25 Necessary Improvements for Madden 2010
*Not the actual cover*
Now that the NFL season is over (does anyone watch the Pro Bowl?), and I’ve finished my 6th franchise season in Madden ’09, I’ve been thinking of the things that need to be added, changed, deleted, and tweaked for Madden 2010. Even though this year’s product was better than last year’s, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
So in no particular order, I give you 25 things that should be fixed for Madden 2010.
Use the ESPN License! – Why pay for a license you will never use? ESPN could be used to significantly improve the presentation. Imagine: pregame, halftime, postgame, and weekly wrap-up shows, complete with highlights and stats, presented by the NFL Live hosts. Play by play from the Monday Night Football crew.
See more after the jump…
Use created/franchise/fantasy draft teams online – We can export our franchise teams to play an exhibition against our friends on the same console, but what about online? I’d like to see how the 2012 49ers that I have built match up against Jon’s 2012 Patriots.
Online Lag – Due to continuing lag issues that it seems EA will never fix, there are too many times that either a fair catch is not called even though I’ve hit the button 64 times and my returner fumbles the ball when hit, or my opponent has called a fair catch but didn’t actually go into the waving animation, so I get a penalty for fair catch interference when I drill the guy. Same issues with kicking. Online strategy changes so much because the kick meter is near impossible to time because the lag is always different. Short kickoffs, punts, and the inability to even think about trying a moderately long field goal are issues we should not have to worry about.
Celebrations – I actually liked the celebrations this year: team specific celebrations, the ability to steal your opponents celebration, and area specific celebrations. However, the ability to choose and map celebrations to specific buttons would allow me to do the Ocho Cinco river dance or Dirty Bird on demand.
Commentary/Ask Madden – as always, it gets repetitive in a hurry and is sometimes completely inaccurate. How many times have you used the Ask Madden feature to pick your play, you hear something to the effect of: “You just need to run some clock. Remember, the other team still needs two scores”, and the score is 13-10. Or: “The running back got blasted in the backfield” after a 7 yard gain. How hard is it to record some more dialogue? Every game I hear about how Frank Gore overcame his injuries in college to become a superstar type of running back, or my receivers didn’t have great combine workouts, etc.
EA Backtrack – I think this feature is very interesting and can especially help gamers new to the Madden series. My issue with it is that the breakdowns are not usually all that accurate. I’ve been told that a receiver was open, which he was, but only because the DB covering him broke off the coverage after I threw the ball. I think EA can definitely tweak this to really teach people about coverages and timing.
Free Agents – How is it that your offer is only accepted for consideration if its in the top 3, but you can’t see what the best offer is? When’s the last time an agent kept his client’s other offers secret? Some sort of help that allows for educated offers would be much better than blindly increasing the offer in the hopes it gets accepted. Why are there players that I was outbid for available as free agents at the start of the next season?
Trades – I shouldn’t put a player on the block, be offered a draft pick, and then have the trade rejected once I accept it because the other team’s roster is full. A player needs to be included in the deal to come my way, or the other team needs to drop a player to execute the trade.
Salary Cap – Other than my first season, I have not come close the cap. Either I’m the greatest GM ever or the player salaries should increase proportionally to make it challenging.
Salary Negotiations – All contracts should not automatically be back loaded. I should be allowed to front load it or balance it if that fits within my strategy and cap situation. There should also me some mechanism (like a meter) to show how likely the offer is to be accepted. At this point it’s easier to just offer what the player wants rather than try to negotiate to save cap room.
Receivers Running Sideline Routes – Receivers run out of bounds on their sideline routes far too often, or go into some wacky animation where they jump, slide, or don’t put their foot down in bounds. When a receiver runs out of bounds and then comes back in to catch the ball, it’s a penalty. It’s not right when you use the Playmaker to adjust the receivers route and he runs 10 yards out of bounds and ends up wide open when he comes back.
Forward Progress – The ball spots need to be more accurate. When a receiver makes a catch a yard past the first down marker, gets hit and driven back 5 yards, the first down should be awarded. When a receiver runs a comeback in the end zone, catches the ball 3 yards deep but his momentum carries him out of the end zone, it’s a touchdown, not 4th and goal from the one when he gets tackled. Pretty basic stuff.
EA Highlights – Not a bad feature, but I want to be able to just save the replay and adjust the camera as I see fit to better see the play. I frustrating to want to save some wacky play but none of the camera angles give you a good view.
Custom Soundtracks – I really like the idea of having specific songs play in my home stadium. For example, when my team creates a turnover, I want to hear “Been Caught Stealing” or “Give It Away Now”.
Challenges – At this point we should be able to select what we want to challenge. It’s such a waste of a timeout when you challenge a play because you want the fumble reversed, but the game shows a replay of the ball spot. Let’s take the guesswork out of challenges.
Rewinds – Eliminate rewinds entirely. It’s not football when you get do-overs.
Animated Sidelines – I want to see coaches, players, and assistants roaming the sidelines. I want to see players catch errant throws out of bounds. I want to see a coach bet bowled over when players go flying into the bench. I don’t want to see generic 300 pound players wearing number 12.
Super Bowl – This should be an event, not just another game as it is now. We need to see celebrations, confetti, the trophy, the MVP award. It’s just not satisfying to watch three players celebrate by putting their hands in the air and then exiting the game. Let’s change the stadium each year too. I don’t want to play the game in Tampa forever.
Game Saves – Why can’t I save a game in progress? Even if it’s just at the end of each quarter or the half, it’s better than losing the game entirely when you get an invite to play another game or your wife insists that you pay attention to her RIGHT NOW.
Practice Squads – It’s hard to keep rookies on your bench. They end up as a backup, and thus don’t improve because they never play. Give us the option to keep a practice squad where players can improve slightly and let us more easily replace injured players. An option would be to increase player ratings similar to the bumps players get from certain coaches. For example, if you keep a WR on the practice squad, his awareness and route running get bumped up because he has knowledge of your team’s system.
Player Names – Record as many name combinations as possible. I don’t want my entire team to be referred to by their numbers because I’ve played so many seasons that all my players have been made up.
Classic Uniforms – I want every uniform for every team. I want the Patriots uniform that only has the three pointed hat on the helmet. I want the 49ers old silver helmets. I want the ridiculously ugly blue and yellow Eagles uniforms. I want the Steelers yellow helmets and the old, plain Green Bay and Detroit jerseys. While where at it, I also want the ability to change the uniform for the CPU controlled team so I can have a true throwback game and the ability to use these uniforms online.
Adjust Sim Game Length – It’s unfair that I play 5 minute quarters and the rest of the league gets simulated 15 minute quarters. The stats just don’t match up when it comes time for awards. Let us adjust it.
Crowd Noise – The crowd does nothing for me in this game. I want them loud when I’m on defense. I want them to boo when I turn the ball over 4 times. I want team specific chants such as Denver’s “In-com-plete, (Wah-Wah-Wah)” and New England’s “That’s good for another Patriots… FIRST DOWN!”
Franchise Score Ticker – I want to know how the other games are going in my franchise. If I’ve got the 49ers in fight with Arizona for the division in the last week of the season, I want to be updated on the Cardinals’ score throughout the game. Give us sense of urgency and familiarity with what’s going on throughout the league.
I know it seems like a lot to ask for 25 updates in one installment, but it’s not. If you’ve been playing Madden for a while, you’ll notice that almost everything on this list has been done before in some fashion. It’s pathetic that so many quality features that have been in football games before have been dropped out of laziness. There is no excuse for dropping a quality feature for a game and then bringing it back a year or two later as an “update”. These features should be in every football game from now on, period. Implementing these features will get Madden on the right track, proving to fans that EA and Tiburon care about more than yearly roster updates.
Discuss: What changes/improvements would you like to see in the upcoming Madden game?