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.

The CPU quarterback machine-guns short throws but tends to lob downfield bombs for easy picks.
Surprisingly, Madden NFL 09 doesn't let you manipulate CPU competence with sliders to tweak abilities such as “run blocking” and “tackling time.” That type of direct-customisation option has been replaced by a couple basic difficulty settings and 12 sliders for human-controlled players that affect the CPU only indirectly. If you don’t stack legal pads next to your entertainment centres to record every throw and tackle, you won’t notice this at first, but vets will — and they won’t be happy about it, especially when presented with problems such as robotically accurate CPU QBs. The best way to work around this drawback is to spend most of your time playing online. The second best way is to disable Madden IQ in favour of the custom sliders, and then start estimating and adjusting (set your pens and legal pads to "ready") until things feel right. The downside? You can tweak the heck out of your quarterback's completion rate and your linebackers' run defence settings, but you're left to work in stark primary colours when it comes to the CPU’s personnel. The upside? There really isn't one unless you despise slider tweaking. Sometimes less is just less, and I have my fingers crossed that EA Tiburon will eventually remedy the situation by patching in an optional CPU slider column on the Game Skill screen. After all, they're making a roster update available at launch that'll transport Brett Favre from Wisconsin to the Big Apple.

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