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Monday, November 22, 2004
I received my copy of Madden 2005 last week, and I spent some time this weekend playing it on my Tungsten T. For those who like handheld gaming, I thought I would offer this assessment.
First, some criticisms:
Playbook. I have only played with 3 different teams, but I noticed that they shared the same playbook. I am glad that at least plays can be flipped, but it would be nice to see plays specific to each team (i.e. the stretch play for the Colts).
Awkward passing mechanism. When I try to throw to the #3 receiver, many times I end up throwing the ball out of bounds (which is tied to button #3). The feel for the passing game is not as good as it is with the PS/XBox game. Given the fact that a PDA is not designed for gaming, I expected some limitations, but I think the selection of pass receivers is an issue that can be fixed.
Running plays. Running is very difficult between the tackles, but sometimes too easy on the edge. In a 10 minute game, I rushed for 330 yards with Priest Holmes by running nothing more than toss sweeps.
In the console version, you can control the lead blocker, and let the RB follow you. If this is possible on the handheld version, I haven't figured out how to accomplish it.
Multiplayer via Bluetooth would have been a nice addition. Rumors are that this functionality will be available as a patch later in the year.
Repetitive commentary becomes annoying. So does the constant bleat of airhorns. There is no mechanism for turning off commentary and background sounds separate from turning off all game noise. In other words, I would like to keep the crowd and game noise, without having the annoyances of Michaels/Madden, and airhorns.
The AI engine needs some major work - I traded a fourth string RB on the Colts for Priest Holmes (an absurdity that even salary cap issues wouldn’t allow). There should be some AI mechanism for refusing such trades, or at least the option for it. Also, I got an offensive pass interference call on a run play. When playing KC, and leading 14-7, I faced a fake punt by the Chiefs... TWICE, on the same drive. And, I noticed a definite repetition of play calls. In fact, KC only called four different plays the ENTIRE game.
Despite the negatives, I recommend this game for the Palm, as it is a quality first-pass product, especially for a handheld. Graphics are amazingly decent in comparison to the console versions of Madden 2005. I am hopeful that some of the issues above will be addressed in the second version.
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