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Hands-On: Madden NFL Football 3DS

| 19 Jan 2011 19:21
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The first 3DS version of Madden is all about the football, but not necessarily with another human player.

I'm not the biggest sports gamer anymore, but figured I might as well check out Madden NFL Football 3DS at Nintendo's New York 3DS event anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

When talking to one of the game's developers, I kept asking: "Does Madden 3DS include "X" feature from other versions?" Almost every time, his answer was: "No."

However, this isn't a bad thing. The main goal for Madden NFL Football 3DS was to create a handheld Madden experience that isn't chopped down. It includes all of the NFL's teams, their stadiums, a season mode, and a huge playbook, which might be all that any football fan needs.

As I said, I don't play sports games much lately, but still had fun with Madden 3DS partially because of its new features. There's a new play-calling system called Gameflow that has the AI choose the best play in any particular situation. Even when I did play Madden back in the 1940s, choosing a play was kind of a mystery at times, so this is a welcomed addition for the casual or intermediate gamer that's ready for some football. If you want to choose your own plays, just turn off Gameflow.

The only "no" I received that was surprising revolved around Madden 3DS's multiplayer mode. There is none. Maybe next year. For the record, I was also asking about bonus modes and collectibles featured in previous Madden games, such as Madden cards.

Those only wanting to crush the computer beneath their cleats will be able to take advantage of some unique 3DS capabilities. One that I liked was the ability to call a play and then go into a touchscreen mode where you can draw your own routes for receivers. Now that's an audible!

Another addition that sounds interesting are Madden 3DS's Spotlights. In the middle of key plays, where perhaps the quarterback is about to get sacked, or when a receiver is about to be tackled right outside of the end zone, the game will slow down into bullet-time and zoom-in on the action, taking advantage of the system's 3D capabilities, and a QTE will determine the end result.

Madden 3DS also features a 5-on-5 mode, but it's still based in reality somewhat rather than becoming an all-out version of NFL Blitz. I'm saddened by the lack of multiplayer, but Madden NFL Football 3DS looks like a good start on Nintendo's new handheld for solo football gamers.

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