Madden NFL 09 is not a revolution in football gaming. It doesn't deliver the best conceivable rendering of hulking frames lugging a rawhide-laced pigskin up and down a floodlit or sunlit field (though it is as close as you’ll get outside a pro jersey and cleats). It doesn't present a radically different way to play the game either. Fullbacks and safeties and wide receivers do not fly on broomsticks with paddles, swatting footballs with wings. This is American football, not American Gladiators, and the basics haven’t changed much over the years. Got all that? Expectations back on earth? Good. Now relax: Madden NFL 09 delivers a triumphant celebration of armchair quarterbacking, with a clever new adaptive difficulty mode, vital procedural animations, online league and franchise updates, and a battery of analytical tools.
(For more coverage and information, see "20 Years of Madden,"
"Madden: The Man, the Game, the Curse,"
PCW's review of the Nintendo Wii, and PCW's review of the Sony PlayStation 3.)