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Madden NFL '11: Is it really simpler, quicker & deeper?

Hello again everyone, Madamecrow here. It looks like we're in for another cloudy weekend--the perfect excuse to hole up in the house and master one of the many video games now available for rent here at Scarecrow. For an analysis of the latest video game to hit the Crow shelves, we turn to our special games correspondent Samurai Crow: Madden NFL '11 and the average Scarecrow Video junkie: a match made in heaven? This year's version might be the easiest yet to fake like you're Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, though it wouldn't seem so on paper. Madden's the biggest NFL video game around, and over the decades, the series has transformed from a quaint bit of '90s, old-school gaming—think Sega Genesis—to an advanced, 3D assault on the senses. It was like performing shiatsu massage on the virtual gridiron. You'd have your audible button, then your audible-adjusting arrows, and your "hot route" assignment paths, all before the ball hiked. Then you had to simultaneously wield a joystick, a "hit stick" (a second joystick for special moves), and a bunch of other quick-steps and dodges assigned to bumpers and triggers and clickers. This didn't even factor in the 300+ plays to pick from on every play. The new Madden game, which hit Scarecrow's racks last week, scales a lotttttt of that junk back. Instead of 300 plays to pick from, Madden now picks one for you that makes the most sense at a given time. Instead of having to tap a bunch of buttons while running to lean and speed burst, now the game manages that for you. And to tackle an opponent, well, just run into him, and WHACK - the game will do it! My time with the Xbox version has felt very lean and fluid. I haven't been reaching for the instruction booklet. I can pick up a controller, invite a friend to play along, and play a fun game—and a brief one, no less, thanks to some sped-up tweaks between plays. Madden '11 on the Wii is even more streamlined, with an "arcade" control setup that pares most everything down to a single button and a flick of the wrist, along with a 5-on-5 version of football that tends to be more fun with a gang of four on a single couch. If you want to dig through the manual and have a really complicated game of football, Madden '11 still has its fair share of OCD-afflicted minutiae tucked in, particularly the Franchise mode that has you managing everything on your team, from signing new rookies to setting concession prices at your stadium. But, by golly, you don't hafta bother... unless your older bother is a Madden champion who beats you every time you play. Curse you, Hatamoto Crow. We have Madden NFL '11 available for Wii, XBOX 360 & Playstation 3

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