Madden NFL Football review: Let us take you back to December 2005 and the launch of the Xbox 360. Eager to get a football game ready in time for the launch, EA released FIFA 06: Road To FIFA World Cup. To get it done in time, the popular modes, features and teams were stripped away, leaving a husk of a game with a short tournament mode, international teams and little else. It wasn't until FIFA 07, when EA had more time to put features in, that it looked more like the FIFA we know and love.
What's with the Xbox horror stories? Because, with Madden NFL Football, EA has done the same thing again on 3DS. It has just two modes - Exhibition, which is just a standard match, and Season mode. Worse, Season mode is so bare-bones that it just feels like 16 exhibition matches with a knockout tournament at the end.
There's no player trading, no drafting of rookies, no multiple seasons, none of the stuff Madden fans have come to expect over the years from the best American football series of all time. You just play the matches, see where you are in the league... and that's it.
Depth Of Field
The actual gameplay itself is decent, as far as American football games go. The 3D effect makes it far easier to see how much freedom your receivers have when they make their runs, so passing plays are more satisfying to pull off.
The gameflow feature from recent Madden games is also present - if you can't be bothered to sift through pages of possible plays, you can make the game pick one based on what it thinks you should do next. It's a nice touch and keeps things moving quickly, which is what you'd hope for in a handheld game.
Crucially (and most importantly), the 3DS version of Madden drops the ball in one huge feature that's a key aspect of most sports games - multiplayer. For a competitive sports game to have no multiplayer whatsoever, not even the standard multicard play you'd expect as a bare minimum, is a complete insult to anyone who pays £39.99 for it.
Madden NFL Football may play an entertaining game of pigskin, but the presentation's shoddy. Even Madden '96 on the original Game Boy included a two-player mode, and that's 15 years old now.
Bide your time and wait for the 'proper' Madden 12 or 13 - with a full selection of gameplay modes - that EA will almost certainly release sometime in the future, instead of buying what is basically a £40 demo.