Madden 11 HD for iPad - first impressions

I haven't owned a console since the Super Nintendo, or played Madden since the 92 edition, but when I saw that Madden 11 was available in iPad for just €10 I jumped on it. (Yeah, I'm an expat, but I grew up in Eggertsville)

The game makes a pretty solid impression, for - what is it, 12 bux US? - you definitely can't go wrong. It's game 5 of my season and, after squishing the phish in an exhibition game, Buffalo is 3:2 going into the game with the Ravens. That alone makes the game worth it. (We'd be 5:0, but it took a couple of games to really learn how to play)


The controls are pretty straightforward, but calling plays can be a mess. If you want to take the plays that Madden suggests on defense, he'll put you in a 4:3 a lot of the time, or in inappropriate zone coverage with no pressure on the passer or real run defense. So on defense you definitely need to call your own plays.

One of the highlights is the Total Control function, where you can change coverages before the play starts. For example, if you have a play where  the game wants Byrd to blitz and Whitner in coverage, you can very easily draw a line on the touchscreen for Whitner what route he should blitz and draw a line on the screen for Byrd where his zone should be - or put him in man coverage by drawing a line to the guy he should cover. VERY COOL.


Offensively the playcalling is a lot better, if you don't want to choose a formation and then a run, Madden does a pretty good job of selecting plays. If you don't like the play you can always hit the playbook button pre-snap and select what you want to run.

On offense you have the same hot route feature, and you can dynamically draw new routes for any of your receivers or backs to run. This is pretty cool, because it seems like the more traffic you can generate around your intended receiver, the more defenders you can pull off him. If you can get Lee in single coverage, he's a monster. Even against Revis he'll pull in anything that's even remotely in his area. Also, in the red zone, you sometimes need to shorted the routes the receivers run. If you have a receiver on a go or a fly route, and it's a long one, they'll just run to the back of the endzone and stand there. Defenders will then just stand next to them and wait to break up the pass. It's hard to see your receiver, so you need to make sure he has a route that will keep him clean.

One slightly annoying thing is that it's difficult to time your passes, because the QB isn't always ready to throw. I find it's best to drop back a couple of steps (if not in the shotgun anyway - Trent is a *monster* out of the gun) and then let the QB get set, and then he'll pass. Not sure if this varies by quarterback or not.

Running (either with a back or YAC) is fun. Rather than old-school moves where you had to know whether sprint was square or circle on the controller - I could never get those right - there are buttons right on the screen for your moves. Offensively you just have sprint and spin unless you put it into slow-motion where you have a couple more. Slow-mo can be awesome for breaking around a defender, but it's hard to use accurately at times. Kicking extra points can be tedious, however, this probably isn't a problem the Bills will be confronted with in the regular season.

Roster changes and personnel after the jump.

One of the first things I had to do was fix the roster. Madden has Fitz starting at quarterback, backed up by #5. After a few series with Fitzy it was clear that Trent is the way to go. As I said above, Trent Edwards is a monster out of the gun. If you ever need yardage fast, Shotgun -> QK Attack is the way to go.

Lee Evans is the first receiver, backed up by Roscoe and Easley. This puts Lee out on the left wide, mostly on short slants and outs. This sucks if you actually want to pass to him. Often, by the time you get him the ball, he's already out of bounds. So I moved Lee Evans to the number 2 receiver, putting him on the right where he gets a lot of GO routes. Much better. If you can get Lee in single coverage, and have time to pass, he'll usually beat his defender and be ready for a big catch.

Roscoe Parrish is also excellent, and super fast. After moving him to number 3 (which lines up in the slot) he can use his speed to get open, which he does a lot. Roscoe is also excellent after the catch, burning defenders with sprints.

Marcus Easley (I have him lining up on the left side as the number one wideout) has amazing hands. He'll catch anything you throw at him, but usually goes down with the football before running far. If you see your guys are all in traffic, Easley is probably the best bet, as he'll usually come up with the football.

On the running back front, Madden isn't really made to use multiple backs. Fred Jackson is excellent in the game as is Marshawn. So I have Marshawn starting at fullback and Freddy at halfback, which allows you to choose which runner you want by choosing a play either for fullback or halfback. If you have Marshawn Lynch, who can block pretty well, why ever give McIntyre the football?

CJ Spiller does nothing by default on Madden, so I have him catching punts and kicks. He can break out sometimes, but generally the opposing team kicks away from him.

All in all, if you have an iPad and like football, this game is fun.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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