Madden NFL 06
Good: Tons of game modes
Bad: Loads at really weird times
Transfer: Your franchise saves to the PS2 version and vice versa
Bryan: Unlike the home editions, Madden’s handheld performance over the years has mirrored that of the Arizona Cardinals. That’s not good, people. But thankfully, the move to PSP has helped bring the portable franchise back to respectability.
On the field, this one plays just as well as (and sometimes better than) the console version. It moves extremely fast, the flashy animations help spice up the somewhere-between-PS1-and-PS2 visuals, and you can now pass with precision (throw the ball high, low, and ahead of or behind the receiver) without worrying about the console version’s finicky vision cone. And Madden is stacked with modes: You’ve got loads of quick-hitting, minigamelike training drills (punt return is my fave), it’s playable online, and if you own the PS2 version of 06, you can transfer your franchise saves between the two systems—why don’t more sports series utilize the PSP like this?
Still, Madden does suffer some first-year growing pains on the platform. Loading a game takes a while (almost a minute), and it stutters at odd moments (after you pick a play, right before an interception), thus dragging out each four-quarter experience. And next year, the developers gotta find a way to let you challenge plays.
G. Ford: I’ve gotta hand it to the PSP’s inevitable Madden entry for making a decent rookie showing. When the game’s in motion, you can’t help but be impressed. The player models, while jaggy, move smoothly and swiftly, and the solid controls are classic Madden (although there are no buttons for pump fakes or throwing the ball away). But when the play ends, the cracks start showing. What’s with the weird hiccuping load times after every play? Also, that kicking meter needs to be bigger and less herky-jerky, and the lack of replays hurts.
Still, on the field, 06 mostly nails the Madden feel, which makes the prospect of helping my Pats defend their title while I’m on the go very appealing.
Patrick M: Madden on PS2 already takes up enough of my life—now that I can continue my franchise game on PSP, I’m a prime candidate for a Madden intervention.
Despite the lone analog nub on PSP (versus the dual analog sticks on the console versions), the controls are surprisingly smooth and intuitive. The console Madden’s QB vision control system also got the ax, but I can’t say I really miss it. As Bryan noted, you can still lead your receiver or place the ball low to avoid an INT, which is nice. Madden fans, time to buy a PSP.
Publisher: EA Sports
Developer: EA Tiburon
Players: 1 (2-4 via local Wi-Fi, 2 online)
The verdicts (out of 10)
G. Ford: 7.0
Patrick M: 9.0
Copyright © 2005 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Electronic Gaming Monthly.