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New Madden feature tackles difficulty issues

by Joe Dodson



Buzz up!



If you aren't literate in all things football, calling plays in a Madden football game is a little like reading hieroglyphics. There are arrows, X's, and O's, but if you aren't a coach yourself or a hardcore football fan, they're all just questions marks.


And that's a real problem. While the Madden series annually leads the pack with strong sales, it's also notorious for being somewhat impenetrable to casual players. The folks at EA tried to address that last year with the downloadable Madden NFL Arcade, but it proved too pricey for its shallow gameplay and earned only mediocre reviews.


Fortunately, a new feature in the upcoming Madden NFL 11 may finally have the answer. It's called Gameflow, and it hopes to make this year's Madden the most accessible version of the venerable football franchise yet.


Gameflow is basically a virtual offensive or defensive coordinator that both calls plays and walks you through them. Not only will you get on-field diagrams, you'll also receive verbal instructions from your coordinator. This way, Madden NFL 11 will actually teach you to play the game as you go, rather than forcing you to spend hours in the Tutorial.


As Madden Creative Director Ian Cummings recently told Gamespot, Gameflow was the fruit of a telemetric study of online Madden matches.


"Hundreds of millions of games of Madden were played this year alone, and we can find out that there are a lot of key nuggets in there," he said.


Two of those nuggets were that each game of Madden was taking too long, and that players were only using a fraction of their playbooks.


"There's 350 plays that we've put in every team's playbook pretty much, and they're only calling 15 of them and so, we gotta step back and say 'Wow, that's a major problem,'" Cummings told Gamespot.


Gameflow is intended to address both of these issues. Since the feature will call all your plays for you, you won't waste time staring slack-jawed at an endless list of shotgun formations and special teams options. Instead, the game will simply pick a good option for your current situation. From there, Gameflow will actually introduce you to the called play and explain how it works. Once you've run the play, you can then rate it from one to five stars. Based on that rating, Gameflow will either call the play more or less in the future.


Playing your way to a better understanding of football? Sounds like a good call to us.

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