC hauled in 2 TDs, and caught receptions worth a total of 70-some odd-yards. He's fun.
Observation # 4: Matt Cassel. He's good on short passing routes, but I've had some trouble with him overthrowing WRs.. surprise, surprise :) Sometimes his throws are pretty eratic, but I have noticed something: In the game I played against my brother in law, he took the lead in the 4th quarter with 1:50 to go in the game. Cassel's accuracy seemed to improve in the final minutes. I answered back with a 9 play drive where Cassel threw accurately all the way into the endzone. It might just be my imagination playing with me... or there might be clutch characteristics for certain players. Either way, Cassel is, IMO, fairly rated for this game. He can get the job done, you just have to be careful in relying on him.
Observation # 5: Eric Berry. He's fast. But he doesn't catch real well... surprisingly. Leave him for the CPU to control and he flies to the ball carrier, makes decent tackles and is generally a solid player. I like using him and roaming the secondary, breaking to the ball carrier and using the "Hit Stick" to punish receivers. Haven't forced any fumbles yet, but I've broken up a lot of passes with him. He also gets up in the box fast on running plays. Jarrad Page is playing opposite of him,so the safety tandem for the Chiefs in Madden 11 is pretty damn good. All in all Berry has a lot of potential in the game (Just like real life?)...
Observation # 6: The defense. They can get to the QB. Maybe it's just how I play, and the plays I pick, but the Chiefs defense humilitated the Chargers offense on Franchise Mode (I play at All-Pro difficulty, if you're wondering). An ass whooping of 38-10 is something I'll love to see when I'm sitting in the stands on September 13th. One particular play that comes to mind (I had to save the replay, it was too cool) was where I sent Demorrio Williams in on a blitz, and had Hali blitz in between the LT and LG. Hali knocked McNeill on his ass, and Williams hit Rivers as he threw. Hali snagged the ball out of the air, running it about 40 yards for a TD. Bottom line is the defense is fun. That's surprising. There are several players you feel comfortable controlling... between Berry, Hali, Dorsey and DJ, you have options to play all over the field.
Let's go ahead and use this post to discuss our thoughts on Madden 11. I know there are several APers out there that got it. Let's hear your thoughts. If anyone is up for a game on XBL, my GT is IxAMxSNIPERFROG. See you on the Grid Iron!