Madden NFL for the Wii is back with the 2010 series of Madden NFL games. As with all the Madden NFL games, EA Tiburon is the development studio behind the title, this year marking the fourth edition of the series on the Wii. In the previous three years EA Tiburon opted for a more realistic visual style, but this year rings in a new cartoonish style, along with an assortment of other additions.
Dropping into the game the first noticeable change is definitely the visuals. The entire menu system is pointer based, making selecting modes, games, and options effortless. Once actually in the game, every aspect of the visuals is changed from 09 to be more casual-gamer friendly. Players look exaggerated and cartoony, and the fields and stadiums do a good job of fitting in with the new style. The style lends itself well to the game as the collection of modes for this edition certainly feel geared for new-comers and series fans alike, with options ideal for casual players to hop into.
Right off the top is Play Now mode. Fairly straight forward, players choose the away and home teams, select difficulty, and quarter length, among other options. If multiple players are playing locally each can choose what team to settle on as well. Gameplay centres obviously around the the game of American Football, but the controls and execution are where the innovation in the Madden series lies. Although, for gamers that aren't at all familiar with football, Madden NFL 10 for the Wii certainly does a good job of being easy to get into. Matches start off with a coin toss between teams to determine which team will be kicking and which will be receiving, as well as which end of the field each team will play on at the start of the match.
After the first play, players are then asked which control style they would like to use for passing. There's Point and Pass, as well as Directional Passing, the former allowing players to simply choose their receiver by pointing the Wii Remote, and the latter mapping receivers to the directional buttons, and with a flick of the Wii Remote the ball passes to a receiver. Unless players are exceptional at aiming the Wii Remote, Directional Passing works better among the two as it booth feels great, and works fast. Following this, whether playing defense or offense, players then begin the cycle of plays and downs.
The selecting of defensive or offensive plays is also broken into different degrees of experience: All-Play, Intermediate, and Advanced. With All-Play, players can choose from three standard plays for offense and defense, and with Intermediate and Advanced, many more plays are at players' disposal. There's also the familiar, Ask Madden, to help players choose a play when they're not sure. When actually running through a play, the game is quite fun. The AI proves quite smart as it can basically play itself on the lesser difficulties, but it does prove more and more of a challenge in the harder difficulties. Playing offense is certainly the most fun to be had, with controls to run, use a stiff arm, spin, break a tackle, and more.
Scoring a touchdown allows for some victory dance options, though no indication is given to the multiple victory dance icons, so it's basically a guessing game to put some icing on a big score. Graphically speaking, the new cartoon style lends itself well to standard definition. As opposed to a lot of detail, the style opts for a smooth look that animates well. Animation itself is great as tackles look realistic, although the hands of players are permanently stuck flat, and it looks a little odd.
Beside Play Now, the other Modes available are Madden Showdown, Road to the Superbowl, Mini-Games, Huddle-Up, and Online. There's no modes involving customization of teams or players in this entry of the series. Madden Showdown is similar to Play Now, but there are a number of game changer options added to the mix, like Tug Of War (only 1 down), Turbo Mode and All Passing Plays. The mode is great for bringing a lot of laughs to Madden, and the available game changers can be mixed and matched as well. Huddle-Up is a two player mode where the first player controls the team, and the second player controls a trigger that can blow down players on the opposition team. The mode is good for bringing a friend into the game that doesn't necessarily like football that much.
Road to the Superbowl is the lead mode to be enjoyed. Settings are fairly scaled back compared to the other Madden NFL 10 titles on other platforms, and alongside the other modes it really makes Madden NFL 10 on the Wii feel more focused on the casual audience. Every mode can also be played as 5-on-5 as well, a simplified version of the usually 11-on-11 game. 5-on-5 plays great, with play selection further simplified.
Madden NFL 10 for the Wii isn't quite the NFL simulator gamers might expect. EA has done a lot in changing modes, bringing in 5-on-5 everywhere, and overhauling the visual style of the game; it makes the game feel refreshed for 2010. The accessibility and pick-up-and-play feeling of the game really caters to casual gamers, but this entry should only really be considered by NFL fans who aren't overly serious about the sport. It's a good introduction, but definitely isn't for the hardcore fan.