Am I the only gamer out there that is getting kind of giddy while we are on the two-week countdown to Madden 2011?  This is the franchise of all franchises when it comes to sports games.  Many have tried to replicate it, and many have ended up throwing in the towel faster than an 80’s Mike Tyson opponent. 

Gracing this years cover is NFL poster boy Drew Brees of the world champ New Orleans Saints. What makes this franchise so great is they take complacency and flush it down the toilet each year.  They are constantly tweaking the game to make it better and more real life.  And from year to year they realize the errors they made in the previous versions and try to fix them.  I for one am looking forward to this installment.  

With new game flow play calling systems this year, it seems that they are taking the next step to making you think more about the game.  The ability to set a game plan makes this game deeper for those that love the franchise mode of this game.  Which I do.   One new feature that is very welcome is a speed up in-game play.  While it is left to be seen how this really shapes up, my biggest complaint about the previous versions is the length of time to play a game.  Even on 5 minute quarters, a game can last a while if you don’t pound the rock. 

Again refining of the stick controls is welcome.  That last thing you really need or want to do is have to reach over to a button to juke or dive.  It appears they have tweaked this more to make it more stick dependent.  Makes for hitting the hole or breaking a tackle seem much easier. 

Paired along with the great graphics that come with each new installment, this game is shaping up to be one of the better ones in recent years.  The online play has again been sharpened with a new 3-on-3 online game play.  With each person controlling a different squad.  Paired along side with online scouting, which will help you figure out how to beat the fools that spend days on end playing online. 

A few wishes that I would like to see fulfilled is a true season mode.  In this scenario you could only play one game a week.  Say between Tuesday-Saturday of each week.  Prior to this game would be an update of all roster changes (injuries) that occurred in the previous weeks game.  Taking it a step further would making the game only playable after the official injury reports come out.  As well as real having roster updates available say after the mandatory cut-down days.  And I am hoping that the defense bugs have been ironed out.  In previous versions you could sack the QB all the time.  Recent updates have made it harder to rush the passer, almost to the point where you can’t get a sack at a critical moment.  However, with that change suddenly you can play quarter defense and end a game with 10 plus interceptions. 

All in all, this seems to be another good reworking of a game that never gets stale.  I’ll be playing it in two weeks, I suggest you do as well.   And if the Saints get a bit of the curse, I won’t have me feelings hurt.