Madden NFL 09: The best Madden yet

Two decades of Madden are nipped, tucked, and stitched into the finest version ever of this venerated franchise.

Giants defensive right end Osi Umenyiora prepares to plough into the Patriots' newly acquired tight end Marcus Pollard.
Complementing the new Madden IQ system, Game Style lets you choose whether to let the game call plays for you (extreme beginners), to have it break them into basic categories consisting of fewer than a dozen options (intermediates), or to break out team-specific playbooks containing hundreds of creative options (Madden regulars). Crank the game all the way up to "hardcore," and everything from instant replays to backtracks shuts down so you can focus on your tactics. There's a "take John Madden's play" option here, which is interesting as an exercise in gauging the AI's ability to counter itself, but you’re usually better served by developing your own play strategies in training mode and then importing them. You can also sub in players directly from the play-call screen now, though most of the time you won't need to (the computer automatically swaps tired players). Still, it’s a nice shortcut if you want to test a hypothetical.

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